Live Auctions

1948 Tatra T87 Found In Virginia!


Update 11/17/16 – The seller ended their original auction and have relisted it with more information and details! You can find the new ad here on eBay.

Yes it’s rusty and the seller provides absolutely no information about it, but when was the last time you’ve seen a 1948 Tatra? These cars are incredible with a design unlike anything else, they really are pieces of art! This one looks like it’s going to need a total restoration to be a street going car. Finding parts for it will be a massive challenge, so hopefully it is complete. The seller is asking $50k, which is a lot of money considering they don’t provide any details, the model or even the exact year. From what I can tell, it’s a T87, but I could be mistaken. You can take a closer look at it here on eBay in Front Royal, Virginia.


They don’t call these Tatras streamlined for no reason, just look at that shape. The very first of these cars was introduced in 1934 and was way ahead of its time. The body of the T87 produces a drag coefficient of 0.36, a number modern manufactures typically aim for! Power comes from a 3.0 liter air cooled V8 that hang out back, which allows these air slicing machines to do nearly 100 mph. If the shape and engine configuration seems familiar, that’s because these car highly influenced Ferdinand Porsche and his design for the Beetle.


No word is given on the condition of the engine or if it’s even here. I can’t imagine how difficult it will be to track a replacement down if it’s missing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s still here and isn’t damaged. It’s going to take a certain type of courage to take this project on, but I truly hope someone brings it back to life! If one of you happens to take it on, please let us come take a ride in it.


  1. RicK

    Weird car. And wonder what that is lurking in the background?

    • TVC15

      1949 Talbot Lago T 26 Grand Sport ???

  2. Glen

    Eliminate the centre headlight, and it looks very similar to a beetle from the front.

  3. Dave Wright

    These are commonly thought of as the first Porsche……Dr Porsche worked for Tatra as a young engineer.

  4. Rick

    Strongly influenced by the Beetle development, yes. Asking price is way high. It’s not particularly rare, only in this country. Finding parts my not be as difficult as one thinks…

    • BradL

      Actually, Ferdinand Porsche stole the design from Tatra for use in the VW. Tatra later sued – and won.

      • Dave Wright

        Yes……..that is true, the rub was he was working for Tatra when he designed it so it was there property. Another of those patent/ copy right issues.

      • Wolfgang Gullich

        More specifically, Ferdinand Porsche worked with Hans Ledwinka and “looked over Ledwinka’s” shoulder in his own words when designing the Beetle

  5. Wm Lawrence

    Resource for restoration information might be the Tampa Bay Automobile museum. They have several.

    One thing I found interesting is that during the Nazi occupation these cars had a reputation for killing the German officers who commandeered them. “Pedal to the metal Fritz…”

    • Glen


    • whippeteer

      Rear engine, swing arm suspension is why. Don’t lift in the corners!

  6. Chris

    Tatra design predates the beetle
    Think of it as beetles father with an air cooled V8

  7. Larry K

    Veddddy Intoresting!!!

  8. Gerald Luck

    The center headlamp – cyclops light, puts one in mind of the Tucker, or vice versa. I wonder does anyone know if it works the same way in turning with the direction of the steering wheel? Also, check out the three piece windshield. Awesome!

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Gerald, I believe the center head light does turn with the front wheels. This particular center head light looks a little more pronounced than most of the images I’ve found.

      • Wolfgang Gullich

        Tatra’s center headlight was fixed and did not turn… It was found on a lot of their early cars

  9. Howard A Member

    Good heavens, it’s hideous,,,,,I love it! It’s as if the designers threw everything they had in it to make it different. Can you imagine the board room full of executives saying, “Yes, let’s go with the center headlight AND the fin”. I would think driving this would clearly make a statement. Jay Leno has one. Just too out there for me. It did have a neat dash. Check it out. Note the little connecting rod between the wiper arms.

    • Dave Wright

      You have obviously never been to Eastern Europe…..there tastes are very non traditional. The Art Deco movement was probably more powerful and lasted longer there than anywhere. Another consideration were the patents that were in force at the time. Many times they forced designers to extremes to avoid infringement. I saw a very nice example of a prewar model of this car in a funky little museum near Stutgart last fall. It was very impressive even after our recent visit to the Mercedes museum. These cars were discussed in depth at the Porsche Museum.

    • brakeservo

      Jay Leno “hot-rodded” his – mounted a Weber carb and a Scintilla magneto for spark. The motor was still on the dyno for break-in pursposes at his shop when I saw it

  10. whippeteer

    Here is a great review of a 1941 T87. I’ve always loved the look of these. I wish I could have run across one years ago when they were affordable in Eastern Europe.

  11. Nick G

    Despite the potential, the price is ridiculous.

  12. old John

    I think these were illegal to bring over here Is why they were so rare here.

    • brakeservo

      How and when could these have been illegal? Even in the “McCarthy Years” another Czech manufacturer – Skoda – officially exported cars to US. As did CZ and Jawa. I’ve owned two Tatras but mine were a little newer than this but both had the Tatra air-cooled Hemi VI mounted in the back and looked like they came from another world! I took one to a cruise-in and the organizer quickly put together a “WTF is That?” award for me!!

  13. brakeservo

    A number of people have commented on the crazy price – well not too long ago there was a guy in San Antonio TX with a similar Tatra and he was asking – get this – are you ready ? No laughing now – here it is – remember, – no laughing – $1 Million!!

    • Glen

      What did it sell for?

      • brakeservo

        Is that a serious question??

    • Steve H


      • Keith

        Damn! you beat me to it Steve H!

  14. Matt

    I live near the shop that has this. They specialize in Rolls Royces and Bentleys. Everything I’ve heard suggests that somebody else should fix your rolls or Bentley.

    • brakeservo

      Hmmm, I’ve gone though about 250 Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars over the past 30 years, I’ve never even heard of ’em. But I squeezed in time for a couple of Tatras in between all those Bentleys over the years!

  15. Aaron

    Where are the engine bay shots? I’d love one of these, but I fear they will forever be out of my reach.

  16. Randall

    I have to say this is a car for different tastes. And to pay an initial outrageous sum and then do a total restoration? Well….go for it! But most of us aren’t Jay Leno.

  17. Rolf Poncho 455

    My first impression was “what a funny beetle” ??

  18. David

    They are great cars to drive, if one gives them the respect they deserve – it’s not a 911! This car, shipped to Ecorra, plus a couple hundred thousand bucks, will make a usable and unusual concours winner.

    • Steve H

      Amazing-looking car when they’re in nice condition. But what’s up with the different hood and center headlight on the one for sale? Looks completely different than other photos as shown above and others you can find on Google pics. Maybe the one on eBay is a different year?

      Vedddddy interesting indeed!

  19. brakeservo

    Yes, and after you’ve bought it for 50 grand, spent six sending it both ways across the ocean plus another 200 in restoration costs, you’e got a car worth about 150 when done – reminds me of that old saw – wanna make a small fortune restoring classic cars? Easy, start with a large one!

  20. angliagt

    Thanks for posting that picture.I stopped by the
    Lane Museum,in Nashville,Tenn.,about a year ago.They have
    the coolest collection of foreign cars,including a lot of Micro cars.
    Well worth going way out of your way for.

  21. David

    Headlights and other details varied from car to car, and year to year. They didn’t have the best brakes, so it was not uncommon for a front-end refit at a later date by the factory in Koprivnice.

  22. rod444

    Pretty cool features: “spark-plug holders in the engine, semiphores, an integrated, foot-operated chassis oiler system, a starting crank hole, old-west bookkeeper green sun visors, and that third headlight which has a special lever to point it down for parking assistance.”

  23. demon

    Tatra demon

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