Rare 1947 Tatra T87!

Weird is good. Weird gives us innovation, and a break from the monotony of the gray midsize SUV. During the Cold War, the Soviets created some of the world’s worst cars, but also some of the toughest, and in this case, some of the most eye-catching. Tatra introduced the T87 as a luxurious streamliner, meant to exude a sense of power and speed, even while standing still. The Minneapolis Institute of Art deemed the Tatra so special that it holds a permanent spot in their collection. For cars you’d imagine to have their own spot in an art museum, some bizarre Soviet sedan is certainly not one of the first things that come to mind. Now’s your chance to have the only Tatra on your block! You can find this Tatra T47 here on eBay.

Inside is a little rough. There isn’t much of an interior to speak of. The seller includes an extensive photo album, so I encourage you to peruse at your leisure; there are still a few days left in the auction, so you have time to mull it over in your head before you decide to buy anything. If you do decide that a 74-year-old Soviet luxury car is the right fit for your daily commute, you won’t be missing out on luxury…after you’ve given it some love, of course. The seats should be plush and comfortable, and should you so choose, adding an air conditioner can’t be too difficult. After all, a car is a car.

This one’s a little odd, though. The drivetrain is unique: a rear-mounted air-cooled V-8 engine drives the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox. One of the previous owners swapped the original engine for a more modern example out of one of Tatra’s other models. The seller says that apparently this was a common practice back in the day, but they will include the correct engine that would have been in this car when rolled off the production line.

There are no passenger’s side doors, and presumably it’s missing some other bits as well. The frame, body, and engine are still there, though, so that’s the bulk of the job done right there. I don’t envy the buyer who needs to source parts for a Tatra in the United States, but where there’s a will, there’s a way, and driving this to your local Cars & Coffee is sure to make it all worth it.

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Comments

  1. Perjen Member

    It is not made in soviet , but Czech Republic.

    Like 24
    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet Union (but not really until 1948) so it is sortakinda correct to say that it’s Soviet made. And you’re sortakinda correct to say it’s not so we’ll call it a push :)

      Like 4
      • J

        Czech (or Czechoslovakia) was never part of USSR.

        Like 8
      • carbuzzard Member

        Czechs and Slovaks will disagree about being part of the USSR. It was occupied by the Soviets and definitely behind the Iron Curtain, but Czechoslovakia was no more part of the Soviet Union than was, for example, Poland. And don’t ever tell a Pole he’s a Russian.

        That said, it would be good to have a friend in Slovakia and/or the Czech Republic. Sourcing parts in the US will be like finding turtle teeth.

        I did a little research and a Czech Tatra club is at https://en.tatra-club.com/.

        Like 7
      • Vaclav

        Czechoslovakia was never part of Soviet Union. It was unfortunately part of East Block. Czechoslovakia was always an independent state, although Moscow controlled almost everything there.

        Like 6
      • wuzjeepnowsaab

        You can slice and dice the semantics but Czechoslovakia was certainly a Soviet satellite state and was most certainly under communist rule

        Like 2
      • Al

        To restate wuzjeepnowsaab:

        CZECH
        Sémantiku mužete krájet a krájet, ale Ceskoslovensko bylo jiste sovetským satelitním státem a zcela jiste bylo pod komunistickou vládou

        SLOVAK
        Sémantiku môžete krájat na kocky, ale Ceskoslovensko bolo urcite sovietskym satelitným štátom a urcite bolo pod komunistickou vládou

        I can see some difference but not much and in non cyrillic
        Russian:
        Vy mozhete razrezat’ semantiku, no Chekhoslovakiya, bezuslovno, byla sovetskim gosudarstvom-satellitom i, bezuslovno, nakhodilas’ pod kommunisticheskim rezhimom.

        Like 11
      • MB

        “You can slice and dice the semantics but Czechoslovakia was certainly a Soviet satellite state and was most certainly under communist rule”
        But that doesnt mean that those cars were made by Soviets! These cars are pre-war origin. Czechoslovakia was independent democracy, there was none Soviet influence. Tatra produced very modern and luxurious cars in those days. Ask Jay Leno, he also owns one. In fact, Tatra was engineered by Hans Ledwinka, Czechoslovakian citizen with german origin…certainly, its not a Soviet car

        Like 3
      • Lukáš Richtr

        Dude check you history lessons.

        Like 1
    • John Karlsson

      In 1968 I had a chance to buy a Tatra in slightly better condition for $40.

      Like 2
  2. RayT Member

    Pictures in the ad show right-side doors. Not in super condition, but at least they’re present. One would hope some of the hard-to-find bits — gauges, trim, badges, etc., and maybe the front seats — are there as well.

    I love these cars, and if I were younger and had (much) more money, I’d be seriously tempted. Given the prices restored examples command today, a full resto doesn’t seem out of the question. And there are apparently shops in the Czech Republic that will restore one for you….

    Like 1
  3. alphasud Member

    These are very unique cars that paved the way for other manufacturers to implement some of their designs. Hagerty has a video of a Tatra being out through its paces. Unfortunately they rolled the car due to the rear swing axle design along with the extreme rear weight bias. I went to Rock Auto to look up parts for this car and unfortunately nothing is available so I’m going to have to pass on this one! All kidding aside I hope it goes to someone who can restore it to her former glory.

    Like 5
  4. Fred W

    If I recall correctly, the T-87 was so rollover prone that CK military officers were no longer allowed to drive it. Which is why Hagerty was testing it to see if that was so (and it was)

    Like 3
    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Fred W, “back in the day” they used to call these “Nazi killers” because the SS officers and the like would drive them so fast they’d end up in roll over accidents

      Like 3
    • Lance

      Fred That may have been the T 77. Slightly older.

      Like 1
  5. Gary

    $20,000.00 and the reserve isn’t met? The only thing I see it has going for it is that it is a oddball, which I like and that it has a HEMI which I love! Make it a two door and transplant a 426 in to it!

    Like 6
    • Raymond

      Gary go back to hillbilly Hollar….friggin douche….

      Like 17
      • Ralph

        I think a lot of folks are d bags or worse. But do not feel the need to insult them privately or publicly. What is your issue here? Someone seems to have a perpetual burr in the ass. Do you pride yourself on being an obnoxious turd, or does it come naturally?

        Like 5
      • grant

        “Holler”
        If you’re going to insult people, speak proper English at least.

        Like 1
  6. Luke

    This is a Czech car. Made in Kopřivnice, Czech Republic.
    “Make it a two door and transplant a 426 in to it”? Do not even think about that heresy!

    Like 5
  7. Bultaco

    There are so many major parts missing that it seems almost impossible to restore, at least in the US. If you could source the missing doors somehow, you could swap in a modern V8 with a Porsche 5-speed transaxle and leave the rest as stock looking as you could make it. THAT would get their attention at Cars and Coffee.

    Like 2
  8. Howard A Member

    I know, us Yanks were taught at an early age to fear all Soviets, their ideas were of no importance to us, or so we were told. To many youngun’s, they were cavemen with rockets.Truth was, nothing could be further from the truth. Our parents( and media) just hid their innovations from us. The Tatra, I’ve read over the years, was an outstanding car. Oh sure, a bit out of the ordinary, but how different is it really from the Tucker, that got rave reviews for IT’S features? Okay, the hemi was no fire breather, but air cooling has it’s advantages, especially in the cold, and I bet is a smooth running motor. Not enough carburation to be a performer, but I’d wager some enterprising person got one of these to “run”. I don’t think these are rare in Russia, or wherever they come from, I suppose bringing one back would have it’s share of problems, but I just don’t think you’ll find parts for this here. Then again, who knows? Very cool cars, Comrade.

    Like 6
    • Bill McCoskey

      Howard,
      As expected, you’ve written accurate comments. These cars are not as rare as once thought. As a serious Tatra collector [I’ve had a couple] these are much easier to find than before the internet of everything caused these to crawl out of their hidden garages where they quietly slept.

      And Gary,
      These in restored condition easily exceed $250,000.00. So $20k for this [with the correct T87 engine] is actually quite a good deal. Keep the original engine as it’s a dual overhead cam, magnesium case, air cooled V8. Putting a huge 426 hemi, a huge cast iron hunk of a water-cooled motor hanging out the back, would be a waste of a rare engine anyway, and destroy what most in the automotive community agree is an incredible car for it’s time, way ahead of everyone else. The streamlined T87 cars, introduced in 1936, made the Chrysler Airflow look like a brick [and as a MoPaR guy, I love Airflows!].

      Like 12
      • Steve Clinton

        Where in the world do you find parts for these odd-ball cars?

      • Gerard Frederick

        True enough, but the Adler Autobahn out-streamlined even the Tatra. As to the references to the SS officers who were allegedly killed driving these – please spare me this absurd propaganda drivel. The German and Czech automotive and motorcycle industries were closely intertwined in the ´30,s, what with Jawa having been a DKW clone and a variety of very interesting streamlined Czech cars having been DKW powered. The 1938 Stöwer Greif was a Tatra built in licence by the now forgotten Stöwer company, once builders of large luxury cars. Tatra is indeed iconic and any of them deserves to be preserved, even though it requires an intrepid collector with very deep pockets and the patience of Job to bring this one back to live.

        Like 5
    • MB

      As stated, these are rare – for sure in Russia, but even in its origin state, Czech rep., and they are very expensive cars…

  9. Derek

    Without Tatra there wouldn’t’ve been the Volkswagen – as it is, anyway. Porsche pinched a lot of Ledwinka’s ideas when Czechoslovakia was annexed.
    The Luftwaffe banned its officers from driving the big Tatras because of the high speeds that they could do and the handling – much like Porsches, they go backwards if you lift mid-corner. And the swing axle…!
    Lovely things, though.

    Like 8
    • Gerard Frederick

      THAT is total nonsense. Where in hell do you get your information from? Sefton Delmer? The original VW was a Porsche design for Zündapp in 1929. Porsche and Ledwinka went to the same college, shared a passion for rear engined air cooled cars and were close personal friends their entire lives; to accuse Porsche of plagiarism is outrageous. You are perpetuating totally unfounded WW2 propaganda lies and THAT is inexcusable. Some people, malicious ones, simply can´t stop throwing excrement on a guy who ranks amongst the most brilliant designers of all time. You ought to be ashamed.

      Like 4
      • Bugnbox

        Its a common myth, and while there are some shreds of truth to it, the real story is much better.

        This is the best article I have found explaining the whole connection.

        https://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-tatra-versus-volkswagen-lawsuit.html

        Like 5
      • Bill McCoskey

        Bugnbox,

        Thanks for that very informative webpage, It’s basically all correct, and outlines exactly what happened.

        Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey

        Gerard,

        While you and I agree on many things, On the subject of Tatra history, I’m afraid my friend you are incorrect. Please read the link provided by Bugnbox. That’s probably the best and accurate Tatra historical site concerning Ledwinka and Porsche.

        Like 2
      • Clay Bryant

        BugnBox did his research. Great article. Nothing wrong with Porsche swiping the best available engineering on the market. He died in 51 so he could care less what anyone thought.

        Like 1
  10. Doyler

    EV conversion candidate?

  11. Robert Pellow

    Once a member of the Canadian air force I was told that the cold war propagandists of the day in eastern Europe would recommend giving a motorcycle to every airman. This simple act would soon wipe out the Canadian air force in Europe. Similar to the tactic of supplying Tatras to German officers during the war! They are interesting cars and rate up there with Airflows and Kaisers and MG TCs in my books. Hope this one finds a good home.

  12. Bugnbox

    Damn…just when I’ve bought the Tatra T600 from last week’s post…this pops up!

    This should be fun to explain to the wife!

    Like 2
  13. luke arnott Member

    Tatra still make trucks,with car production ending in 1999.

  14. Lou Rugani

    A Tatra was seen in the 2000 ‘Battlestar Galactica’.

  15. Troyce Walls

    Check out the Lane Museum next time y’all in Nashville. They specialize in these.

    Like 7
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Someone needs to call Jeff Lane! Nah, something tells me he probably already knows about this car and A) has bid and will win the auction, or B) has no need for another Tatra especially with crushed passenger doors with several dozen excellent examples already in his stash in Nashville!

  16. Eric Lloyd

    A friend (who enjoyed quirky cars) purchased a slightly newer one in Europe (was a chauffeur driven car for a communist party boss) .Had it restored by a specialist re-builder over there.Was a very classy /luxurious car that ran very nicely.

    Like 1
  17. Karl

    Tatra has been building some of the best off-road in the world for a very long time and many of those used air cooled diesel engines even some of the V-12 engines were air cooled. I have tremendous respect for their trucks but know nothing about the cars.

  18. Till Jauernig

    Ahoi
    Don`t tell czech people that they are russian people. In 1968 there was the prague spring. The T87 was been loved by some important nazis and Hitler didn`t liked that. 20000 bucks for an T87. For an European this is incredible cheap. The owner should sell it to Europe and the other guys should transplant a 426 hemi into a Cord 810. By the way for me this would be a sad thing.
    Greatings from a german guy with a czech lastname, he speaks only one word from czech language and the first car in his family was a Tatra

    Like 12
  19. MikeH

    Keep in mind that while this is a post war car, it’s a pre war design so it has little to do with the soviets. The only thing to do with this car is ship it to the Czech Republic and have it professionally restored. Won’t be cheap, but as someone said, theses are quarter million cars.

    Like 3
  20. Rex Payne

    Tatra was not Soviet. It was Czech. There’s a difference.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Rex, not to a sheltered midwestern boy growing up in Harley, Rambler, Briggs and Stratton, town,( Milwaukee). Most never paid attention to world geography, and like I say, it didn’t matter who made it, it was all “Commie” to us. That came from our parents, who had an actual reason to fear the Soviet Union, we as kids merely accepted it as truth, but as an adult, I feel they didn’t live much different lives than us.

      Like 2
    • Robert Pellow

      Lada was soviet and while the cars were nothing to get excited about, the ‘SUV’ versions were pretty interesting and useful cars. The Tatra was always seen here as Chekoslovakian, not a product of the USSR.

      Like 3

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