Tatra 603 II

1974 Tatra 603 II

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | September 25, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Tatra 603 was introduced in 1956 as a more modern take on the company’s streamlined cars of earlier decades. That car was supplanted by the 2-603 in 1962, and the second generation of that car, the 603 II arrived in 1968. It lasted through 1975.

It’s powered by a rear-mounted, air-cooled 2.5-liter V8. Other updates for this model included four-wheel disc brakes and a seating re-arrangement to hold five people. Most of these were sold to officials in countries friendly with Czechoslovakia. You know, all of the ones the U.S. didn’t get along with.

Production totals are unclear, but this car was once owned by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. It was rebuilt by the Tatra factory in the 1990s and is now expected to sell for between $38,000-$52,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Withdrawn from sale.

Tatra 12

1930 Tatra 12 Convertible

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | August 29, 2020

Photo – Dorotheum

The Tatra name first appeared in 1919 as the marque for cars built by an industrial company that built railroad cars and carriages. They had already produced some cars under the NW marque, but the new-and-improved post-WWI Tatras would lead to some impressive pre-and-post-war cars.

The 12 was introduced in 1926 as an evolution of the earlier 11. One big difference was that the 12 had four-wheel brakes. It’s powered by a 1.1-liter flat-twin making 14 horsepower. It was not a sporty machine. But that was not the intent. At this point, the company wanted to move cars people could afford.

This example has been in the same care since 1959 and is largely original aside from a repaint. Only 7,525 examples of the Tatra 12 were produced by the time it was replaced by the Tatra 57 in 1933. This one should sell for between $14,000-$21,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $20,436.

Tatra T87

1948 Tatra T87

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Tatra T87 is a special car. Designed by Hans Ledwinka and Erich Ubelacker, it was based on the earlier T77, which was a very low-production car from the mid-1930s. The T87 went on sale in 1936 and lasted through 1950… you know, with an interruption for the war.

It had a streamlined body, a rear-mounted 3.0-liter V8, and suicide front doors. Horsepower was a modest 85, but the car had an incredibly low drag coefficient and could hit 100 mph. After production ceased, Tatra retrofitted some of the T87s with the 2.5-liter V8 from the 603. This is one of those cars.

Not a cheap car in its day, the T87 was produced in limited numbers with just 3,056 examples completed. It’s a beautiful, streamlined masterpiece, with design elements lifted from the German zeppelins of the era. It’s one of the coolest cars in this sale, and, like the others, it will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Update: Sold $302,000.

Tatra T77A

1938 Tatra T77A Limousine

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

Let’s start with this: Tatras are amazing with their unique, otherworldly designs. These big, streamlined, rear-engined cars must’ve seemed completely alien to car shoppers in the 1930s. That’s right, the 1930s! The Tatra 77 was introduced in 1934 and was the world’s first production aerodynamically-designed air-cooled car.

Features include three headlights and a sloping fastback body style that achieved an insanely-low drag coefficient. Power is from a 75 horsepower, 3.4-liter V8. The engine compartments in these cars are so interesting – it looks like there is some kind of machine back there, not an air-cooled V8. Top speed on the 77A was 93 mph.

The interior here is pretty luxurious as well, with a huge rear passenger compartment partitioned off from the driver. And the rear seatback folds forward to reveal a nicely-trimmed trunk ahead of the engine. Only 255 combined examples of the 1934-1935 Tatra 77 and 1935-1938 77A were produced. Only 20 are thought to remain.

Check out Gooding’s posted ownership history: purchased new by a Czech citizen who had the car confiscated by the German army in 1939. The Soviet army took possession of the car in 1945. In 1950, a Russian bought the car and kept it for 50 years before the current owner bought it from him. It should sell to its next owner for between $450,000-$650,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $412,000.

Tatra 603

1960 Tatra 603

Offered by Auctions America | Santa Monica, California | June 24, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

Czechoslovakia’s Tatra built some of the coolest looking sedans of all time. The 603 was the newest iteration of their streamlined, rear-engined, air-cooled spaceship-style cars that dated back to the Tatra 77 of 1934. The 603 was built in three series between 1956 and 1975.

There were slight styling changes over the course of production (that had slight name changes along with it). The original 603 was only built from 1956 through 1962. The engine is a 2.5-liter V-8 making 99 horsepower and 112 ft-lbs of torque.

The 603 was used by high-ranking Czech officials but it was also exported to other countries as well. What’s weird is that this car is listed as a 1960, but the original 603 had an alien-like tri-headlight design. This car seems to have the hood from the original model model but the headlight design of the 1968-1975 2-603 II. It’s confusing. But it’s still cool, and it should bring between $35,000-$45,000. These are handbuilt cars and only 20,422 were built between all three models. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Auctions America’s Santa Monica lineup.

Update: Sold $41,800.

Tatra T52 Limousine

1934 Tatra T52 Limousine

Offered by Coys | Essen, Germany | April 13, 2013

1934 Tatra T52 Limousine

Tatra is one of the oldest automobile manufacturers in the world. They stopped making cars in 1999 and now concentrate solely on trucks, most of which are huge and solid-looking. The Tatra T52 was an upmarket version of the T54 (and later, the T75).

While later Tatras are known for being rear-engined and air-cooled, this car is front-engined (and rear-wheel drive). But it still has an air-cooled engine (if you’ve looked at a lot of air-cooled cars, you’ll notice they lack a traditional grille in front of the engine, as this car does). It is powered by a 1.9-liter flat-four making about 29 horsepower.

The body is a rare limousine body. Most Tatras are among the coolest-looking cars on the planet and this is among the coolest designs they had (the less traditional the better). The body is all original. The engine has been gone through recently as well as the clutch, brakes and axle. Basically, the mechanicals have been sorted, making this a driver with one hell of a cool, old body. Only about 950 T52s were built. This is one of very few cars in this sale without an estimate (what are they going to compare it to?). Click here for more info and here for more from Coys Techno Classica sale.

Update: Sold $1,600.

Bonhams 2012 Pebble Beach Highlights

I think this is a new record with regards to auction coverage turnaround time. This sale was held on August 17, just three days ago and here we are presenting results! Big thanks to Bonhams for posting the final numbers about as quickly as could possibly be expected. Both of our feature cars, the 1895 Buffum and the Gulf McLaren F1 Longtail, failed to sell. The top sale of the auction went to this 1966 Ford GT40 for a cool $2,205,000. It is chassis #GT40P/1033, if you’re keeping score at home.

1966 Ford GT-40

There were some pretty impressive motorcycle results at this sale as well. Top honors went to a 1940 Crocker “Big Tank” V-Twin for an eye-wattering $302,000.

1940 Crocker "Big Tank" V-Twin

There were two other Crockers that sold as well, both 1937 V-Twins. One sold for $302,000 and the one below brought slightly less at $291,000 (but it’s in a better color).

Road cars that really caught my attention included this 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Touring Saloon by Mulliner. It sold for $178,800.

1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Touring Saloon

There was also a super-rare 1949 Healey Silverstone that sold for $134,250.

1949 Healey Silverstone

But, by far, the coolest car Bonhams had on offer was this 1941 Tatra T87. These air-cooled beauties are magnificent. I really think it’s one of the loveliest designs of all time. They are quite rare in the U.S. and the price reflected that at $280,000.

1941 Tatra T87

Race cars were a major theme and some of my favorites included a 1964 Huffaker-Genie Mk 10 and an ex-Michele Alboreto 1990 Footwork-Arrows FA11B Formula One car. The Genie brought $142,500 and the Footwork $54,050.

1964 Huffaker-Genie Mk 10

The second-highest selling car of the sale was also a race car (as was the top-selling GT40). It was a 1966 Lola T70 Mk II GT that brought $324,000.

1966 Lola T70 Mk II GT

Two of the more obscure things to sell at this auction included an ex-Otis Chandler 1924 (circa) Ner-a-Car. These things are way cool and this one sold for $14,375.

c. 1924 Ner-a-Car

And finally, there was this 1914 Warrick 6hp Carrier Tri-Car Milk Float (which is kind of a mouthful of a name). It’s a British dairy truck – er, trike. The driver sits in the back and the product is up front. I’ve never seen one before. It sold for $25,300.

1914 Warrick 6hp Carrier Tri-Car Milk Float

For complete results, click here.