Tatra succeeded Nesselsdorfer in 1923 and designer Hans Ledwinka revolutionized existing design principles by creating a frame-less car with a large diameter backbone tube, in place of a conventional chassis. The air-cooled engine was a 1,056cc flat-twin, mounted transversely above the front axle.  The Tatra 11 was succeeded by the improved model 12, which was built until 1930. They were very sturdy cars, and were also successful in races.  A water cooled 2 litre six appeared in 1926. 
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The 1.72 litre Type 30 flat four superseded the two cylinder versions in 1930.  It, too, was air  cooled and had the engine transversely mounted.  The water cooled 2.3 litre Type 31 followed the earlier 2 litre six cylinder in 1927, while the 1,160cc Type 57 of the early 1930s was a new small air cooled four cylinder.  The 1,690cc Type 75 was similar in layout.  In the early 1930s two water cooled ohv luxury models appeared, one with a 3,850cc six cylinder engine, the other a 5,990cc V12.


Few of these expensive models were built.  In 1934, designer Hans Ledwinka, never short of unorthodox ideas, created another interesting car, the Tatra 77.  It had an air cooled V8 engine of 2,970cc mounted in the rear.  The body was aerodynamic, with a central box type frame. Only air cooled cars were being made by Tatra when the war broke out.  These were all four cylinder models, the 52 (1,910cc), the 57 (1,260cc) and the 97 (1,760cc), the latter being rear engined, the others having flat four engines in front.  The rear engined 2,960cc model 87 was the successor to the Tatra 77.  All now had ohv engines, except the model 52.

After the war, Tatra first produced improved versions of the rear engined cars with 2,472cc V8 engines, but concentrated more and more on big lorries.  From 1949-51 they built successful sports cars and racing monoposti with rear air cooled engines which, driven by Vermirovsky, Soyka and Pavlicek, proved successful.  From 1955 different versions of the rear engined Tatra 603 appeared, followed by the improved 613.  Most of these cars were supplied only to Governments in Eastern Europe.  Production is now on a small scale.


The present 613 has a dohc V8 engine of 3,495cc, mounted above the rear axle and giving 165 bhp at 5,200 rpm. It can attain 120mph.

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