Tatra 87

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tatra 87
1941 Tatra 87 49870 front.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Tatra
Production
  • 1936–1950
  • 3,056 produced[1]
Assembly Kopřivnice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia
Designer
Body and chassis
Class Sedan 5-seater
Body style limousine (Finned Fastback)
Layout RR layout
Powertrain
Engine 2969 cc (3.0L) Tatra 87 V8[2]
Transmission 4-speed manual[1] (3 and 4 synchronized)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,850 mm (112.2 in)[3]
Length 4,740 mm (186.6 in)[4]
Width 1,670 mm (65.7 in)[4]
Height 1,500 mm (59.1 in)[4]
Curb weight 1,370 kg (3,020 lb)[3]
Chronology
Predecessor Tatra 77a
Successor Tatra 603

The Tatra 87 was a car built by Czechoslovak manufacturer Tatra. It was praised by German officers in World War II for the superior speed and handling it offered for use on the Autobahn. It was powered by a rear-mounted 3.0-litre air-cooled 90-degree overhead cam V8 engine that produced 85 horsepower and could drive the car at nearly 100 mph (160 km/h). It is ranked among the fastest production cars of its time, competing cars in this class, however, used engines with almost twice the volume, and fuel consumption of 20 liters per 100 km (11.8 mpg). Thanks to aerodynamic shape it has a consumption of just 12.5 liters per 100 km (18.8 mpg). The Nazi armaments and munitions minister Fritz Todt declared: "This 87 is the Autobahn car ..." After the war between 1950 and 1953 T87s were fitted with more modern 2.5-litre V8 T603 engines.[5]

Design[edit]

The Tatra 87 has a unique bodywork. Its streamlined shape was designed by Hans Ledwinka and Erich Übelacker, and was based on the Tatra 77, the first car designed for aerodynamic purposes.[1] The body design was based on proposals submitted by Paul Jaray of Hungarian descent, who designed the famous German Graf Zeppelin dirigibles. A fin in the sloping rear of the Tatra helps to divide the air pressure on both sides of the car, a technique used in later aircraft. Tatra T87 had a drag coefficient of 0.36 as tested in the VW tunnel in 1979 as well as reading of 0.244 for a 1:5 model tested in 1941.[6]

Art deco-styled dashboard in a 1947 T87

Small sets of windows in the dividers between the passenger, luggage space and engine compartments, plus louvers providing air for the air-cooled engine, allowed limited rear visibility. Its entire rear segment could be opened, to service the engine. The front doors are "suicide doors" (i.e. rear-hinged doors), whereas the rear doors open in an orthodox manner.

A 1947 Tatra 87 Saloon, showing the identifiable rear 'Sharks-fin' and lack of rear windows.

Many design elements of the Tatra 87, Tatra V570 and the later T97 were copied by later car manufacturers. Ferdinand Porsche was heavily influenced by the Tatra 87 and T97 and the flat-four-cylinder engine in his design of the Volkswagen Beetle, and was subsequently sued by Tatra.

The price new (in 1940s) was 25,000 SFr.[2] Price today is around $125,000.[7] A 1941 Tatra T87, owned and restored by Paul Greenstein and Dydia DeLyser of Los Angeles California, won a New York Times reader's poll of collector's cars in 2010, beating strong competition from 651 cars.[8]

The entire rear segment of the Tatra 87 formed an engine cowling.

Examples on display[edit]

Notable owners[edit]

Tatra 87-old.jpg

Streamlined Tatras

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "1948 Tatra 87". conceptcarz.com. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b "1947 TATRA 87 SALOON". Lane Motor Museum. 
  3. ^ a b "Tatra 87". tatraportal.sk. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Tatra 87". aerotatra.czweb.org. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ Karel Rosenkranz, 100 Years of Tatra Passenger Cars, Motormedia 1998
  6. ^ Ralf J. F. Kieselbach, Stromlinienautos in Europa und USA, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1982, page 19
  7. ^ Tori Tellem (2010-07-23). "Collectible Car of the Year: Votes Are In, and the Fin Has Won". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  8. ^ "1941 Tatra T 87". The New York Times. 2010-07-25. 

External links[edit]