After World War II, Tatra continued its pre-war business of building passenger cars in addition to commercial (and military) vehicles. The factory was nationalised in 1946 two years before the Communist takeover. Although production of pre-war models continued, a new model, the Tatra 600 Tatraplan was designed in 1946-47 by Josef Chalupa, Vladimír Popelář, František Kardaus and Hans Ledwinka. The name of the car celebrated the new Communist planned economy but also referred to aeroplane inspiration ('éroplan' means aeroplane in colloquial Czech).
After two prototypes "Ambrož" (December 1946) and "Josef" (March 1947), the 600 went into mass production in 1948. In 1951, the state planning department decided that the Tatraplan should henceforth be built at the Skoda Auto plant in Mladá Boleslav, leaving Tatra to concentrate on truck assembly. This was quite unpopular with the workforce at both plants: as a result Skoda built Tatraplans for one year only before the model was discontinued in 1952.
The Tatraplan had a monocoque streamlined six-seater saloon body with a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.32. It was powered by an air-cooled flat-4-cylinder 1,952 cc rear-mounted engine. 6,342 were made, 2,100 of them in Mladá Boleslav. In 2010, in the UK, Tatraplan had been selected by public vote in the 'Classic Car of the Year' competition as the winner of the 1940s category.