Tatra T87

Tatra T87

The Tatra T87 was a car built by Czechoslovakian manufacturer Tatra. It was prized 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 2.9 litre air-cooled 90-degree Overhead cam V8 engine that produced 85 horsepower and could drive the car at nearly . The Nazi armaments and munitions minister Dr Fritz Todt declared: "This 87 is the Autobahn car ..." A flat-four cylinder 'boxer' engine version of the T87 also debuted in 1936.

The Tatra T87 has a unique bodywork. Its streamlined shape was designed by Dr Hans Ledwinka, and was based on the Tatra T77, the first car designed for aerodynamic purposes. The body design was based on proposals submitted by Hungarian Paul Jaray, 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.

Due to its engine being rear-mounted, the Tatra had no windows at its rear, thus very much reducing visibility. Its entire rear segment could be opened, to service the engine. The front doors are suicide doors, whereas the rear doors open in an orthodox manner.

Many design elements of the Tatra T87 and the later T97 were copied by later car manufacturers. Dr Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was heavily influenced by the Tatra T87 and T97 and the flat-four cylinder engine in his design of the Volkswagen Beetle, and was subsequently sued by Tatra.


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