Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tatra - The Epitome of Rear Engine Cool

The West Australian 26th September 2015
By Andrew Forrest

As you will recall, the legendary motoring scribe L.J.K Setright once pondered how good the Porsche 911 could have been if decades of development had been put into a car with its engine in the right spot.

Despite the location of its engine, the Porsche 911 is a brilliantly capable car anyway and one whose dramatically different design has ensured its status as one of the world’s most uniquely involving and seductive sports cars.

Given rear-engine design is relatively unusual compared with front-engine cars, the disproportionate success of cars such as the 911 and Volkswagen Beetle and its relatives is all the more impressive.

Despite their familiarity, the 911 and the Beetle are nonetheless the same as most other cars with motive junk in trunk: a little odd.

They are also very cool and the epitome of that esoteric rear-engine coolness is this 1952 Tatra T600 Tatraplan.

Having spent 30 years in the York Motor Museum, the Tatra was purchased a year ago by Perth enthusiast Paul Markham.

Recently, the Tatra emerged from the Perth workshop Classic Gasolene after receiving an extensive mechanical refurbishment, most of which was required due to its long period of inactivity. After being asked what work was required on the car, Mr Markham laughed heartily for what seemed like 25 minutes.

Finally, he said: “A lot.”

Broadly speaking, the car received new tyres, refurbished brakes and carburettors and a rebuilt ignition system.

“Tatras were a magnificent example of that cutting-edge automotive styling from the late 1930s,” Mr Markham said.

“It was that whole streamlining era and I never expected to be able to find a Tatra in Australia,” he said.

Mr Markham’s Tatra will be one of the star cars at the Rear Engine Car Show, an event he has organised specifically for cars with their power packed in the back.

Fellow organiser Paul Blank said approximately 50 cars were expected at the event, with other brands including NSU, Alpine, Messerschmitt and Amphicar also due to be shown.

September 28 - Rear Engine Car Day. Kings Square, Fremantle. 10am-3pm. All rear-engine cars welcome. Email paulyshell@hotmail.com.

http://westwheels.caradvice.com.au/1000001465/1000001465/

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