1957 Tatra 603 Sedan
Chassis no. 6480
In the world of Iron Curtain vehicles, Czechoslovakia's Tatra stands out from the rest of the badge-engineered Third World cars. Founded in 1850 as a producer of horse-drawn carriages, Tatra eventually branched out into railroad cars. Then, inspired by the purchase of a 1897 Benz, Tatra showcased its first vehicle in Vienna. Austrian engineer Hans Ledwinka involvement with that car led to Tatra's introduction of the Type A in 1900. This time, Hans was completely responsible for its engineering and design.
However, Ledwinka's crowning achievement was 1933's Tatra T77, an aerodynamic, rear-engined sedan built on a tube-steel chassis. More notable features were a 3.4-liter air-cooled V-8 with overhead valves and hemispherical heads, independent suspension, and liberal use of lightweight magnesium alloys for the motor, suspension, and body. In 1946, Tatra's production was nationalized, and two years later the Communists took over.
Hans Ledwinka's continued his vision with 1956's Tatra T603. It was wilder than previous models, perhaps even surpassing the Atomic-aged excess that was emerging from America at that time. Three series of this model was built through 1975 and, due to Tatra's practice of taking in trades and rebuilding them to newer specification, most of the surviving examples look like the third series (built from 1968-75).
This 1957 Tatra 603 is one of those first-series cars that received third-series updates at the factory. It is largely original and currently has 53,472 kilometers (approximately 33,240 miles) on the odometer. The original jack, engine hand crank, lug wrench, and other tools are still in place, and the spare has never been on the ground. Tatras were rarely sold new to private individuals, and they only were exported to Czech allies. With only about two dozen in America, you won't have many opportunities to buy one.
By this time, Tatras were vehicles for politicians and other connected officials, and a good percentage of them were exported to Czech allies. Private sales were not part of the norm.