Probably the greatest car no one has heard of.
Have you ever heard the name Tatra? No, it’s not a secret weapon of the Nazzis but an automobile brand from Czechoslovakia - actually, it’s the third-oldest company in the world producing cars with an unbroken history. One of its masterpieces is the T87 sedan that was recently featured in Jay Leno’s Garage series on YouTube.
This car is special in so many ways. First introduced in 1936, it remained in production until 1950 with just 3,056 units assembled. An example from the second model year is featured in the video at the top of this page - and it’s absolutely awesome.
Gallery: Rare Cold War Tatra T600 goes to auction
The T87 was powered by a 2.9-liter V8 air-cooled 90-degree overhead cam V8 engine with a peak torque of approximately 85 horsepower (63 kilowatts). Thanks to its drag coefficient of just 0.36, this output was more than enough to propel the car to a top speed of about 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour). Not only that - it was also way more fuel-efficient than its rivals,of the time, managing to return nearly 20 miles per gallon when most of its competitors were well below the 10 mpg mark.
For this video, Jay Leno is actually alone as the Tatra T87 is one the vehicles in his personal collection. The 30-minute clip details the restoration and engine rebuilt processes and also takes a look back at the history of the car and its chief designer and engineer.
Leno also tells the interesting story of how he wanted to become a member of the Tatra T87 owners club. When he got in touch with the founder of the club, he was informed that it currently has just three members. That’s what we call an exclusive car.
Note: Tatra T600 pictured in the gallery.