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Lot 107

2019   |   Pebble Beach 2019

1938 Tatra T77A Limousine

SOLD $412,000

Estimate

$450,000 - $650,000

Chassis

35719

Engine

201.658

Car Highlights

An Exceptionally Rare Flagship Tatra Limousine
Innovative Prewar Aerodynamic Design by Hans Ledwinka
Restored to Factory Specification by Specialist Roman Spacek
Iconic Silver-Painted Bodywork with Tobacco Leather Interior
One of 255 T77 Tatras Built and as Few as 20 Extant

Technical Specs

3,400 CC OHC Air-Cooled V-8 Engine
Single Zenith Downdraft Carburetor
75 BHP at 3,500 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Transverse Leaf Spring
Rear Independent Suspension with Swing Axles

Saleroom Addendum

Please note that a leaking wheel cylinder was noticed on inspection and will require attention before use.

Register to Bid

Hugo Lansky, Czechoslovakia (acquired in 1938)German Wehrmacht (confiscated from the above in 1939)Soviet Army (confiscated from the above in 1945)Vitaly Linkevich, Soviet Union (acquired from the above circa 1950)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2000)

Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, Michigan, 2006 (Engineering Excellence Award)Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Florida, 2008 (Best in Class)Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance, Virginia, 2008 (Best of Show)Corcoran Gallery of Art, Modernism: Designing a New World, 1914-1939, Washington, D.C., 2008Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, California, 2010Portland Art Museum, The Shape of Speed: Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1930-1942, Oregon, 2018

From its first automobile in 1897, Czechoslovakian carriage builder Tatra established itself as an innovative and unconventional firm. Under the stewardship of Chief Engineer Hans Ledwinka in the 1930s, Tatra licensed the groundbreaking work of Zeppelin creator Dr. Paul Jaray, whose wind tunnel studies helped Ledwinka sculpt the top-of-the-line Tatra T77, the world’s first serial-produced aerodynamic air-cooled automobile.

Displayed at the Berlin motor show in March 1934, Ledwinka’s engineering emphasized efficiency, with a central chassis, and a rear-mounted, air-cooled, eight-cylinder engine with hemispherical heads. Revolutionary for a 1930s-era automobile, the T77’s aerodynamic, wood-framed coachwork sported a three-piece, sloped windscreen, integrated front fenders, no running boards, and a longitudinal dorsal fin for stability. Lightweight materials such as electron were used extensively to reduce weight, which allowed the T77 to achieve a top speed of 150 km/h. An upgraded T77a followed in 1935 featuring a larger-capacity 3.4-liter V-8 engine and a third headlight, and in total just 255 examples of the T77 series were built.

Per history provided by the consignor, this lovely T77a, chassis 35719, was delivered new to Hugo Lansky of the Czechoslovakian Electrical Company in 1938, and was commandeered by the German armed forces later that year. It was then confiscated by the Soviet army in 1945, and they would retain possession of the Tatra until circa 1950, when the T77a was purchased at a war surplus auction by Soviet citizen Vitaly Linkevich, who would keep the car for nearly 50 years.

In 2000, the consignor learned of the rare T77a and purchased 35719, exporting it to the Czech Republic to be restored by Tatra specialist Roman Spacek. Over the next five years, Spacek carried out an exquisite restoration of 35719, which was finished in silver over a tobacco-colored leather interior. As detailed in photos on file, the exquisite work was done to an incredible level of detail, and included new coachwork crafted by the Florian brothers to factory specifications, replacing the tired original. The original bodywork accompanies the car at auction and will be shipped to a US or Canadian buyer free of charge from its current location in Ontario, Canada.

The newly restored Tatra was subsequently included in two prestigious art museum exhibitions and has been displayed at many of the country’s finest concours d’elegance, including Pebble Beach in 2010 and Amelia Island, where it won Best in Class in 2008. Of the 255 total built, less than 20 examples of first- and second-series T77 models are believed to still exist. Especially rare in North America, this represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase a pinnacle of prewar design and engineering.