***Vendor supplied images***
***Transport can be arranged at a very good rate. Delivery to Calais for 1500€ for example***
- Restored to an exemplary standard by the vendor
- Air-cooled 2,472cc hemi V8 engine mounted in the rear
- Extraordinary streamlined design developed using wind tunnel testing
Life is rather too short to drive a boring car and they don’t come much more interesting than a Tatra.
It’s hard to believe the 603 was fashioned by human hands, let alone that it left the Socialist Czechoslovakian factory almost sixty years ago. The vast majority of these luxury saloons were driven by high-ranking government officials and they were never distributed outside the Eastern Bloc.
This outstanding 1967 example has recently been comprehensively restored by the current owner to an impressive standard. It runs and drives exceedingly well and is ready to grace the roads with its presence once more.
The History and Paperwork
- We’re informed that this Tatra was imported to Holland from the Czech Republic during the 1980s
- Sold with its Dutch title / registration, modern card format
- It subsequently made its way to Denmark which is where the vendor acquired it
- Now resides in Slovakia
- Restored by the vendor. This work was completed around six months ago
- Photographic record of the vehicle’s recent restoration
- Totally restored and looking very fresh
- Part vinyl, part velour upholstery, the original fabric is preserved on the seats and upholstery, the rest is renovated.
- Closely replicates the original interior
Climbing inside this Tatra is like stepping into a Cold War spy thriller…
Studying the photographs taken while this car was mid-restoration, you can see the remnants of the original upholstery and great care has clearly been taken to ensure the retrimming work was as faithful to the original interior as possible.
Unlike the inside of Western luxury saloons that were fashioned predominantly from wood and leather, the Tatra 603’s upholstery has an altogether more municipal feel with patterned velours and hard-wearing grey vinyl. All the sympathetic retrimming work has been carried out to an exceptional standard and none of this Tatra’s character has been lost along the way.
The dashboard is in wonderful condition and accommodates all the original instrumentation, switchgear and a period-correct radio. We’re informed that everything works with the exception of the petrol heater which the vendor deemed too dangerous to reconnect. As this car incorporates column-shift gear changes, there is no bulky transmission tunnel and dare we say that this cabin’s futuristic flat floor almost gives it the feel of today’s EVs.
Black carpeting with grey piping compliments the remaining upholstery and we couldn’t detect any wear at all. Forward of the passenger compartment, where unsuspecting passers by might expect the engine to lurk, we find a cavernous boot space which presents well besides what looks like a little oil staining to the carpet.
Those big bench seats are in really nice condition and we didn’t notice any signs of wear or damage. The door cards are trimmed to match and similarly there are no blemishes to note. A large expanse of white headlining completes the ensemble and once again, it appears there is no damage to be seen.
Having been restored so recently, there has been little time for this interior to accrue any wear. It's a simply fabulous experience sitting in this Tatra and we’re sure the next owner will be smitten with it.
- Finished in gloss black which was often the case with these vehicles
- Other-wordly streamlined styling
- Expertly refinished to an incredible standard
Few cars, if any, have such an imposing presence as a Tatra 603. There’s really nothing quite like it and we love how Tatra’s engineers were never afraid to ignore convention. Even the headlights aren’t where you’d expect them to be. And at little over five metres long, the next thing that strikes you, is that it’s simply massive.
Given their official governmental role, 603s were often finished in black and the colour’s inherent sleekness forms the perfect accompaniment to that slippery shape. On that side of things, we note that it was maroon before the restoration, but we’re unsure of what colour it was painted originally.
The paint finish is really fine and having been resprayed recently, there are none of the usual signs of use such as stone chips. Usually, we’d comment on how straight the bodywork is, but somehow we don’t feel this is appropriate with a 603 as there’s barely a straight line in sight. What we can say is the panels align nicely, the doors fit well and all the trim looks really smart.
The bumpers look really smart and the chrome continues to gleam with no pitting in sight. As this Tatra dates from 1967, that makes it a ‘2-603’ which was the first facelift of the design. The three headlamps of earlier cars were increased to four and amongst other small updates, the rear track was widened.
Underneath, all looks to be in fantastic shape. The sills and floor pans exhibit no signs of corrosion or damage. All the running gear presents well and is free from road grime or the build-up of oil. The steel wheels are finished in black and the curious hubcaps which taper to a point are in really nice shape.
The Tatra has all the accessories from 1967, anchor on the front hood, moldings on the A and C pillars, 603 badge on the front fenders, narrow front mask, specific moldings on the rear hood, bumpers.
Few surviving Tatras are as smart as this one which is testament to the quality of the restoration work.
- 2.5-litre air-cooled hemi V8, fed by 2 carburettors
- Four-speed synchronised gearbox
- Rebuilt mechanicals all functioning well
We’re pleased to report that Tatras don’t get any more conventional under the bonnet either…
A rear-mounted, hemi head, air-cooled V8 is about as bonkers as it sounds but these 603s actually worked really well and could quite happily burble along all day. The vendor informs us that all the mechanicals have been overhauled and rebuilt where necessary and as a result the car drives impeccably. Our Tatra has its original engine - the number matches the original plate and retains its original Jikov carburettors.
Lifting the rear hatch, you’re presented with an almost clinically clean engine compartment and there are no signs of any leaks so far as we could see. It starts really well and quickly settles down to a steady idle. Even the noise this vehicle makes is unlike any other and to us is a curious cross between a V8 muscle car and an air-cooled 911.
We’re informed that the 603 is ready to be driven and there are no mechanical faults to report.
If ever a car came close to making the Citroën DS feel conventional, it’s the Tatra 603 and this is amongst the smartest and most mechanically sorted examples around. If your collection is lacking in something truly bizarre, or you regularly indulge in period correct espionage, this is most certainly the car for you.
Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*
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Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased. Car & Classic may refer a shipping company that also deals with import/export paperwork. Prices start at €150+VAT within the same country or €400+VAT for moves across borders.