Saturday, October 10, 2009

'41 Tatra joyride

A couple of weeks ago Jonny Lieberman sent me a text message from the back seat of a Tatra T87. He had gone to a meeting of the local Citroen club and met Paul Greenstein, owner of many interesting and unusual cars including the T87, and he said I needed to drop everything and head over to Echo Park right away to see it. About 10 minutes later I was standing in front of Paul's immaculately restored 1941 Tatra, which recently returned to Los Angeles from the Czech Republic, where it was on display in the Tatra Museum. Incredible car—larger than you might think from photographs, the black teardrop coachwork with its central fin and three headlights suggesting some sort of art deco Batmobile from an alternate future. Paul asked if we wanted to go for a ride, and we were like...yeah!

Here's Jonny's cameraphone shot from the back seat as we made our way around the Silver Lake reservoir. The T87 felt right at home on the neighborhood's twisting 1920s hillside streets, the suspension surprisingly well-sprung and smooth for a nearly 70-year-old car. The rear-mounted aircooled V8 had a deep, throaty burble, not the VW-like clatter that I would have expected. Probably the most remarkable thing about the drive was that nobody on the street seemed to give the car a second look. No double-takes for a Tatra? Are we Angelenos really that jaded? Apparently so.

You can read the full story of Paul's T87 on Mike Bumbeck's great site Clunkbucket.

Thanks Paul and Jonny!

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