1929 Tatra T12
From the The
Automobile Magazine 'Oily Rag' Reserve Collection; much recent expenditure;
fascinating design with a wonderfully Bauhaus interior
Hans Ledwinka created the revolutionary T11 in his own
time while working for Steyr in Austria. When the management rejected his
design, he left Steyr in 1921 and took his idea to Tatra instead who were so
impressed that they appointed him as technical director.
Built around an innovative backbone tube chassis, the T11
was powered by a 12hp 1057cc air-cooled, horizontally-opposed, twin-cylinder
engine with overhead valves. The engine and 4-speed gearbox were mounted in unit
above the front beam axle and combined with the prop shaft and the differential
to form an integral part of the chassis. The front axle had transverse leaf
spring suspension while at the back it had swing half-axles mounted to the rear
of the backbone tube.
In 1927 the T11 was replaced by the very similar T12, now
with an extra 2hp and brakes to all four wheels. Many different body styles were
offered (saloon; tourer; pickup; van) and by the time it was replaced by the T57
in 1933, some 7300 T12s had been sold.
This wonderfully preserved two-door four-seat T12 saloon
has the lightweight Weymann fabric body and retains its original chrome-plated
cantilever tubular steel front seats with folding backrests – an iconic design
feature which inspired Mart Stam to produce a similar chair for the Bauhaus.
As the Tatra Register dating certificate confirms, it was
built in September 1929 and was first owned by Jaroslav Kudra of Horazdovice,
Czechoslovakia. The car was first brought to the UK in the late 1970s but was
sold back to mainland Europe in the 1980s. In 2016, it was offered for sale by
Classic Job BV of Holland from whom it was acquired to join the Oily Rag
The advert for the car stated that it was "completely
original" apart from the bonnet and the wings which had been repainted at some
point in the past. Prior to sale it was treated to new front and rear brake
shoes; new brake cables; new tyres; complete engine service; all fluids changed;
electrics overhauled and was said to be in "good driving order".
On arrival in the UK it was sent to Tatra specialist
Connaught Green Ltd of Southam for a mechanical checkover and to sort any issues
with two invoices on file for £3,187 and £624. At this point the steering
geometry was corrected, the engine and carburettor fully serviced and the
electrical system rebuilt. The Bosch FF2 magneto and the dynamo were also
professionally overhauled at a cost of £734 and some period-correct hand-painted
number plates were also made and fitted.
The car was then taken to the VSCC’s Light Car &
Edwardian Section Welsh Weekend where it performed admirably. It also took part
in the Tatra Register UK’s annual rally in the Cotswolds. Since then, the car
has been unused for a couple of years and will require a basic check-over before
returning to the road.
Supplied with a V5C, it also comes with a large amount of
technical literature relating to the model, including what looks like a reprint
of an original maintenance manual, although you will need a good working
knowledge of German, Dutch and Czechoslovakian to make use of it all!
A simply fabulous machine in all respects, it will turn
heads wherever it goes and would sit well in any collection.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or