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 Collection.
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 email [email protected]
Reg No: BF7706
Chassis Number: 015154
Engine Number: 22093
Engine Size: 1056
Docs: V5C; invoices; Dutch purchase invoice; Tatra dating certificate; technical literature
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