The avant-garde, streamlined design of the Tatra 87 looks rather like a fish, not least because of the large rear fin.
The three headlights are also typical of the Tatra design. The low drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.36 enabled the car with its air-cooled 3.0-litre V8 engine to attain a speed of 150 km/h. However, at that speed driving the car became dangerous – the heavy rear engine made it hard to handle.
The Austrian engineer Hans Ledwinka joined the Czech company Tatra in 1921 as technical director. He invented the ‘backbone chassis’ and was a pioneer in the area of aerodynamic design. The design of this particular Tatra dates back to the pre-war years. Ledwinka was a close colleague of Ferdinand Porsche, but when the Volkswagen Beetle was introduced, Tatra claimed that Porsche had copied their design. The court case was interrupted by the war, but Volkswagen later admitted Tatra’s influence.