Last of the Air-Cooled V8 Czechs: 1996 Tatra T700
This 1996 Tatra T700 is among fewer than 100 produced between 1996 and 1999 by the storied Czech automaker, and is described as a restored example that benefits from a, “demanding renovation of all parts of the car.” Condition is described as-new throughout, and the seller lists the equivalent of just over 3,000 miles having been covered since work was complete. Tatra’s final car, the T700 was released in 1996 to replace the Vignale-styled 613 which had been in production since 1974, though in reality it was only a heavy update of that same model. Just as in most earlier streamlined cars from Kopřivnice, power comes from a rear-mounted, air-cooled V8, in this case a 3.5 liter quad-cam unit delivering 200 HP. These were expensive, hand-built cars, and though styling and creature comforts lagged behind contemporary luxury offerings from Germany and England, performance was quite good–as the final product of one of the world’s oldest and most influential car makes, this is definitely a very compelling machine. Find it here on Raj Veteranu in Prague, Czech Republic for 5 million CZK (~$230k USD today).
Only one exterior photo is provided, but it captures the side profile of the T700 nicely. Prior to the Velvet Revolution and fall of the Soviet Union, Tatra passenger vehicles were built mostly for communist party officials and other heads of state-controlled industry, although a few models were briefly marketed for export to places like Western Europe and even Canada. After the Cold War, Tatra rushed to modernize their offerings with changes like a 5-speed manual transaxle (replacing earlier 4-speeds, though an automatic in development never made it to market), leather interiors and improved trim. The T700 replaced the aging 613, but occupied the same market segment as a luxury range topper, and had an overall length comparable to the S Class of the era at 202 inches.
Inside, leather and wood replace the acres of plastic, velour and vinyl seen in Iron Curtain Era Tatras, the end result of which looks a lot like a period Saab product, albeit one with an auxiliary gas-fired heater that can be programmed to start up to a year in advance. Excluding the head unit, everything looks as stock as the exterior.
Here’s the 3.5 liter 16-valve air-cooled V8 which develops 198 HP at 5750 RPM. This engine uses the same basic DOHC, 3,495cc design that Tatra first introduced back in 1974 on the 613, but features improvements developed on late model Series 5 versions of that car such as fuel-injection and a 5-speed manual. Again, everything appears to be unmodified.
By the time production came to an end in 1999, the powerplant had switched to an enlarged 4.4 liter V8 which offered 220 HP for the T700-2. At least one T700GT two-door was built, utilizing a 400 HP, 8000 RPM variant of the same engine. Unfortunately, none of these advancements enabled Tatra to compete with offerings from marques with much bigger development budgets and much better known names, and by 1999 the company chose to end auto production after a 102-year run, instead focusing resources on building equally interesting heavy-duty trucks–a business that’s still around today.
The price for this T700 is high, but production estimates range between just 75 and 100 units. Only one has reportedly found a home in the US, and judging by the apparent condition of the blue example on offer here, we hope someone sees fit to keep it nicely preserved and in good driving over.
via The best vintage and classic cars for sale online https://bringatrailer.com