Tatra began experimenting with car aerodynamics in the early 1930s. The first of Tatra’s “aerodynes” was the Tatra T-77. This was the world’s first serially produced aerodynamic-styled automobile powered by an air-cooled rear-mounted engine. Its replacement, the T-87, began production in 1936 and continued through 1950. Although shorter than the T-77, the T-87 provided seating for six in Bauhaus styling. The body employed full monocoque construction.
With the outbreak of war, Tatra was forced to produce military vehicles temporarily halting T-87 production between 1943-1944. Later, the T-87 was allowed in limited production. It is rumored this car was favored by Hitler for its high speed, remarkable traction in bad weather, and its reliability on the cold Eastern front. Allegedly so many German officers were killed behind the wheel than in combat and were forbidden from driving the T-87. Tatra’s were called “Czechoslovakia’s Secret Weapon” for this reason. Jay Leno calls it, “The greatest car than no one has ever heard of.”