Tatra: Inspiring the Volkswagen Beetle?
By James Grahame
Lisa from Collectors Weekly writes, "Tatra is the Czechoslovakian car maker whose rear-engine, air-cooled T-87 was the 'inspiration' for Hitler and Porsche's Volkswagen Beetle. Basically, the Nazis stole the design, and Tatra got 3-million Deutschmarks in compensation after the war. Justin Pinchot supplied the photos and a short video of his aerodynamic beauty. It looks like something out of Buck Rogers."
Justin's 1950 Czechoslovakian Tatra T-600 was discovered growing moss in a Canadian barn, but the air-cooled flat 4 engine had only 19,000 miles on it and the interior was "perfect."
If you look closely at the front doors, you'll see that the handle is at the front -- they're 'suicide doors' attached to the same pillar as the ones in the rear.
My favorite feature is the turn signal, a light-up semaphore mounted between the doors. I can imagine they'd cause incredible confusion as oncoming traffic tries to figure out what the glowing appendage sticking out of the side means.
[Update: As I remark in the comments, the Volkswagen was derived from the NSU Typ 32, created by Dr Porsche in 1932. Porsche left Daimler in 1929 and started work on the Volkswagen project in 1934, two years before the release of the Mercedes-Benz 170 H and the Tatra T-87. Tatra asserted that Porsche's design infringed on a number of their patents and Porsche was apparently going to reach a settlement with them, but Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938 put a halt to the legal action.]
Link: The VW Bug’s Rare and Quirky Czech Mate [Collectors Weekly]