Tatra T77
Tatra T77

Streamlined Tatras at 2014 Pebble Concours

Pavel Kasik recently bid farewell to his beloved Tatra T77 only days after completing its 20-year restoration. The Tatra started its overseas journey of 4,279 miles from the Czech Republic to the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which will host an exclusive feature of streamlined Tatra automobiles for the first time. A passionate car enthusiast, Kasik will join his automobile on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links when the Concours competition gets underway on Sunday, August 17.

“We are pleased to be able to recognize the significant contribution that Tatra has made by featuring it for the first time,” said Sandra Button, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Chairman. “The Tatra made its mark with leading technology like its rear-mounted, air-cooled engine and streamlined style. We are particularly thrilled to be hosting eight Tatras this year. The cars will be coming from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States.”

Kasik, who was born and reared in the Czech Republic, has been a lover of automobiles since he was a young boy; it is a passion he shared with his father. They came across their first Tatra by accident in 1978 when Pavel’s father bought a Tatra taxi limousine T30 as a temporary solution after the crash of their family car. By the age of 15 Kasik was so determined to own a classic Tatra that he bargained with the owner of a T87 until it was his.

In 1991 Kasik came across a Tatra T77 that he wanted even more. “During nearly three years of negotiations, the previous owner constantly changed the conditions and increased prices,” said Kasik. “A number of collectors were interested in the purchase too, but only I persevered to the end. It was not certain if the purchase would be successful till the last moment.”

While at college Kasik had studied architecture and the restoration of monuments, so he was eager to restore the car. His level of taste and his determination to find all of the car’s original parts may be among the reasons why the restoration took 20 years.

Letting go of the car just days after its restoration was difficult, but Kasik is excited about showing his car to the enthusiasts from around the world who gather at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours.

“Participating in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is the goal and dream of every lover of historic cars,” said Kasik. “Even though it’s been 80 years since the T77 launched, I hope it will be an interesting experience for the Pebble Beach Concours worldwide audience.”

Tatra, which is the third oldest automobile manufacturer in the world, after Mercedes and Peugeot, created the first serial-produced truly aerodynamic automobile. Engineered by Hans Ledwinka and designed by Paul Jaray in 1934 the Tatra T77 is iconic for its unique design and extraordinary speed. This coachbuilt automobile is constructed on a central tube-steel chassis and is powered by a 75-horsepower rear-mounted 3.4 liter V8 engine that can reach a speed of up to 95 mph.

“The Tatra was one of the most interesting and well-developed engineering and design intersections of the Art Deco period,” said car designer Raffi Minasian. “It may have lacked the usual flamboyance of traditional French coachbuilders . . . but it manifested the expression of Art Deco design as a merger of science and industry where form was dictated by function.”

For more information on the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours, visit www.pebblebeachconcours.net.

[Source: Pebble Beach Concours; photo: The Archive of Pavel Kasik]