When Czechoslovakia moved from a democracy to a communist state, the centralized planned economy appointed Tatra to be the manufacturer for big automobiles with an engine displacement of over 2000cc. This T603 model was unveiled to the public in 1955 at the International Motor Event in Zlin, and production of the all-steel monocoque saloon started in 1957. Between 1956 and 1962 over 20,000 were built.
This T603 with its 2472cc, V8, air-cooled engine has a top speed of over 100 mph. The engine for the T-603 was first developed and used in the T-607 single-seater race car. It had a displacement size that was less than a T-87, yet it produced more horsepower despite losing its overhead cam design.
It is a three-headlight model, although some T603s even have four headlights. Interestingly this roomy six-passenger car has a front bench seat that can be folded down to make a temporary bed. The T-603 could not be bought by private customers; as it was reserved for government officials and presidents in Eastern European countries and Cuba.
This example is painted in a bright maroon color and is fitted with all the options. It was purchased by Mr. Schenk of Bern, Switzerland after it was shown by Tatra at the 1958 Geneva Auto Show. He used it for his personal car until he died in 1968. It was later purchased by Rene Berger, who ran a restoration shop in Switzerland. In 1998, it was sold to a Tatra collector in Toronto, Canada named John Long. In 2006, it was sold to the Lane Motor Museum in Tennessee, where it currently resides.