Having walked from one end of the Old Parliament House lawns to the other, and having dined on fine cuisine, my carspotting continued. To my immense surprise I came upon a Tatra 603.
The Tatra 603 was built in Czechoslovakia from 1956 until 1975, in three largely similar variants - T603-1, T603-2 and T603-3. It is a rear engined, rear wheel drive car powered by an AIR COOLED aluminium V8 of 2500cc capacity, the car weighs in at 1400 kg
The T603-1 has three headlights under a clear glass cover. The T603-2 has four headlights in a long oval grill, the T603-3 has no grill and the headlights are flush with the car's front fascia. It can be difficult to tell exactly what model T603 you are looking at as when they were returned to the factory to be exchanged for "new" model T603s, the older cars would be disassembled and rebuilt in current styling. These cars were then returned to use as "new" T603's. As a result, most T603s are of the later -3 styling, regardless of when they were originally built.
How did a T603-2 end up in Canberra ? Very few of these cars were sold privately, being reserved for senior officials. This car was built in 1960 for the Czech Agriculture Ministry, went back to the factory in 1965 and rebodied, then its history is unknown until 1999 when its current owner bought it in the Czech republic and shipped it to Australia.
Nice air scoops for the air cooled V8.
Sophisticated eastern bloc signalling technology.
A bit more comfortable than a Trabant.
Why does this car affect me ? It is the clean aerodynamic lines, the mechanical package, the tasteful timeless european take on automotive streamlining. The chrome detailing, the view from the front. The details like the delicately curved air scoops. It is also the history of Tatra the company. It is a beautiful car. Only 21 thousand were built over the life of the car, all by hand.
When I was in Prague in 2004, I snapped many photos of the Tatra T700, including a few in use as Police cars. The Tatra company still exist, post iron curtain, and still make rear engined air cooled cars, although they are (and always were) primarily a truck company. If the owner reads this, please email me - I would love to go for a spin and then photograph in graphic detail, every part of this car.
Based on the XB Falcon coupe, but using P5 LTD panels and parts, the Ford Landau was built between 1973 and 1976, with 1385 produced. Powered by a 5.8 litre Cleveland V8, with a 3 speed automatic transmission and four wheel disc brakes, this car could move. Equipped with the LTD interior and dash, it was quite luxurious, and it is interesting that Holden never made a Statesman version of their competing Monaro coupe. A unique model in Ford Australia's history.
Plenty of vintage cars.
I think it's a Renault.
Cadillac. Just take a few moments to look at the detail on this car.
Full faced helmet, essential when taking your 100 year old Cadillac for a spin down the Tuggeranong parkway.
Very nice late model Charger.
Humber Super Snipe. Another car I would happily have in my Top Ten garage.
Very cool Holden panelvan and matching trailer. Unfortunately, the way it was placed among cars made it hard to photograph well.
Strange Rat rod.
S Series Valiant
Studebaker Lark - 1963? - possibly an ex Victorian police car.
VF Valiant hardtop
A dozen or so old Yank post war cars were there as well.
Very tidy HZ Panelvan.
Austin A40 Farina.
GT - not a Phase 3, but an Austin 1300 GT 1974.
Coming in Part 4 - Modern Falcons, Nude bicycle riders and some orphans.