Looking at the VW EA128 concept instantly brings to mind that ultimate and final expression of the rear-engine sedan, the Czech Tatra T613. Introduced in 1974, it was a direct descendant of the T603, which in turn replaced the T600 and T87, dating back to the thirties (my Tatra history is here).
The T613 was styled by Vignale of Italy, and had 3.5 and 4.3 liter DOHC aircooled V8s out back. As with all big Tatras, they were built in small numbers for the party bigwigs and industry bosses. After the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Tatra tried unsuccessfully to export, and compete with the German luxury brands. (Read More…)
[Note: A significantly expanded and updated version of this article can be found here]
That air presented the greatest obstacle to automotive speed and economy was understood intuitively, if not scientifically since the dawn of the automobile. Putting it into practice was quite another story. Engineers, racers and entrepreneurs were lured by the potential for the profound gains aerodynamics offered. The efforts to do so yielded some of the more remarkable cars ever made, even if they challenged the aesthetic assumptions of their times. We’ve finally arrived at the place where a highly aerodynamic car like the Prius is mainstream. But getting there was not without turbulence. (Read More…)