This three-seater sporty version of the mundane Tatra 75 is testimony to Czechoslovakian ingenuity.
A dynamic, elegant body on a Tatra chassis – we are talking about Sodomka, right? Well, in this case the answer is no. We are talking about Bohemia, a subsidiary of the Ringhoffer conglomerate, which owned Tatra in the 1930s. Bohemia was based in Česká Lípa and it was mainly engaged in the production of railway waggons, railcars etc. It also had a very well equipped workshop and supplied truck and bus bodies to Tatra. Apparently they also built three of these racy roadsters on the chassis of the Tatra 75.
The Tatra 75 was unveiled in 1933 (for model year 1934) as a companion to the smaller Tatra 57. It was aimed at the mid-sized market with a traditional look accented by a streamlined grille. The 75 followed the well-established Tatra concept: aircooled flat four-cylinder engine (here 1.7-litre, 30-hp) driving the rear wheels, tubular chassis, swinging rear axle and as an advanced feature, hydraulic brakes. Attention was paid to weight reduction, with light alloy used for the cylinder head castings. The 75 remained in production well into WW2.
Bohemia built just three of these roadsters. It would be nice to know the name of the designer, but I have not seen that so far. The covered real wheels, stripes and overall shape has a certain French flair to it. Some claim that this car was owned by legendary local actor, Hugo Haas. However the truth is more prosaic: it was ordered by a butcher in Bratislava, named Vladimír Čaloun who used the car until 1940.
The story of the car is well documented since 1946. It was used in and around Bratislava. In 1953 it was taken over by a local doctor, Jozef Rapp who used it for 10 years. The 75 Sport was stored until 1978, when a local classic car enthusiast, Dušan Klíma found it by accident. Dušan, whom I knew personally was a fantastic guy who loved touring with the 75 Sport. He attended meetings in Austria, Netherlands, Hungary etc. etc.
In around 2010 Veteran Arena in Olomouc took over the car and refurbished it. Lubomír Pešák, the man behind Veteran Arena is also a very enthusiastic person, who loves to drive his cars – witnessed by the fact that in 2019 he took out his very unique Invicta for a ride in torrential rain. So the 75 Sport is not just a museum piece, but it is still being used to attend classic car rallyes and meetings.