In the 1960s Tatra built two Formula Junior racing cars.
Formula Junior was initiated in 1957 by
Giovanni Lurani, an Italian automotive engineer, racer driver and journalist . The racing cars used 1,1-litre engines. After seven years FIA took over the series and introduced them as Formula 3.
In the beginning of 1963 Ing. Gajdoš, a designer, racer and member of ZO Zväzarm Tatra Kopřivnice along with 18 other designers compiled a documentation for the new Czechoslovak Formula Junior monoposto. Subsequently the development of two Tatra Delfín racers were carried out by the development department of Tatra together with activists from ZO Zväzarm (Union for Cooperation with the Army) Tatra Kopřivnice who worked on the monopostos for more then 8000 hours as a labour of love.
The racing cars were first was thoroughly sketched and shaped as a 1: 10 scale model. According to the cast, the laminated body was built in 3 days in Kovon n.p.
Both Delfins were completed in 8 months and 18 days. Tatra presented them to public on September 20, 1963 on Štramberk Circuit.
Tatra Delfin 1100 was the world’s first Formula Junior monoposto with an air-cooled engine. It was powered by a four-cylinder engine, which was derived from the Tatra 603’s eight-cylinder unit. It came equipped with two Weber 40 DCO3 carburetors.
The car had Renault brakes, a Fiat 600 transmission with modified gears and Volga M21 differential. The 402-kilogram monoposto had a max speed of 217 km/h.
The design of Delfin is still exceptional and attractive even today. The shape was really unusual for the Formula at the time. In 1963 all monopostos had neat, rounded shapes.
This could be also an inspiration for other designers to design square shaped monoposto. Their era came later in 1969 when Lotus introduced its 61 MX.