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The Tatra T77 was the first serially produced aerodynamically designed automobile.

Launched in 1934, and produced until 1938 it was powered by a rear mounted 75 hp 3.4 litre air-cooled V8 engine. A lightweight magnesium alloy called Electron was used in the engine, transmission, suspension and various body parts. The T77 also had one of the lowest coefficients of drag at 0.212.

Tatra T77a Historical Background

The Tatra T77 was launched at the Prague and Berlin Autoshows in the spring of 1934. The Tatra 77 was the first serial-produced truly aerodynamically designed automobile. It was developed by Hans Ledwinka along with Erich Ubelacker and Paul Jaray, the noted Zeppelin aerodynamic engineer.

Paul Jaray access to Zeppelin's wind tunnels helped him establish the first streamlining principles for automotive design. In 1927 he sold issuing licenses to major vehicle manufacturing for streamlined automobiles although Tatra was the only company to incorporate his design principles in a serially produced automobile.

The results were outstanding. The Tatra 77 was powered by a rear-mounted 2.969 litre air-cooled V8 engine. The Tatra T77 easily reached 90 m/h on the highway with excellent handling and outstanding comfort. Visually it was so exciting that Director Maurice Elvey used it in his 1935 British sci-fi movie, "The Transatlantic Tunnel".

The T77 is unlike any of the other pre-war automobile. Its three-piece windshield slopes at 45 degrees, its fenders, headlamps, door hinges and handles are all integrated into the body, and its underbody is smooth. Its large tailfin decreases the effects of side winds and increases the car's handling thereby contributing to the automobile's futuristic image. The Tatra T77 was coach built on a central steel square tube frame. The T77 was initially launched with a 60 hp 3.0 litre engine. In 1935, the engine was enlarged and the automobile was renamed the T77a.

The T77a is powered by a 75 hp, rear mounted 3.4 litre, aircooled V8 engine. The engine has overhead valves and hemispherical combustion chambers and utilizes a ten litre dry sump. The T77a has fully independent suspension and rear swing axles. Electron (a magnesium-aluminum alloy)is used to reduce weight for the engine, parts of the transmission, suspension and some body parts. It's long wheel base allows passengers to ride comfortably between the axles. The T77a enjoys a top speed of over 150 km/h. The smooth body delivers an incredibly low coefficient of aerodynamic drag of 0.212. The T77a also incorporates an additional third headlight. The company manufactured 255 T77 and T77a from 1934 to 1938.

More information on 1938 T77a, VIN 35719

1938 Tatra T77a parked in the main square of Stramberk, a beautiful village near where Tatra's automobiles were produced.