• Twenty-five years ago, the first edition of this book was the first on the subject to be published in English, and, in 1991, received the prestigious ‘Cugnot Award of Distinction,’ bestowed by the Society of Automotive Historians
• "A classic example of a car I saw in a book and ended up buying would be my Tatra T87. I bought one almost sight-unseen on account of reading about Hans Ledwinka." Jay Leno, Octane
• "A book that restores one of Europe's most radical and influential designers to rightful prominence." The Independent
• "A timely reminder of an important part of Europe's technological and industrial history." Blueprint
• "The authors have woven together the complex technical story of a large-scale manufacturer and the personal one of a great designer of great distinction in an informative yet readable manner. The result is a book of outstanding merit." The Automobile
• "A remarkable story ... This book is long overdue. It is rich in detail and well-stocked with photographs and artwork." Classic & Sportscar
• "A nicely produced book with plenty of illustrations ... The book adds to our knowledge of European motoring history." Old Car
• "What the book does, above all else, is plug a hole in the history of automobile manufacture and a key designer whose achievements are at least the equal of Porsche, Daimler and Benz." VW Motoring
• "The two authors have profoundly researched their subject. The book represents many until now unpublished pictures and designs. Many details may be new even for Tatra connoisseurs. It is indeed entertaining, interesting and written in an easily comprehensible language." Markt Klassische Automobile und Motorrader (Germany)
• "The work, lively, but complete, is well documented and distinguishes itself for its excellent historiographical style which makes it a classic of its class." Ruoteclassiche (Italy)
Hans Ledwinka’s innovative Tatra cars were models of design excellence, and were highly influential in shaping modern car design concepts and the development of the Volkswagen. This book places Ledwinka in his well-deserved place amongst the great car designers.
This enlarged 2nd edition contains updated material and additional illustrations.
Tatra – The Legacy of Hans Ledwinka is the story of the Tatra company, which originated in the Central European country of Czechoslovakia. It is a tale of great innovation and avant-garde design in automobile engineering. It is also the story of one man – Hans Ledwinka – and his visionary concepts which have become highly influential, although often undervalued, contributions to the development of car technology.
Until now, Hans Ledwinka's talent has hardly been recognised; in retrospect, he can be judged equal to car designers such as Benz, Daimler and Porsche, whose endeavours have been fully recorded many times over. With his revolutionary Tatra cars Ledwinka consistently pushed back the frontiers of automobile construction, and it’s certain that without his inspiration, the Volkswagen in its air-cooled rear-engined form would perhaps never have been conceived. This book suggests that Ledwinka played a greater part in this development than has previously been appreciated.
The authors have covered the full history of the Tatra company, which is one of the oldest factories in continuous automobile manufacture, dating back to the 19th century. By doing this, they have placed both Ledwinka and the Czechoslovak Tatra company in their rightful place in the history of car design, and provided a fully comprehensive assessment of the influence of Tatra car designs and their inspired creator.
The text of this larger format 2nd edition has been fully revised and updated since the 1990 edition. This new edition also contains many additional illustrations. The book also has a new foreword, written by Norman Foster, the British architect, and proud owner of a Tatra T87, who pays tribute to the aesthetic qualities of this design classic and captures the fascination of both designers and motor historians with the development of Tatra.
Models Covered: All models: Nesselsdorfer, Tatra
Hans Ledwinka and Tatra cars were greatly influential in passenger and commercial car design and development.
No comparable book on Tatra and Hans Ledwinka exists in English.
Foreword by Erich Ledwinka, written specially for this book.
Full reproductions of very rare T77 and T87 brochures, in English and German, with all the details and illustrations are included, as are: rare photographs; chronology; sources cross-referenced in the text; technical information covering all models for passenger and commercial vehicles; and a full bibliography.