Last April the wife and I did our regular Euro trip from Oz. And as is our wont, we don’t actually plan or have an itinerary; we just wing it, letting the fabulous Euro rail system whisk us around.
We were working our way from Holland with a loose plan to eventually get to Berlin, so the route went to Cologne (we love the cathedrals), then the Bavarian mountains, stopping wherever we could get good Airbnb accommodation. Next loose plan was a couple of days in Vienna, but were not able to get a place in our budget range. Next good one we could find was in Bratislava, Slovakia, just another hour or so on from Vienna.
Well Bratislava turned out to be fantastic.
Some have dubbed it “Partyslava” but that is not our scene. Bratislava Castle, perched on a hill next to the Danube, along with the Old City is very picturesque. After a couple of days exploring the sights the wife had organized through the language barrier to have her hair done locally, and as all you guys would know that can be a fairly long process. So I had a few hours to myself. I had previously worked out that there was a transport museum in town. It is tucked away in some old railway workshop buildings adjacent to the current Bratislava Hlavna Stanica railway station, a short bus ride away from our accommodation.
Well, what a wonderful little find, only cost a few Euros entry, a very quaint little place brimming mostly with Czech & Iron Curtain era cars & motor cycles.
We had previously visited the famous Louwman museum in the Netherlands, which was magnificent but still managed to leave me a little cold as the exhibits were all a little bit too perfect, if you get my drift. This little museum I enjoyed more as it is obviously run on a shoestring by enthusiasts.
There are quite a few models of the Tatra T12 there, very interesting mechanically. Here you can see the cylinder head of the flat twin cylinder engine. Not so obvious is the backbone tube chassis and swing axle rear suspension.
Tatra T57 Sport. Similar design to the T12 but this time with a 4cyl flat four.
Now how do you suppose this Buick model 31 (1913) got here? Appeared to be in original unrestored condition.
This one is the Tatra T603 MB, basically a people mover body on a T603 Floorpan but with the air-cooled V-8 driving the front wheels. As far as I can work out they were not put in to volume production, and this is the only remaining one of its type.
Another prototype, the Skoda 743 Locusta BAZ. In the early 80’s this vehicle was developed from the rear engine Skoda 743, i.e. Rapid, but redesigned for a front engine transverse powertrain from the Zastava 101, which itself was based on the Fiat 128. The plans were for it to be built in Bratislava which never eventuated. This is the sole remaining example.
Another highlight is the wall posters all over, showing quite a few experimental & prototype Skodas & Tatras.
This is a real T603; it appeared to be in original “well used” condition.
Skodas, Octavia & Estelle. Unfortunately all of the vehicles’ signage is in Czech.
First gen GAZ Volga, from around 1956.
Praga was a brand I had not heard of previously. Further research reveals it was a huge company, producing cars, trucks, motorcycles, aeroplanes, military equipment etc. The Praga Golden was a luxury vehicle only produced between 1934 & 1935, so there cannot be many left.
The Praga Piccolo was made during the early 30’s.
Not sure how these got here; I did not think the US Army got this far east? Perhaps some of the war historians among you can shed some light on it. The poster behind appears to show US Army personnel.
And outside is the largest Skoda of them all.