Following on from my previous post of Bratislava, (see here), a 4-hour train ride deposited us in lovely Prague. After a few days sightseeing and getting to know the place I discovered that there was also a transport museum. It is called the National Technical Museum, and is well worth a visit if you happen to get to Prague (Post Covid-19 of course). After you have walked through the various floors and exhibits you come out onto a landing to this view. As you can see there is a lot more than just automobiles; they have packed quite a collection in to this area, and most of the exhibits are in some way of Czech origin.
As we are on CC our main interest is with motor vehicles so we may as well start with the most famous Czech brand namely Tatra. Take a look at Paul’s fabulous Tatra post here if you need to brush up on this fascinating marque.
Now to just a few of the exhibits, may as well start with the Tatras.
This Tatra T-87 is the vehicle in which the Czech adventurers Jiri Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund travelled around Africa and South America from 1947 to 1950, they wrote several books about their journeys, made numerous films and sent back over 700 reports which when broadcast were the most listened to radio programs in Czechoslovakia at the time. Further viewing here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHCWtXkPEJg
Who needs a four wheel drive when you have a Tatra…Here is the same T-87 somewhere in the Congo.
This video translates as Quality Evaluation, A Tatra film with more footage of the Africa trip, also great vision of engine and gearbox teardown and inspection https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvShbf0OssYA
Also on display is this fabulous Tatra T-77A.
Aero Vodochody was and still is a large aviation company formed in 1919. Between 1929 and 1951 it produced 2 stroke vehicles under the Aero brand.
This is a neat little Aero 30 from 1934 up to 1947. This vehicle has a similar mechanical layout to a Citroen Traction Avant but instead has a water cooled 500cc 2 cylinder two-stroke engine.
This is its smaller, sportier brother, the Aero 50 from 1936, same layout but with a 1,000c 4cyl two-stroke. I think this is a fabulous looking little sports car, way ahead of what MG were producing at the same time.
Another defunct vehicle manufacturer was Zbrojovka, a Czech small arms producer based in Brno which also branched out into motor vehicle production during the inter-war years. This Z-5 Express of 1936 has a similar mechanical layout to the Aero but with a 1.5 liter 4-cylinder two-stroke.
A little known fact is that this same company designed a light machine gun in the thirties that was subsequently manufactured under license by the British as the BREN gun, the name of which is derived from the city BRNO and ENFIELD the site of the British Small Arms factory.
Praga is another large Czech company with a rich heritage which is still in business building aircraft.
This is a Praga Alfa cabrio from 1937-1942, a more conventional vehicle with a 2,500cc water-cooled six.
Another Hans Ledwinka design, again with his signature backbone chassis and swing axles. A 1935 Tatra 80 with a 5,900cc water-cooled V-12 no less. This particular vehicle was the official state vehicle of Czechoslovak president T.G Masaryk.