Curbside Story: A Different Split Window

The time was late September, 1990. I was an indoor vendor at one of the country’s largest collector car flea markets, located in Carlisle, PA. I had been vending at that event since 1975. One of the owners of the event, known for his passion of all things Corvette, dropped by my spaces to say hi, and to let me know I was welcome to join him and a motley crew of other vendors for dinner.

A few weeks prior to this, a fairly rare car I had bought a few months earlier, finally arrived at my restoration shop. Knowing of his Corvette passion, I decided to play a little joke on him. I let it be known in our conversation that I had indeed finally bought a “split window!” Not only was the car a true split window, I mentioned it was factory equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes as well.

Knowing of my interest in unusual and rare European cars, he countered with “What? An old Volkswagen split window?” To which I replied, “Nah, it’s got the basic small block V8, but with factory dual carbs and 4-speed transmission.” Now I had his interest!

“Sounds like an interesting car, but I have to tell you no split window ever came from the factory with 4-wheel disc brakes!” I dug in a little deeper by proclaiming I have all the original factory info on the car, showing the 4-wheel disc brake system was an option for that year. “I’ll bet you a steak dinner at the Town Grill [the local bar & restaurant where the dinner was to be held] that I have a split window with the small block V8, 4-speed, dual carbs, and factory disc brakes!”

His reply was simple; “You’re on!” I asked him if he wanted to see photos of the car, and he replied “Of course!” So I pulled out my photos and handed him the stack. He flipped quickly thru the photos before saying “This isn’t a Corvette!”, to which I replied “Who ever said it was a Corvette?”

The car was my Tatra T2-603, with copies of the Girling 4-wheel disc brakes, as found on the Jaguar E-type cars. They were exact copies made by Ate in Czechoslovakia for Tatra. So exact that they use Girling rebuild kits and Lockheed-Girling brake pads.

That was one of the best tasting steak dinners I’d had in years!


Related reading:

CC Tatra 603: This Could Have Been The First New Oldsmobile, Cadillac or Studebaker  PN