Wheeling Back in Time: Today in Automotive History
While we relish in the excitement of a new frontier in self-driving cars, it’s important to look back at the industry’s automotive history to appreciate just how far we’ve driven. Today, in 1967, the Tatra automobile engineer Hans Ledwinka passed away at the age of 89.
In the early 1900’s, the Austrian designer wanted to reinvent transportation. Imagining a mode beyond the horse-drawn carriage, Ledwinka thought of how a hollow tube might architecturally benefit transportation. Ledwinka took over engineering for Nesseldorf Wagenbau after Hugo von Roslerstamm, the company’s founder, decided that they should enter racing. Ledwinka pioneered the Type A racers and began a wide-scale production of the Type S.
“The Tatra 11 and 12 automobiles featured a horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engine mounted in front of the car’s front overhang, yet driving the rear wheels. The rear wheels were suspended independently using a swing axle rear suspension system,” according to Curbside Classic.
In 1934, Tatra became popularly known because of the revolutionary Tatra 77, the world’s first automobile that was aerodynamically styled and powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. Although ill-equipped for mass production, you may have seen the historical vehicle make an appearance in movies like, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and others.
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