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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Reviving History: The Iconic Three-Wheeled Rocket from Brno

Unique ONES - While the resurgence of the automotive industry post-World War II is often associated with Western Europe, there's a lesser-known yet significant narrative unfolding in Eastern Europe. In the shadows of the more prominent developments, innovative minds were at work, pushing the boundaries of automotive design and engineering. One such story emerges from Brno, a city nestled in the south of the Czech Republic, where engineer František Netík crafted a unique three-wheeled vehicle in 1957.
1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' on display at the Oldtimer Festival vehicle exhibition in Slavkov back in 2005. (Picture from: WebCarStory)
Netík, employed as a technician at Brno Královopolská Engineering Works, dedicated his spare time and expertise to bring his vision to life. The project took nearly four years, primarily developed in his private garage—a testament to his passion and dedication to automotive innovation.
Front view of 1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' three-wheeled vehicle(Picture from: CCK-Brno)
Dubbed the Raketa, which translates to 'Rocket' in English, this three-wheeled marvel was a fusion of futuristic design elements and practical engineering. Inspired by the space-age trends of the 1950s, Netík's creation exuded a sense of novelty and adventure. Although some refer to it as the Netik 600, paying homage to its creator, the name Raketa resonates with its pioneering spirit.

The Raketa's physical presence was strikingly unique, measuring approximately 4.5 meters in length and boasting a weight of around 800 kg. Its broad front section tapered elegantly towards the rear, presenting a blend of aerodynamic aesthetics and functional space utilization.
Left side view of 1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' three-wheeled vehicle. (Picture from: CCK-Brno)
What truly sets the Raketa apart is its surprising capacity to accommodate up to five passengers within its cabin. With a seating arrangement of three in the front—centered around the driver—and two in the rear, the vehicle offered a novel experience. The interior was adorned with plush green-bottle colored velvet, adding a touch of luxury to its avant-garde design. 
The steering wheel of 1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' three-wheeled vehicle positioned in the center. (Picture from: WebCarStory)
Constructed entirely from metal, with stainless steel accents adorning various parts, the Raketa was initially painted in green and white, later transitioning to the iconic red and white hues reminiscent of the Brno tram.
Rear view of 1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' three-wheeled vehicle resembles a weird bathtub. (Picture from: WebCarStory)
Underneath its sleek exterior lay a robust 619cc Java Minor II 3-stroke engine, capable of propelling the Raketa to a top speed of 90kph, coupled with a transmission system consists of 4 forward and 1 reverse gear with a strange and large bakelite ball at the end of the lever, and complemented by a rear-wheel steering system for enhanced maneuverability. 

1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' while 
driven by Frantiišek Netík on
 the Brno city streets. (Picture 
from: CCK-Brno)
Despite its innovative design and functional prowess, skepticism loomed regarding its stability, especially at higher speeds. However, Netík's creation defied expectations, proving its mettle as a practical and reliable mode of transportation.
Upon completion, the Raketa ventured onto the streets of Brno, serving as Netík's daily rides and traversing countless kilometers. Tragically, with Netík's passing in 1974, the fate of the Raketa took a somber turn. It fell into obscurity, facing neglect and gradual dismantling.

Fortunately, the Raketa's legacy was not lost to time. Rediscovered years later, it made a triumphant return to public admiration at the 2005 Oldtimer Festival, showcased in its original, barn-find condition. Today, as a rare relic of automotive history, the Raketa stands as a testament to the ingenuity and passion of ordinary individuals shaping extraordinary innovations.
1957 Netik 600 'Raketa' three-wheeled vehicle used a 619cc Java Minor II 3-stroke 20-hp engine. (Picture from: CCK-Brno)
In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive design, the Raketa serves as a reminder of the untold stories and hidden gems awaiting discovery, bridging the gap between past aspirations and future possibilities. May its journey inspire a new generation of dreamers and innovators, honoring the spirit of relentless pursuit and daring creativity. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | MRSCHARROO | WEBCARSTORYCCK-BRNO.COM]
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