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Thursday, January 21, 2021

The lost Czechoslovakia' classic Ferrari-like sports car

After the end of the 2nd World War, it didn't immediately end all conflicts between existing countries. Its condition slowly and surely then ushered into the Cold War era. Well, at that time what happened was not a war in the real sense but an ideological competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in fighting for the influence of countries in Europe, resulting in two major groups of supporting countries, namely the Western bloc and the Eastern bloc.
The Tatra JK 2500 in original condition as a two-seater coupe designed and built by Július Kubinský in between 1951 to 1955. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
Not only that, the Cold War era which began since the 1950s also affected all countries in the world, especially in Europe. At that time, the Eastern bloc countries had governments affiliated with communism because they were strongly influenced by the Soviet Union. This in turn caused all aspects of life in these countries to be tightly controlled by the communist government, including the machinery and motor vehicle manufacturing sectors.

It is not surprising that the Czechoslovakia's communist government (a country located in eastern Europe which is included in the Eastern bloc) considers everything of the Western bloc's neighboring countries including sports cars or grand tourers is something prohibited because it is incompatible with the communist government. Not only that, many domestic similar motorized vehicles developments have always failed and abondoned due to state intervention.
The Tatra JK 2500 chassis with front axle taken from the German's KdF Type 82 "Kubelwagen" military vehicle. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
You can be seen on the 1969 Škoda 110 Super Sport or even older one such the Škoda 1100 OHC of the 1950s, all of them are those country's beautiful concept car examples wasn't ever produced because didn't have permission from the communist government. The same thing happened to a beautiful concept car called the Tatra JK 2500 which is designed and made by Július Kubinský, an automotive designer who worked at the Karosa bus factory in Brno in the first half of the 1950s.
At first, the Tatra JK 2500 uses a six-cylinder DOHC Alfa Romeo sat behind the oil and water coolers. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
The Tatra JK 2500 designer is known to have years of experience working on other cars, including those built on the basis of the KdF Type 82 "Kubelwagen" military vehicle which was widely used in the country after Nazy lost in the 2nd World War, and he has also designed and built the Mono JKs racing cars with Alfa Romeo and BMW engines for a few the country's bonafide Grand Prix racer in Brno shortly after the 2nd World War ended.
The Tatra JK 2500's rear axle of the De Dion type with torsion bars to ensure the the car's two rear wheels have the same deflection at all times. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
And for Július Kubinský, the Tatra JK 2500 concept car was the ninth car of he had ever built. He began to outline plans for a steel tube frame chassis based around the Tatra T603A V8 engine in 1951. The chassis construction and entire parts of the car was done by hand by Kubinský in his spare time. In order to speed up the development process of the car, he took directly many parts from the German KdF Type 82 military vehicle such as the front torsion beam axle and the steering linkage.
The Tatra JK 2500's body frame was made of wood and steel tubes and done by the local coachbuilder Jan Heger. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
At the rear, there is a De Dion axle, which has a differential that is firmly attached to the chassis of the car, with two swing axes called the De Dion tube. In short, this is meant to ensure the the car's two rear wheels have the same deflection at all times, somekind of independent suspension in today vehicles. If one wheel experiences unevenness, the other wheel will also tilt, but remain in contact with the asphalt. And if both wheels experience unevenness at the same time, for example the car passing through the bumpy road, it is this tube that ensures that they have the best contact with the road.
A typical feature of the original Tatra JK 2500 Coupe was the small rear window. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
Because at the beginning of its development, the JK 2500 was designed to carry a powerfull V8 engine under the hood. However, at that time the engine was very difficult to find, so for the time being, a 2.5-liter inline Alfa Romeo six-cylinder engine was installed, which could provide up to 90 horsepower combined with the Alfa Romeo's four-speed manual gearbox. 
Július Kubinský posed along with his supersport Tatra JK 2500 coupe in 1958 at Kopřivnice in 1958. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
And after trying hard, finally he found an air-cooled V8 engine with a capacity of 2.5 liters which was taken directly from the Tatra 603, then those engine installed under the hood of the JK 2500, but still using the Alfa Romeo's manual gearbox after some parts had to be modified and intermediate parts had to be made to fasten the Italian gearbox, but they fit in the end. Even large radiators can be thrown away because that the new engine is an air-cooled one and so a spare wheel can be placed there instead.
 
Besides that there's the hot air features which is needed especially in winter to heat up the car' cabin, is came out behind the windshield and supplied directly by the engine. However, the exhaust was considered insufficient, and then the chrome vents were placed behind the front wheels to help remove hot air from the engine. 
The Tatra JK 2500 supersport coupe uses an air-cooled V8 engine with a fan from Praga V3S. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
And due to the engine is the reason why this car was later named Tatra even though the car's actually did not come from those Czechoslovak car factory and was misunderstood sometimes. The car name then was followed by the initials of the maker, ie JK and the figure 2500 in turn refers to the car's engine capacity in cubic centimeters.
A spare wheel fit in front of the air-cooled eight-cylinder of the Tatra JK 2500 supersport coupe. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
Meanwhile there are two fuel tanks with a capacity of 30 liters each are mounted onto the chassis and placed behind each of the rear wheels. The car's rear overhang isn't exactly small, with the wheelbase of 2,300 mm and a length of 4,050 mm. In comparison, Favorites have a wheelbase of more than 2.4 meters. And what about its weight? The JK 2500 has an empty weighs of 1,160 kg and the weight distribution ratio is 51:49 on the front and rear axles.

By the completion of the lower part of the Tatra JK 2500 chassis, then the beautiful body of the car was done by Július Kubinský and assisted by local coachbuilder Jan Heger by creating the wooden superstructure on which the handcrafted body panels would be placed. As for the legs, initially using the 16-inches in diameter classic wire wheels and coupled with the drum brakes taken from the Lancia Aurelia B20.
The Tatra JK 2500 supersport coupe with a compact-sized V8 engine and the Tatra inscription in 1958. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
The works on the car construction was entirely completed in 1955, and it was appeared in the January 1956 issue of the World of Engines magazine and the article was entitled with the evocative title "We Also Do It". Unfortunately, its appearance on the magazine was not followed by a physical exhibition until two years later.

At the invitation of Tatra's management, Július Kubinský and his JK 2500 car were came and visited the company's headquarters in Kopřivnice in 1958. The public response was very positive, prompting Tatra officials to propose an initial production of 5 samples. In short, the car was in Kopřivnice for two weeks for a performance upgrading process, and as result, the JK 2500 engine was able to spew a full 140 horsepower, like the Tatra 603 on which also uses the same engine under the hood.
Tatra JK 2500 after used the upgraded eight-cylinder by Tatra, new fifteen-inch alloy wheels were installed and the air vents were added to the front fenders in 1958. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/39ukpHf)
At that time, new fifteen-inch alloy wheels were installed in the car, with a row of holes that functioned to channel cooling air to the drum brakes while driving. The new wheels have a smaller diameter than the original, but are said to be more effective. And in the road tests done by the Tatra's test drivers, this car was able to pace to a top speed of 200 kph, likely making it the fastest car in the country in the time.

Despite the positive test results, the car production never been done. Allegedly, internal pressure within Tatra and the heavy hands of the communist government were one of the main factors behind the Tatra JK 2500 project's abandonment, as a flashy sports car clashed heavily with the sober image they wanted to exude.
The Tatra JK 2500 supersport coupe with a V8 engine and was able to pace to a top speed of 200 kph, likely making it the fastest car in the country in the time. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3oKTRI9)
Disappointed, Július Kubinský back home to Brno and worked at the Karosa bus factory. He still owns and drives the Tatra JK 2500 Coupe for approximately 13 years under normal operation, and in 1971 Kubinský sold the car. After that the car immediately seemed to disappear and until today no one knows to whom he sold it.
Unfortunately, the Czechoslovakia best car has ever seen, and the result of 4 years of hard work seems to have dissipated into smoke and disappeared without a trace. Since its creator has long since passed away, one can only hope that the beautiful Tatra JK 2500 will soon be found hiding smewhere in a remote forgotten warehouse, and eagerly awaiting a careful restoration to its former glory.

That's it, and if the article above is still considered inadequate or inaccurate, or if you have additional information related to the lost east bloc' classic Ferrari-like sports car called 1955 Tatra JK 2500, please don't hesitate to let us know via the comments column below this article. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | AUTOFORUM | AUTOMOBILEREVUE | DRIVETRIBE | WIKIPEDIA ]
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