It started with a Skoda
In 1982, Joe discovered a Skoda Felicia convertible for sale not far from his Melbourne home. “It’s an economical, strong car that’s easy to repair,” he says. “A new Felicia cost a bit more than the top-model Holden. We’ve driven it to Adelaide and my wife uses it to do the shopping. It’s our freedom machine.”
After the Czech regime fell, Joe returned to visit relatives and he has since brought some air-cooled V8 1960s and ’70s Tatras to Australia. Two of these fast, comfortable cars – a 603 and a 613 model, built for transporting VIPs – were subsequently bought by Charlie’s Auto Museum at Arthurs Seat.
Then Joe heard about a rare 1952 Tatraplan 600 owned by a farmer near Ballarat, one of only 50 imported new into this country. He bought it and it’s also on display at Arthurs Seat.
“It was Tatra’s plan for the future. It’s got a flat-four, air-cooled engine, ‘suicide’ front doors giving very easy access and all-independent suspension,” he says.
“The Tatras and Skodas remind me of what I dreamed of having when I was a kid ... now the dream is real.”
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