I Found This Beautiful, Bizarre Car In A German Design Museum — And Its Backstory Is Fascinating

Streamlined 05

I was in Munich for DLD, a conference, and I had a morning to kill.

So I joined a group tour of modern art museum Pinakothek der Moderne’s design wing.

There was all kinds of impressive stuff — but I immediately gravitated to a crazy-looking, beautiful car.

You can see it on the bottom left of this photo.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”here-it-is-just-look-at-it-1″
title=”Here it is. Just look at it.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a47eab8eab068c251ae”
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[slide
permalink=”it-looks-like-a-car-from-the-distant-pasts-lost-vision-of-the-distant-future-2″
title=”It looks like a car from the distant past’s lost vision of the distant future.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a476da8111222f61131″
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credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-placard-said-its-a-tatra-87-from-1937-3″
title=”The placard said it’s a Tatra 87 from 1937…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4869bedd106767dd50″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”designed-by-a-man-named-hans-ledwinka-4″
title=”…designed by a man named Hans Ledwinka.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a47ecad040c61c251ab”
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credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”our-guide-chief-curator-corinna-roesner-said-the-tatra-87-was-the-first-mass-produced-streamlined-car–meaning-it-was-designed-in-a-wind-tunnel-5″
title=”Our guide, chief curator Corinna Roesner, said the Tatra 87 was the first mass produced ‘streamlined’ car — meaning it was designed in a wind tunnel.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a46ecad04f65bc251ac”
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]
[slide
permalink=”but-thats-not-true-the-first-mass-produced-streamlined-car-was-this-one-the-tatra-77-6″
title=”But that’s not true. The first mass-produced streamlined car was this one, the Tatra 77.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a486bb3f7a444c251ab”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”and-hans-ledwig-didnt-design-the-87-or-77s-body-this-guy-erich-belacker-did-7″
title=”And Hans Ledwig didn’t design the 87 or 77’s body. This guy, Erich Übelacker, did.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a486da811671bf61137″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”and-actually-belacker-really-got-his-design-from-this-man-paul-jaray-8″
title=”And actually, Übelacker really got his design from this man, Paul Jaray”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a48ecad04935cc251b1″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”a-pioneer-of-streamline-design-jaray-made-his-name-designing-zeppelins-like-this-lz-127-9″
title=”A pioneer of streamline design, Jaray made his name designing zeppelins like this LZ 127″
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a48eab8eaea67c251ac”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”jaray-designed-the-very-first-streamlined-car-not-mass-produced-in-1922-the-ley-t6-10″
title=”Jaray designed the very first streamlined car (not mass-produced) in 1922, the Ley T6.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4969bedd0a6467dd4f”
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credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”these-are-jarays-sketches-11″
title=”These are Jaray’s sketches.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f53eb2eab8ea5d731afa3e”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”you-can-see-the-ley-t6-in-the-tatra-87-12″
title=”You can see the Ley T6 in the Tatra 87…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a496da811e623f61131″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”particularly-in-that-curving-swoop-of-its-back-13″
title=”…particularly in that curving swoop of its back.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a49eab8ea806bc251b5″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”i-love-the-cars-little-design-details-like-this-air-vent-behind-the-rear-windows-14″
title=”I love the car’s little design details, like this air vent behind the rear windows…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4a69bedd8d5e67dd53″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”and-these-slits-above-the-back-bumper-15″
title=”…and these slits above the back bumper.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4beab8ead867c251b1″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”heres-a-shot-of-the-interior-16″
title=”Here’s a shot of the interior.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4b69bedd3d6367dd4f”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-streamlined-looks-arent-just-for-show-by-the-way-17″
title=”The streamlined looks aren’t just for show, by the way.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a496bb3f7a640c251ae”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-tatra-87-was-fast-for-its-time-with-top-speeds-of-nearly-100mph-18″
title=”The Tatra 87 was fast for its time, with top speeds of nearly 100mph.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a496bb3f74940c251ad”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-engine-is-a-v8-making-85-horsepower-todays-v8s-make-400-horsepower-19″
title=”The engine is a V8, making 85 horsepower. (Today’s V8s make 400+ horsepower)”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4aecad042564c251aa”
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]
[slide
permalink=”the-tatra-got-amazing-fuel-efficiency-too-going-18-miles-per-gallon-versus-an-average-of-11-mpg-for-cars-in-its-class-20″
title=”The Tatra got amazing fuel efficiency too. Going 18 miles per gallon, versus an average of 11 mpg for cars in its class.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4aecad045a5bc251b0″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”loved-by-germans-tatra-was-actually-a-czechoslovakian-car-company-21″
title=”Loved by Germans, Tatra was actually a Czechoslovakian car company”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4a6da811791bf61133″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”ledwinka-may-not-have-come-up-with-the-tatra-87s-design-but-he-was-lead-engineer-so-he-deserves-some-credit-for-those-great-numbers-22″
title=”Ledwinka may not have come up with the Tatra 87’s design, but he was lead engineer. So he deserves some credit for those great numbers.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4b69beddcc6267dd4e”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-car-cost-about-25000-back-in-1937-today-it-costs-125000-23″
title=”The car cost about $US25,000 back in 1937. Today, it costs $US125,000.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4a6bb3f73740c251ac”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-tatra-87-has-lots-of-famous-admirers-including-jay-leno-and-john-steinbeck-24″
title=”The Tatra 87 has lots of famous admirers, including Jay Leno and John Steinbeck…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4aecad042c5cc251aa”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”and-hitler-25″
title=”…and Hitler.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4beab8ea996fc251ac”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”lore-has-it-that-hitler-rode-around-in-tatras-during-political-tours-to-czechoslovakia-in-the-1930s-26″
title=”Lore has it that Hitler rode around in Tatras during political tours to Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4b6da811081bf61133″
caption=””
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[slide
permalink=”its-said-that-after-one-tour-hitler-went-to-ferdinand-porsche-and-said-this-is-the-car-for-my-roads-this-is-hitler-opening-a-volkswagon-factory-27″
title=”It’s said that after one tour, Hitler went to Ferdinand Porsche and said: ‘This is the car for my roads.’ (This is Hitler opening a Volkswagon factory)”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4ceab8eaef6bc251ac”
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credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”porsche-took-the-hint-the-museum-had-a-volkswagen-and-a-porsche-to-show-they-are-influenced-by-the-tatra-28″
title=”Porsche took the hint. The museum had a Volkswagen and a Porsche to show they are influenced by the Tatra.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4cecad046961c251aa”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”you-can-see-it-right-29″
title=”You can see it, right?”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4cecad046961c251b0″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”i-look-at-the-curve-of-the-back-30″
title=”I look at the curve of the back.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4b6bb3f74b44c251aa”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”hans-ledwinka-certainly-noticed-he-sued-porsche-31″
title=”Hans Ledwinka certainly noticed. He sued Porsche.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a47ecad040c61c251ab”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”then-the-nazis-invaded-czechoslovakia-the-suit-was-dropped-32″
title=”Then the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. The suit was dropped.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4c6da811251cf61139″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”of-ledwinka-porsche-said-well-sometimes-i-looked-over-his-shoulder-and-sometimes-he-looked-over-mine-33″
title=”Of Ledwinka, Porsche said: ‘Well, sometimes I looked over his shoulder and sometimes he looked over mine.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f549b1ecad046b18bf8b82″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”jaray-a-jew-survived-world-war-ii-in-switzerland-in-his-career-he-designed-cars-for-chrysler-mercedes-benz-maybach-and-defunct-brands-like-adler-34″
title=”Jaray, a Jew, survived World War II in Switzerland. In his career, he designed cars for Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, and defunct brands like Adler.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a48ecad04935cc251b1″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”heres-one-last-look-at-the-tatra-87-beautiful-right-35″
title=”Here’s one last look at the Tatra 87. Beautiful, right?”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52f28a4d6bb3f74a44c251ae”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]