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.
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.
The Tatra got amazing fuel efficiency too. Going 18 miles per gallon, versus an average of 11 mpg for cars in its class.
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.
Lore has it that Hitler rode around in Tatras during political tours to Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.
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)
Porsche took the hint. The museum had a Volkswagen and a Porsche to show they are influenced by the Tatra.
Of Ledwinka, Porsche said: 'Well, sometimes I looked over his shoulder and sometimes he looked over mine.'
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.
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