The classic cars from former Czechoslovakia used to be just curiosities, but lately, they start to gain real value among collectors. Why should you be interested in them?
Most classic car enthusiasts start with interest in some of the famous brands from Germany, Britain or Italy, with love for sleek and elegant sportscars they know from movies and magazines. And typical prospective investor in classic cars looks that way, too.
However, there are other, less well-known choices. Like classic cars from former Czechoslovakia. Have you ever thought of buying an old ŠKODA or Tatra as an investment? No? Well, maybe you should and we will explain why.
The Appeal of Unique EngineeringBy the end of the 1960s, most car manufacturers decided that the engine should be in front of the car, and during the next decade or so, majority of them moved to front-wheel drive as well. ŠKODA kept its engine in the back until 1990.
It may have seemed a bit backwards at the time, but it also made these cars unique and very interesting to drive. With rear engine, rear drive layout, they were similar to sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s – most of them, to first Porsches. And with cars like 130 RS and 130 LR being successful both in rallying and circuit racing, ŠKODAs even have sporting pedigree.
Add attractive looks of coupe versions like 1000MBX, 110R and RAPID into the mix and you’ll get interesting alternative to “mainstream” classic sports cars. And while today, classic ŠKODAs can still be available for affordable prices, they are getting expensive quite rapidly and the trend doesn’t seem to stop.
It’s similar story with classic Tatras. However, being much more rare and boasting even more outlandish engineering, with their air-cooled V8 engines in the back and Batmobile-like design. The difference, though, is that Tatras are alreadyexpensive, just getting more pricey – a nice example of Tatra 603 or first-generation 613 is about as expensive as an air-cooled Porsche 911, and the originals, like T77 or T87, are starting to run into hundreds of thousand euros.
Popularity in Homeland
There is, of course, more to these cars’ soaring value. Besides being interesting from a technical standpoint, these car, ubiquitous in Czechoslovakia for decades, are popular among local collector.
As we explained in our last article about investment classic cars, a large part of their value is in memories. People tend to collect car they remember from their youth – either cars their parents drove, or maybe cars they always wanted and couldn’t get.
That the reason for rare versions of ŠKODAs and almost all Tatras to get so valuable lately. If you grew up in Czechoslovakia of 1970s or 1980s, chances are that at some point, you longed to own a 110R or a RAPID. And now, when your older and affluent enough to buy one, you are willing to pay a hefty price for one – often comparable to that of a new ŠKODA.
And race or rally cars, such as 130 LR or 130 RS, or even their replicas, are even hotter in the market. Their rarity, the memories of them achieving successes on international rally circuit even as underdogs, their interesting looks – all of this made them a sought after item for collector.
What’s Going to Be Next?
While rear-engined ŠKODAs are already on their way up in values, and we can be quite sure that any passenger car from Tatra ever built will become expensive, we can only guess what will be next. Is it possible that for the generation that grew up in the 1990s, a first generation OCTAVIA RS will once become a legend and a collectors item? Or the first FABIA RS, one of the few diesel hot hatchbacks ever built?
With these cars continuing popularity, especially in their country of origin, we can guess so. But only time will tell which ŠKODAs will become darlings of collectors and enthusiasts.