The T97 was designed in 1936 as a smaller alternative to the large T87. Instead of a V8, it was powered by a 1.8-litre flat-four engine. With engine power of 29.4 kilowatts (40.0 PS; 39.4 bhp) the car could achieve top speed of 130 km/h. The design was also simplified, using just two headlights instead of three, a single-piece windscreen, and an overall smaller body.
Production of the car was canceled after the Nazis annexed Czechoslovakia in 1938, possibly to avoid comparison with the KdF-Wagen (future VW Beetle). At that time, 508 cars were built.
In 1946, production resumed, but the new communist government quickly dropped the T97 in favor of the cheaper to build Tatraplan