Wow Wow Wow! The limitation of these cars is like the Castagna Alfa, they were re-bodied conventional cars with frames, front engines and RWD. This would later go down in history as the “Aero Wars” of 1969 and 1970. It’s 4.8 meters long and has loads of passenger room and a huge trunk. Excitedly looking forwards to further (expanded) episodes. Hungarian-born Paul Jaray used his experience working in the aeronautical field, especially designing Zeppelins, to develop a specific formula for automotive aerodynamic design principles that lead to a patent, applied for in 1922 and issued in 1927. A very advanced undertaking , straight out of a Jules Verne novel. Awesome, enlightening stuff. What If The Volkswagen Beetle Had A Front Engine. Built on the chassis of the rear-engine Mercedes 170H, it was substantially faster as well as 20% to 40% more fuel efficient than its donor car. That was too much of  a break for the symbolism still engendered in the remnants of the classic car prow. However, it was not like that when it first came into being. But still a stunning design. CC: Thanks for the compliment, but no need to link back to the old series, since I have expanded it and updated it for CC. As far as I can tell, there is no link to Article 3 from Article 2. There were 3 or 4 Tatras at the annual Rockville show held outside DC in October, in the 1993 show. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Very, very interesting Mr. P. Niedermeyer. Jaray’s patent was very influential, and his designs eventually became more mainstream. P.S. The year was 1899. But the German Wikipedia says (in Google translation) “The aerodynamic design, however, the impaired driving safety of the car and made ​​it strong Schlör susceptible to crosswinds.”. The La Jamais Contente (The Never Satisfied) was the first automobile to break the 100kmh (62 mph) record, in 1899. That combination of light weight and outstanding aerodynamics would make a perfect commuter car. It represents a state of aerodynamic efficiency in league with the most aerodynamic prototypes today, such as the Aptera. Re: the Dymaxion car: I remember Bucky Fuller telling me that, on one test drive, when a cop hollered at him to get that thing off the road, he opened the window, put his hand on the cop’s head, and steered a circle around him before driving away. Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with the study of the motion of air. For example, a flat plate held at right angles to the airflow has a Cd of 1.25, whereas the most efficient production car shapes at the moment have a Cd of about 0.28. The cars were then given narrower designs again, so the developers began to turn their attentions to small aerodynamic details. Required fields are marked *. A SHORT HISTORY OF FLIGHT The theory of aerodynamics is the culmination of the works of many individuals. Multhopp designed the P.183 and is famous for his T-tail designs. Thank you. One of the many reasons I visit this site are the entertaining and informative historical posts. Bring a Trailer just highlighted a Tatra. One of the most influential and lasting designers of the whole era was Austrian Hans Ledwinka. 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Also, don’t forget the Benz Tropfenwagen from 1922. Aerodynamics have become one of the cornerstones of several sports today. The breakthrough aerodynamic passenger car was the German Rumpler “Tropfenwagen” (teardrop car) of 1921. Needless to say the influence was profound, and gave us some of the most remarkable cars of the late classic era. Very nice classic car, if you have any very early steering for 1938-1942 Kdfvw My youngest daughter spent time as a nanny in the Czech republic. Its main goals are reducing drag and wind noise, minimizing noise emission, and preventing undesired lift forces and other causes of aerodynamic instability at high speeds. In their quest for dominance in the late 1960s, Ford and Chrysler started a head to head competition to design the ultimate NASCAR vehicle. The same approach is followed in India, even today. I think I have spotted the remains of an Airflow in a field outside of Dallas; need to study it closer; and if correct, take pictures of it. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v724/NeilBlanchard/Schlor-FrontView.jpg One of the regulars is a guy who is a native of the town where Tatras were made. That air presented the greatest obstacle to automotive speed and economy was understood at least intuitively, if not fully scientifically since before dawn of the automobile. The pictorial of the restoration started with a rusty pile of old car parts. This Volkswagen prototype from 1934 (above) shows a very strong resemblance to the Tatra v570 indeed, with the benefit of some further refinement. An introductory approach to define the principles of aerodynamics, which guide the technology of cars. I too have known about the Airflow for years; but this is the first one I have seen in person. The tail on the Tatra T87 (first pic) resembles the tail cone on the test space shuttle Enterprise: http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/spacecraft/shuttle/enterprise-02.jpg. I can’t get enough of these kids of articles right here. It looks very much like a Model A. Lou found it and rescued the car from being humus. This fairly radical design became tamed-down for the production 1936 front-engined Lincoln Zephyr. Unfortunately, the Benz Tropfenwagen was not an instant success and when Daimler and Benz started to cooperate (and later merged), Mercedes got in charge of all the racing efforts, effectively scrapping all Benz & Cie designs, so the Benz Tropfenwagen never got the attention and further development it deserved. We’ve finally arrived at the place where a highly aerodynamic car like the Prius is mainstream. This Volkswagen prototype from 1934 (above) shows a very strong resemblance to the cribbed Tatra v570, with the benefit of some further refinement. Meant this to be a reply to Dan above, who asks, “So why are modern streamlined cars so ugly if streamlined cars from the 1930s are so handsome?”. The evolution of aerodynamics for LSR cars was rapid, as this Stanley Steamer Rocket of 1906 evidently shows. The commentators there were, well, eager to lump everything into Libs vs Dems vs Reps vs younameit; that put me off. Added basic lip sync, eye movement and animated black board drawings. Do aerodynamics engineers now have more influence on the development of electric cars? He bought the local doctor’s ’33 Tatra roadster. Progress is not always linear. Progress is not always linear. Like all the first batch of LSR holders, it was an EV. At the time anyway, the lowest cd was an experimental mercedes that was designed after a fish. This, combined with a wider body, dramatically improved interior space and accommodations. That was too much of  a break for the symbolism still engendered in the remnants of the classic car prow. It’s important to remember that the Cd is a coefficient, and denotes the relative aerodynamic slipperiness of a body, regardless of its overall size. That 1939 Schlörwagen looks modern! To demonstrate just how far the aerodynamic envelope was pushed in this golden decade of streamlining, this 1939 Schlörwagen prototype was tested originally at Cd .186, and a model of it was retested by VW in the seventies with a Cd of .15. air flow theory. But I think it’s strikingly beautiful, in some sort of Scandinavian art deco way. The first known attempt at streamlining a passenger car is this Alfa Romeo from 1914, built by the coach builder Castagna for the Italian Count Ricotti. 3 Aerodynamics History. Peugeot was working on a V8 at the time, and an 802 streamliner was rumored to use this shape for the 1940 Paris automobile salon. Here are a couple good examples of aerodynamic cars: the 1989 Chevrolet Corsica hatchback and the 1999 Ford Taurus sedan. http://blog.goo-net.com/chez2007/img/163/inline_15.jpg. For the Tatra fans a link to a (German) website with interesting pics: http://www.zuckerfabrik24.de/autos/tatraplan_1.htm. Another lesser-know variation of the popular Ford V8 engined aerodynamic vehicles was this Dubonnet Ford of 1936, whose very slippery body allowed it to reach 108 mph. 2017 BMW 5 Series EfficientDynamics Edition – 0.22 Cd. [Continue to Part 2]. Paul, you’re one of my top favorite car guys. The La Jamais Contente (The Never Satisfied) was the first automobile to break the 100kmh (62 mph) record, in 1899. So many died at its hands, that supposedly Hitler forbade his best men to drive them. Fascinating article. Exciting and beautiful. Thank you Paul. Wind tunnels were extensively used in aircraft design but car designers were slow to notice that aerodynamics effect car’s performance. This reduced aero drag but placed the CP (center of pressure) far forward and the CG (center of gravity) far aft. Nevertheless, the benefits and beauty that resulted, like this Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow (above), or Bugatti Atlantique coupe (below) are undeniable, but beyond our scope here. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I wish I had this article available when I was teaching that. To put the nascent field of automotive aerodynamics in perspective, the typical two-box car of the twenties was more aerodynamic going backwards than forwards, as this ass-backwards car showed. Let’s jump back to Czechoslovakia and the fertile Tatra design studios. The Russians took the Schlörwagen as war booty and conducted tests as a propeller driven vehicle. And already in 1865, Samual Calthorpe patented an “air-resisting train”, looking remarkably advanced given the times. I admire Baruth’s style and POV (anti-journosaur), though not his choice of car brand (Audi, Porsche), or colour (s-lime green, anyone?). That brings back memories of Bob Lutz stating that the Volt concept would have had better aerodynamics if they put it in the wind tunnel backwards. Eventually, all cars would be variations of tear-drops. The KdF was designed to have a top (and cruising) speed of exactly 100 kmh (62 mph), and experiments showed that about 20hp would be adequate for that, with advanced streamlining. You’re very welcome! It seems that most of the early designers of aerodynamic cars understood this. So many died at its hands, that allegedly Hitler forbade his best men to drive them. F1 car racing has astounding number of followers in all parts of the world. It was in 1968 that man first orbited the moon in the Apollo 8 spacecraft and it was also 1968 that saw the first wings fastened onto Formula One cars. Since seeing that backwards DeSoto I’d been wondering whether to ask Paul to run his Auto-Aero-history piece here. Aerodynamics has become a key to success in the sport and teams spend millions of dollars on research and development in the field each year for improving performance. I love the “Tropfenwagen”. Charts and Analysis: Big Three Full Size Car Market Share, 1955-1984 – Did Quality Sink Chrysler After 1957? That earned it the nick name of “the Czech secret weapon”. Dreamers, engineers, racers and entrepreneurs were lured by the potential for the profound gains aerodynamics offered. I know wings and radial engines clutter things up but still…. The latter is on my bucket list to this day, and may have about as much chance of happening as the red stag hunting trip in the Scottish highlands. The Schlörwagen is a great example of this problem; its instability was the primary reason for its lack of success. Presumably in the 20s they were interested in aero because the engines of the time tended to be a bit short on power. Enjoyed the English Burney ad saying: “slight wear on the tires”. . With a mid engine and swing axles at the rear, not only was it the direct ancestor of the legendary Auto-Union racing cars of the thirties, but of all mid-engined racing cars to this day. But the first freeways were being built in Germany, and improvements in US roads, including the first parkways and freeways were taking place. Paul, Great read! If I could purchase one car to show in a classic car meet, it would be the Tatra 77. A fascinating read – it’s a coffe table-sized book with lots of text – not only nice to look at but nice to actually read, too. Your email address will not be published. You really did some digging on early aerodynamics here! As engine development began producing diminishing returns, designers turned their focus on aerodynamics. As such, the Airflow predicted the same basic body packaging configuration as American cars from the late forties and early fifties, even if they weren’t so aerodynamically designed. They are becoming quite rare. Early Times Racers, particularly those chasing the coveted Land Speed Record (LSR), were generally the first to employ aerodynamic aids. An even less pragmatic but highly advanced American vehicle was the Stout Scarab (above). A stunning achievement, the long-tailed T77 was powered by a rear air-cooled V8, and began a long series of Tatras until the 1980s along similar lines. Thank you for the excellent history lesson. Automotive aerodynamics is the study of the aerodynamics of road vehicles. I appears to have  Isetta-type front doors for the front seat passengers. The luftwaffe staff dying of oversteer on the autobahns–Ludwinka’s revenge! The evolution of aerodynamics for LSR cars was rapid, as this Stanley Steamer Rocket of 1906 evidently shows. The ideal streamlined form was described in 1804 by Sir George Cayley as “a very oblong spheroid”. In common with many of the cars featured … It’s important to remember that Cd is a coefficient, and denotes the relative aerodynamic slipperiness of a body, regardless of its overall size. During the fifties and sixties, with the exception of Citroen, Saab and a few other minor adherents, aerodynamics was largely left in the wake of increasingly ornate and boxy cars. I too look forward to the rest of the story. Yes, and quite a few others. Where To Download A History Of Aerodynamics By Anderson aerodynamicists of our time. And the increase in speed was even more dramatic: the Rocket broke the 200km barrier, with a run of 205.44 kmh (127.66 mph). car aerodynamics make the car more safer and make it more fuel efficient. http://members.chello.nl/j.baartse/carpics/venusbilo.jpg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_Venus_Bilo. To demonstrate just how rapidly and far the aerodynamic envelope was pushed in this golden decade of streamlining, this 1939 Schlörwagen prototype was tested originally at Cd 0.186, and a model of it was retested by VW in the seventies yielding a Cd of 0.15. Unlike the impractical and heavy Castagna Alfa, the Rumpler was as dramatically different (and influential) for its completely integrated and original design and engineering. Great article, but it should have included another few noteworthy production cars. I’ve known about the Schlörwagen for a few years now (the folks at EcoModder.com are big fans of aerodynamics!) Thank you for bringing the Schlorwagen to my attention. The lowest Cd production cars at 0.25 include the current Prius, which is a great looking car to my eyes, and this special aero version of the E-Class Mercedes. http://www.maybach.de/images/263_2.jpg Plenty of microcars, check. An ironic ending for Rumpler, but his ideas spawned imitations and extensions world-wide, and opened the whole field. Cd of this near production car was 0.186. The championship is today held in accordance with well-formulated rules and regulations, and incredible efficiency. Paul, This is a wonderful series. Either of these values put the “pillbug” at or near the top of the list of the most aerodynamic concept cars ever built, like the Ford Probe V of 1985, with a Cd of  0.137 (Full list here). Williams F1 - History of Aerodynamics. The Tropfenwagen was tested in VW’s wind tunnel (below) in 1979, and achieved a Coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.28; a degree of slipperiness that VW’s Passat wouldn’t equal until 1988. It represents a state of aerodynamic efficiency in league with the most aerodynamic cars being considered today, such as the Aptera. Look foward to the new series. Tatra became synonymous with the advanced streamliner of the pre-war era, enabling fast travel (100 mph) on the fledgling Autobahns of the Third Reich. The smoothest, cleanest ovoid profiles can create excessive lift at high speeds (envision an airborne early-model Audi TT here). Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. Putting it into practice was quite another story. It is used in most of the cars today specially in race cars because there is more need of aerodynamics in high speeds cars. The aerodynamic designer has two primary concerns : i. the creation of downforce, to help push the car’s tyres onto the track and improve cornering forces, ii. Early man, being unable to soar into the heavens himself, … Dirty Car” and you should be able to find the episode. If I recall correctly, the late-80’s GM A-bodies (Chevy Celebrity et al) especially the station wagons had remarkably low drag. road car. Its important to note that the rise of interest in aerodynamics in the 1930s arose out of the desire to reinvent the automobile from its horse and wagon origins and the assumptions that average driving speeds would be on the rise with modern roads. They virtually built a roll cage and tacked the panels on no wonder crashing it didnt do any damage race cars are built that way now. This was a man who built a glider that never flew, and almost took flying lessons in Dayton, Ohio in 1910 from the Wrights, but couldn’t get the almost $1000 together. The first cars were made before the Wright brother’s era and before the invention of wind tunnel tests. Perhaps not very “mainstream”, but the SAAB 93 of the late ’50s claimed a Cd of 0.29. Chris Raber There is not a chassis really, the body is supported from transverse supports hung from the engine/transmission, torque tube and rear axle. It turns out that Erwin Komenda, who actually penned most of Porsche’s design and the KdF Wagem, visited the US in 1934, saw Tjaarda’s prototype, and admits being influenced by it. It was a start, but others were taking up where Rumpler left off, like the English Burney, below: Obviously more Rumpler influenced and less by Jaray, the 1930 English Burney featured a then-radical rear engine and also four wheel independent suspension. The aerodynamic efficiency of a car's shape is measured by its co-efficient of drag (generally known as its Cd figure). It also explains the particularly strong interest and adoption of streamlining in Germany. The unintended result tended to be a very directionally unstable vehicle. The Tatra seems to have been the commercial design closest to the ideal during this era. And the increase in speed was even more dramatic: the Rocket broke the 200km barrier, with a run of 205.44 kmh (127.66  mph). Due to the excessively-heavy bodywork, it turned out to not improve on the top speed of the open Alfa it was based on. My apologies to all. Jaray only addressed the aerodynamics, not the complete vehicle like Rumpler had. I had the kids watch the land speed movie with the guy from coach and do some reading before they started. Rear steering – wow! And about as much crumple zone too. So why are modern streamlined cars so ugly if streamlined cars from the 1930s are so handsome (with a few exceptions)? It probably began with prehistoric man's desire to copy the actions of the bird and fly through the air. The importance of these is never more important than in Formula 1, where due to the forces being exerted on the cars and the drivers, it would be impossible to … Tesla Model 3 Elon Musk's electric cars are already breaking the mold, but they're also some of the most aerodynamic cars on the road. The first of these, the T77, arrived in 1934 (below): The T77 was measured to have a Cd of .212, a number that was not broken by a production car until GM’s EV-1 of 1995, which measured at .195. Tons of Tatras, check! But the first freeways were already being built in Germany, and improvements in US roads, including the first parkways and freeways were taking place. The evolution of aerodynamics for LSR cars was remarkably rapid, as this Stanley Steamer Rocket of 1906 evidently shows. Victor. Neil, It’s made in 1938, I can’t remember a design earlier than that, with fully integrated fenders all around. It was a race car and based on the Rumpler. An even less pragmatic but remarkably practical and effective American vehicle was the Stout Scarab (above). The ’30s Peugeots (402, 302 and 202) shamelessly copied the Airflow, though they looked better and were a success. The efforts to do so yielded some of the more remarkable cars ever made, even if they challenged the aesthetic assumptions of their times. Note that I have not attempted to survey the influence of aerodynamics on the styling of cars in the latter thirties and up to WW II. Cars were made to LOOK aerodynamic, but, until the oil shortage of 1973, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_Corsair. “Der KDF Wagen” is huge!! My retrospective of Tatra is here. A car simply isn't designed to go through a brick wall. And the increase in speed was even more dramatic: the Rocket broke the 200km barrier, with a run of 205.44 kmh (127.66  mph). Managed to have some fun in technology class with a homemade wind tunnel (from a scrapped gas furnace) and some balsawood cars. If I had a V8 powered bug when I was a kid, I prolly would not be here now. Yet in the more recent cars it was discovered that this vortex is important to keep near the car as the front suspension opened up this area and “barge boards” became a … After all, the energy used to overcome air resistance cannot be recovered – unlike with vehicle acceleration. And a crude preview of Bonneville Lakesters to come. As this 1934 prototype for an American rear-engined sedan by John Tjaarda shows, the Europeans weren’t working alone. I wouldn’t call the current VW Passat impractically small, and it’s sold in India. Up but still… followers in all parts of the bird and fly through the air October, in the they! 1939…, what about history of aerodynamics in cars lots of new photos be aerodynamically perfect learn well from the are. Nevertheless, the Europeans weren ’ t remember a design earlier than that, with fully integrated fenders all.! 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