Nov
11
Automotive Aerodynamics

1932 Rockne

Instead of fumbling with task of explaining the concept of aerodynamics myself, I will simply lift some copy from the Porsche 924 ad seen below. Per Porsche:

Air resists the movement of a vehicle passing through it. Resistance increases with the square of the vehicle’s speed: twice the speed produces 4 times the resistance. The engine power required to overcome this drag increases with the cube of the vehicle’s speed: twice the speed requires 8 times higher power. Thus, even a small reduction in drag can result in a large increase in fuel economy. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was among the first to reduce drag through body design. The Porsche 924 benefits from 70 years of Porsche aerodynamic development. It’s drag coefficient is a low .36. And it requires only 15 hp to cruise at 55 mph.

Two observations about the Porsche text. First, it’s clear Porsche copywriters don’t like commas. Second, this blurb ignores the 1921 Rumpler Tropfenwagen—a vehicle largely understood to be the first intentionally aerodynamic car. And, it boasted a better coefficient of drag than the 924. You can read all about the Tropfenwagen here.

1921 Rumpler Tropfenwagen

The 1921 Rumpler Tropfenwagen is generally understood to be the first intentionally aerodynamic automobile.

Looking back, it’s clear that long before carmakers were making effective use of aerodynamic design, they were laying claim to having harnessed the virtues of low-drag silhouettes. For your consideration, we have amassed a gallery of classic ads, each of which touts the benefits of streamlining and aero design in some fashion. Check them out, and let us know which is your favorite. For the record, the Tatra ad—which is an ad, not a brochure—is absolutely my favorite.

More classic ads

 

1930 Tatra

1930 Tatra Ad, Tatra 77

1930 Tatra Ad

The Cars of Metropolis

 

1932 Rockne

1932 Rockne Ad

1932 Rockne Ad

Market Crash Madness! A Gallery of Depression-Era Car Ads

 

1934 Chrysler Airflow

1934 Chrysler

1934 Chrysler Airflow Ad

Amazingly Innovative Cars . . . And Why They Failed

 

1934 Kestrel

1934 Kestrel Ad

1934 Kestrel Ad

Eclectic Collectibles: 2018 Mecum Chicago Auction Gallery

 

1934 Hupmobile

1934 Hupmobile Ad

1934 Hupmobile Ad

Photo Feature: 1933 Hupmobile K-321 Convertible Coupe

 

1935 LaSalle

1935 LaSalle Ad

1935 LaSalle Ad

Designer Madness! Fashion in Classic Car Ads

 

1949 Nash

1949 Nash Ad, Nash Airflyte

1949 Nash Ad

Plaster Master: Salvaging a Nash Styling Model

 

1952 Willys

1952 Willys Ad

1952 Willys Ad

Photo Feature: 1941 Willys 441 Station Wagon

 

1956 Plymouth

1956 Plymouth Ad

1956 Plymouth Ad

Photo Feature: 1960 Plymouth Fury Hardtop Coupe

 

1968 Chevrolet

1968 Chevrolet Ad

1968 Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette Ad

 

1976 Plymouth

1976 Plymouth Arrow Ad

1976 Plymouth Arrow Ad

Forgotten Functionality: Recalling the 1994 Eagle Summit Wagon, Mitsubishi Expo, and Plymouth Colt Vista

 

1978 Toyota

1978 Toyota Celica Ad

1978 Toyota Celica Ad

Aichi Madness! 10 Classic Toyota Ads

 

1980 Porsche

1980 Porsche 924 Ad

1980 Porsche 924 Ad

Review Flashback! 1973 Porsche 911

 

1981 Buick

1981 Buick Regal Ad

1981 Buick Regal Ad

Cheap Wheels: 1979 Buick LeSabre Palm Beach

 

1981 Buick

1981 Buick Regal Ad, Concorde

1981 Buick Regal Ad

Dynaflow Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Buick Ads

 

1983 Pontiac

1983 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ad

1983 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ad

5 Most-Powerful American Cars of 1980

 

1983 Mercury

1983 Mercury Cougar Ad

1983 Mercury Cougar Ad

What Was the Mercury Cougar Bostonian Edition?

 

1984 Audi

1984 Audi 5000 Ad

1984 Audi 5000 Ad

Gallery: Cool Cars at Fun Places

 

1985 Ford

1985 Ford Thunderbird Ad

1985 Ford Thunderbird Ad

Review Flashback! 1984 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe

 

1986 Ford

1986 Ford Aerostar Ad

1986 Ford Aerostar Ad

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