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.
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.
1934 Chrysler Airflow
Click below for enlarged images
Automotive Aerodynamics Gallery