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Old 07-03-2011, 11:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Factory aero tweaks ( please contribute images )

An excellent way to have a good look at what car manufacturers are doing aero wise to their cars these days is to visit a car dealership. Once you get the sales vultures to stop pestering you, it is possible to have a look under the cars there.

This is the grille of the latest Focus. Note how that the majority of the grille is actually blocked off, with the actual grille being the area below the license plate.

( Unfortunately, they did not have the active aerodynamic grille block version there )


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Old 07-03-2011, 11:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep. I work for a car rental company and I get to see stuff like this up close without having to worry about the sales vultures hassling me. Make of the new high gas mileage cars are doing this now. The eco versions even have automatic grill blocks that will close off the lower grill automatically.

My car, a 2010 Kia Forte has a small air dam and partial belly pan that came stock as well.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The same is true of the CRZ. Note that a large portion of the grille is actually blocked, and the license plate is mounted in such a way that it actually helps to block some of the grille as well.

I noticed that some cars now-a-days have a crease or ramp at the edge of the tail lights.
In the case of the Fiesta, it is simply a sharp edge. On the Focus, there is a small ramp to trip the airflow.
I found it odd that the Fiesta has VGs on the mirrors, but none of the other cars I looked at had these.
I noticed that like the Insight 1, the edge of the roofline on the CRZ has a small spoiler which sets at the same angle as the glass, but is raised slightly.
Does this trip the air and ensure a clean break like the trip strips on the tail lights ?
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsatter View Post
Yep. I work for a car rental company and I get to see stuff like this up close without having to worry about the sales vultures hassling me. Make of the new high gas mileage cars are doing this now. The eco versions even have automatic grill blocks that will close off the lower grill automatically.

My car, a 2010 Kia Forte has a small air dam and partial belly pan that came stock as well.
I'm sure I'm not the only one here that would love to see some images of these cars from underneath - perhaps when they are still up on the ramps.
Any chance you could take a picture or two ?
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yep. Grill blocks are in the works and I'm going to have my car up on ramps pretty soon, so I'll get some pictures then. I have to take the partial pan off to install the lower block.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It gets much harder to take pictures under cars. I get the strange vibes from the sales vultures. I guess they think I'm doing something fishy, after all, how many people go to buy a car and spend more time looking UNDER the car than IN the car ? ( YKYAEM !! )

Note that the Chrysler 300 shot is of a used car - in fact I had to be sneaky about it. I sat down near the car and pointed the cell phone up like I had dropped something nearby. The car was not for sale, and I didn't want the owner to think i was trying to mess with his car. The reason that I tried to get a shot of this car is that I had read that Chrysler tried to compensate for the cars horrible aero compared to the previous generation 300 by concentrating on the underside.

BTW, I should add that the Fusion was the hybrid version.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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( In case you guys are wondering what you are looking at, look that the title of the image you are looking at ( for example the fitunderbellyfront is the underbelly of a Honda Fit )
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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One more I forgot to add is the underside of a ( used ) Mazda 6.
I was surprised to see that almost every new car and truck/SUV that i looked at had the same amount of aerodynamic work as those from twenty years ago. Nothing seems to have improved !
I did happen to be looking at mid nineties Audi / VW ( Passat ? ) at a used car dealership once ( nope - no camera ) and was very impressed by the level of detail under the car. The front engine pan had NACA ducting ( One of the members here actually modified one to fit his van ) and what blew my mind was that the center section of the car had small panels which had dimples ( yes - dimples ) approx. 1" in diameter. This puzzled me since dimples aren't supposed to really do anything - but why would they go through all the trouble of having the dimpled panels if no one even knew they were there ? I seem to remember a member here from Europe posting a similar dimpled panel on a VW.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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it's good to see production more cars employing grille blocks, but i don't think all that's pictured are actially real grillblocks, but in some cases "fake grilles" what i mean is that most cars have a strucural support behind the bumper wich leads to the traditional design of an upper and lower grille. some yeas ago audi's upper and lower grille started to form a single shape

and the next facelift/redesign in 2004 the crome trim gave the appearance of a single shape.

this gave the impression of a big bold grille and so other manifacturers started to design bolder grilles, ofen using the same "trick".
like the evo lancer x in 2005

this sort of design is good, because you sepparate the visual "grille" from the phisical cooling intake, but imho, it's not really a grillblock.
same goes for the chevy volt i think, it's a fake grille rather than a grille block.
i don't mean to nitpick but i think it's important to have a close look at whats just design and what's really meant to be functional when using production grilles as a reference

another intersting oem aero trick is what you could call a "side spoiler"

i device to sepparate the airflow cleanly of a rounded C pillar
the renauly espace has it (look for the ridges on the rear window)

the opel insignia sports tourer

and i've also seen it on some new mini's

something very difficult to spot in pictures but intersting are side spoilers on the taillights.

(note the ridge halfway the light)
more and more cars start to use these, they're essentially small spoilers molded into the clear plastic of the taillights, where the overall design has a rounded shape but the spoilers once again gives a clean sepparation..
the senic has them as well as some recent mercedeses...

what's mostely interesting with this mod is that it's relatively small but it's impact must be large enough for carmakers to bother to put it there, and this would sugest that adding small strips to "sharpen" rounded edges at the back could be a fairly simple but effective stealthy aeromod.
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Last edited by lunarhighway; 07-04-2011 at 04:59 AM..
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Old 07-04-2011, 04:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunarhighway View Post
something very difficult to spot in pictures but intersting are side spoilers on the taillights.
I recently noticed that on the 5 door EuroCivic:



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