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basjoos 12-16-2007 10:02 PM

German experimentation with low Cd automobiles in the 1930's
In the mid to late 30's in Germany, there was a lot of work done in creating vehicles with a low Cd. The impetous for this was the building of the Autobahn, which provided a roadway that was capable of handling much higher speeds than the typical car/engine combinations available at the time could produce. They soon found that by reducing a car's drag, the existing engines could propel a car much faster down the Autobahn than it could could do in a traditionally shaped car body. Unfortunately this bout of automotive experimentation was shut down with the the start of WWII and most of the vehicles lost in the ensuing conflict. The following website (in Germen) shows a number of these cars (hit the "Tour" buttom at the bottom of each page to go to the next page). Its interesting to look at the state of the art back in the 1930's. There were some fairly wild looking designs.

1939 Maybach Stromlinienkarosserie

newtonsfirstlaw 12-16-2007 10:31 PM

It's sad that we have gone so far backwards since then! That car would have a drag coefficient very similar to yours if it had front skirts and a belly pan.

basjoos 12-17-2007 09:14 AM

It did have a belly pan (note the radiator air exhaust openings just in front of the door).

MetroMPG 12-17-2007 09:46 AM

Nice find, basjoos.

Note that you can use a service like Google to get an imperfect English translation of the text.

Try this link

MetroMPG 12-17-2007 10:03 AM

My favourite:

Lazarus 12-17-2007 10:16 AM

Check out the sink with hot and cold running water. Perfect for cleaning up after fueling.:p

cfg83 12-17-2007 07:35 PM

2 Attachment(s)
MetroMPG -


Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 2433)
My favourite:


Oh yeah, that's my favorite too! Looks like it has a center mount for the driver :

Attachment 49

If only the VW Beetle had been offered in this design style. I would have called it the "pill-bug" :

Attachment 50


basjoos 12-17-2007 10:40 PM

That "pillbug" was a 7-passenger car with a single driver's seat in front between the front wheel wells followed by 2 rows of 3-abreast seating with an air-cooled in-line 4 engine in the back. It was a research vehicle built on the frame of a Mercedes-Benz 170H W28 by Professor Schlör at the Technical university of Gottingen in 1937 and was lost during WWII. But it looks like the guys at that website are working on building a reproduction of it on a MB 170 frame that they have.

Another website with pics of German streamlined cars:

On those sites they mentioned the book: Stromlinienautos in Deutschland by Ralf J.F.Kieselbach. Sounds like an interesting read.

aerohead 05-10-2008 05:55 PM

German experimentation
Germany lost WW-I because of a shortage of fuel and rubber.Ultimately,Germany would also loose WW-II because of a shortage of fuel and rubber.In light of the glowing predictions of I.G.Farbenindustrie A.G.'s ability to produce synthetic fuel and rubber from Ruhr Valley coal,some who saw through the scam may have felt a technological imperative to allow the Fatherland to stretch out its limited resources in times of questionable bounty.Rommel weeped for the lack of gasoline which caused his defeat in North Africa and the end of his march towards the Suez,Persian Gulf,and Caspian Sea.The same streamlining may give us a little wiggle room as we negotiate $126/barrel oil.

Cd 05-10-2008 11:08 PM

What a fantastic article !
Thank you for posting this !

Very handsome cars.

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