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Old 01-08-2012, 08:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Random Thought: Driving Backward

Since I have been paying more attention to aerodynamics, I have started taking a closer look at the body designs of the cars I see on the road. The one thing I've noticed is it seems like almost every car I see on the road would be more aerodynamic if driven backward. What do you guys think? Am I far off on this, or just plain wrong? Obviously, there are a number of reasons why we couldn't just drive around backward, but I thought it was an interesting thing to note.

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Old 01-09-2012, 01:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Teardrop aerodynamics... in reverse!
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks! I see I wasn't the only one wondering about this! :-P
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Mythbusters "tested" this and supposedly "busted" it, however, looking at the car they tested, it's clear why they showed that the forward-facing car was better:


It really all depends on the car that's tested--that particular one has a pretty nice rear end.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And that is what I was thinking: Of course, all other things being equal, driving backwards would be less efficient. Lower gearing, more steering corrections, unnecessary and easily removed protrusions, etc.

However, if you quite literally reversed only the shell of the body, but the gearing, engine layout, etc. stayed the same, I'm almost certain the results would be different.
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Old 01-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladogaboy View Post
And that is what I was thinking: Of course, all other things being equal, driving backwards would be less efficient. Lower gearing, more steering corrections, unnecessary and easily removed protrusions, etc.

However, if you quite literally reversed only the shell of the body, but the gearing, engine layout, etc. stayed the same, I'm almost certain the results would be different.
That's what they did (reversed the body). My point was that the shape of the car that they tested IS better forward vs backwards (note the gradual-sloping rear), however, in many cars that's not the case. It's not just a matter of making a blanket statement of forward is always best or backwards is always best--it depends on the car.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ahh, I see. Maybe I should start watching more Mythbusters. :-P
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I like to watch it, but occoasionally I find myself yelling at them that they're doing it all wrong.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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From the HAMB

Quote:
From Dean Batchelor's The American Hot Rod, p. 60:

"Manuel Butkie's Backwards T modified roadster. The class rules allowed some streamlining ahead of the firewall, but from the firewall to the back of the body, it had to be stock configuration. I suggested to Butkie that the '27 T body was better aerodynamically if it were turned around. He did it, and I drove the modified roadster 148mph at an SCTA meet. Manuel is shown here at a Russetta meet. The sight of the car seemingly running backward through the timing traps was a bit unsettling to the timing crew." Dean Batchelor photo (courtesy of my crappy phone cam).

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Old 01-10-2012, 02:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Not true with my car, for sure.

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