Streamlining a car



In the beginning it was enough if the automobile body furnished seats for the passengers. Later a top was demanded. Presently the closed car became popular. With its advent came attention to riding comfort with reference to seating, heating, and ventilation. As cars improved in operation, speeds increased and presently streamlining a car with its possibilities for beauty and performance began to receive attention.

Streamlining a car
Wind tests

Wind tests and some actual road tests proved rather conclusively that old-style closed cars had great wind resistance and in fact that it was possible to operate a car more economically if the heavy end of the body (the rear) was placed to the front. The effect of this is illustrated in the graphics. Upper left shows the air flow and swirls about a car of square outlines driven in normal forward fashion, while upper right shows the same car body operated rear end first, thus securing less wind or air disturbance. Below shows again the effect of operating a relatively "square" type of closed car with arrows indicating the air flow.

Vacuum built up at the rear of the car body has the effect of slowing down the car or making it necessary to burn more fuel to attain the same relative speed as may be secured with less fuel consumption when streamlining is effected.

It is claimed that the advantages of streamlining vary with the speed desired. Unless the car is to operate at more than 45 to 50 miles per hour the advantage is slight. If the car is operated continuously at high speeds the fuel saving is worth while and is all in favour of the streamlined car.