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You might think that sports cars would have the lowest drag coefficient of all cars. And yes, they do tend to be more slippery than, say, SUVs or convertibles, but the sleekest vehicles on the road tend to be EVs, hybrids and luxury sedans. Sports cars, on the other hand, have aerodynamically detrimental needs for downforce and additional engine cooling. Still, the Porsche 911 is better than most, and has only gotten more so over the years. Its relatively narrow track and compact form mean it has a smaller frontal area than some other sports cars, and the gradual sweeping back of its headlights and windshield have only augmented its capacity for cheating the wind.

This 911 prototype, however, is even more aerodynamic than most. It's based on a "G model" 911 from 1984, but employed such features as covered wheels, a new rear spoiler and a reprofiled front end to drop its drag coefficient from 0.40 to 0.27, making it as slippery as a modern sedan and better at cheating the wind than just about anything built up to that point, save for maybe the Tatra 77, Citroën SM or Tucker Torpedo.

Elements of this prototype ended up gradually making it into production Porsches for years to come, and you can clearly see early influences on the second-generation 964 and even on the 959. It's featured here as the latest installment in a video series on rare historic Porsches unearthed from the company archives, following previous clips that featured a rare V8-powered 911 and a mid-engined 911 prototype. Scope out the latest episode in the video below.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Burn
      • 11 Months Ago
      Fun Facts: The Dodge Daytona had a .29 in '66 the Pontiac Trans Am had a .29 in '84(Gale Banks ran 286 mph with this body for the World's Fastest Passenger Car record that stood for over a decade) The GM Ev1 had an astounding .195 almost 20 years ago!! After all, the entire world used GM's hyper advanced Wind tunnel for decades...
        Burn
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Burn
        P.S. In 1934 the Chrysler Airflow had a Cd of .28 some have been lower, but Walter P's masterpiece still resembled a conventional car..incredible...
          johnnythemoney
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Burn
          You may question the accuracy of those measurements though. Rought edges, panel gaps, wipers in the way, no underbody whatsoever, no engine bay flow design, etc etc. Sure narrower tires helped in comparison, but I'd really love a modern study on some older vehicle. As reference, now Cx is measured to the thousandth, and if the precision in the measurement evolved I think the measurement itself got more advanced. Wind tunnel calibration and flow study are still something difficult to get right (ask Ferrari about their wind tunnel...).
        spannermonkeyuk
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Burn
        Unfortunately the agreed 'standards' for assessing drag coefficient are very loosely defined, and it's not even valid to compare drag coefficients from different manufacturers of the same era, never mind across the decades. Ground simulation, wheel rotation, blockage & pressure gradient corrections: all have moved on enormously in the past 20-25 years. GM may have led the way at some point in history, I don't know, but their current facility is medieval relative to a lot of the competition (Honda, BMW, Toyota, Mercedes, Peugeot/Citroen, Renault/Nissan, Audi, Porsche, etc).
          Burn
          • 11 Months Ago
          @spannermonkeyuk
          lol your a funny little girl More Eurotardi9sm for the masses http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/06/28-gorgeous-wind-tunnels-that-will-blow-you-away/ as stated the "The world’s largest automotive wind tunnel at the General Motors Aerodynamics Laboratory August 4, 2010, in Warren, Michigan. The tunnel features a 13m diameter fan." It has movable rolling sufaces and all the goodies dumbass..Yeah aero has moved on since 1980 when GM started this,,and GM led the way. PS all those name s DO not have a wind tunnel and many are in fact customers of GM..fckn noobs...
          LLL
          • 11 Months Ago
          @spannermonkeyuk
          hahaha G1 Burn
      Scott C. Anderson
      • 11 Months Ago
      The 911 is **** for both drag and downforce.. It's shape causes air to separate at mid roof, giving it a large separation area, and it'sow nose doesn't mean squat for frontal area, as that's a front view orthographic projection of the car, meaning the highest point of the roof and widest point of the rear ( which those lovely rear hips don't help... As the wind smacks them dead on.. 0.40.. That's the Cd of an F150, Silverado and LAST GEN RAM... The only thing the 911 had going for aero efficiency is a relatively low roof, which is still tallest in the SUPERCAR world ... That wing shaped upper also produced about 200 lb of rear LIFT, not downforce by the way, at 100+ mph.. All just due to the fact that the upper is shaped like and airplane wing.. Hence the whale tale on any Porsche that has any power at all.. Brilliant execution of a fundamentally bad shape
      Douglas Hamner
      • 11 Months Ago
      Definitely see the 993 in there
      ijardine
      • 11 Months Ago
      Anyone from the UK remember the Rochdale Olympic? This car ca,e out about the time of the original 911 and had an incredibly slippery shape even more so than a Porsche IMHO.