Scott Lear
Scott Lear
10/8/18 12:58 p.m.


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Story by Scott R. Lear • Photos As Credited

It’s easy to take modern automotive aerodynamics for granted, as most cars built in the past couple of decades have been shaped either in a wind tunnel or via computer simulation. Either way, the goal is the same: to cut through the air without too much fuss.

The benefits are many. Fuel economy goes up. The ride is quieter at speed. And in the case of anything even vaguely performance-oriented, carefully shaped undertrays, factory wings and other aero tricks work to negate or even overcome the unnerving sensation of lift that used to appear as a car approached triple-digit speeds.

It was not always thus. In the 1950s, the archetypical sports car–from the Porsche 550 and AC Ace to the Ferrari 250 TR and Jaguar D-Type–was an open-cockpit affair. No matter how low-slung or swoopy the bodywork of these beauties appeared to the human eye, however, parasitic turbulence was sapping horsepower at speed. By the early 1960s, with maximum velocities climbing and aero becoming more of a factor on the long straights of Le Mans and elsewhere, competitive evolution had begun shaping the future.

Although they stuck up higher than the open-top racers, aero-sculpted coupe designs were showing their legs on the flat-out bits, and everyone scrambled to come up with their own slippery hardtop. Carroll Shelby’s once-potent Cobra was in need of a new profile to keep pace in international racing, and Peter Brock noodled up a solution. The team couldn’t have been more fortunate: Brock’s resulting Daytona Coupe design was capable of nearly 200 mph given enough road, and the Shelby went on to beat the Ferrari 250 GT for a World Sportscar GT class championship in 1965.

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Petrolburner
Petrolburner Dork
10/18/18 10:56 a.m.

I like Factory 5's lineup and philosophy.  I'd still like to build a '33 someday.  

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