Oldsmobile had the Toronado. But it took Mercedes-Benz to come up with an actual tornado. And they made it into the Guinness Book of Records with it, too.
Mercedes-Benz has built the world’s largest artificial tornado. (In the accompanying picture, carbon dioxide has been sprayed into the tornado to make it visible. But, whatever you do, don’t tell Al Gore they did that.)
Granted, it may be a bit tangential, but the tornado does have a connection to cars. You see, it’s at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. But it wasn’t an idle engineering exercise. It is a very practical solution to a problem created by the design of the building: how do you vent out the smoke in the case of a fire so that people don’t choke to death.
The tornado is the answer. Its twisting sucks in air and pulls it up and out of the building. The tornado, when operating, is 113 feet tall and moves 28 tons of air at any given moment. It is generated by 144 air jets and takes about 7 minutes to hit full fury.
Gives new meaning to the phrase “wind tunnel.”