• This Video Really Puts the Evolution of Aerodynamics Into Perspective

It took a long time for manufacturers to perfect the aero recipe on their cars

LISTEN 02:01

We all know that the great Enzo Ferrari once said that aerodynamics is for people that can’t build engines. While that’s partly true, the way air flows over a surface - car’s surface, in this case - influences a lot of performance areas, from fuel consumption to high-speed stability to how fast the said car can go or how much downforce it makes to keep it glued to the ground.

The multi-faceted world of aerodynamics

Aero can help your LeMans racer shed precious seconds off that lap time or it can allow your hybrid/all-electric econobox to glide through the air, thus bumping up range, as the powertrain needs to work less harder to keep you in motion.

To put aero into the bigger picture of history, the notion wasn’t passed around a lot, not even in science-savvy circles, until the mid 1720s, when Sir Isaac Newton formulated a theory, who believed drag was influenced by the size of a given body, the density of the fluid, and speed.

This Video Really Puts the Evolution of Aerodynamics Into Perspective
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As Donut Media simply puts it, the notion of aero can be reduced to two elements: friction and turbulence. A smoother airflow going over the car means less turbulence and better aero and to quantify it, we use the so-called drag coefficient (the lower the Cd, the more aero the car is).

But before that, the love story between cars and aerodynamics began back in 1898, with a car called La Jamais Contente, which is French for The Never Satisfied. It was the first vehicle to go over 100 kph (62 mph) and at the same time, an unfortunate attempt at creating an aero-friendly car.

Though the body was shaped like a bullet, the high-driving position and the exposed chassis underneath pretty much killed its aerodynamic properties.

That said, do check out the whole video above and also have a look at our list of the most aerodynamic vehicles ever made, including concept cars and racers.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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