Curbside Classic Outtake: Aerodynamics Then And Now

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
curbside classic outtake aerodynamics then and now

This 1965 Falcon Futura first caught my eye, not the Prius. But seeing them jowl-to-cheek gave me a dramatic lesson in how far car aerodynamics have come. Well, at least in common everyday cars. The Tatra T77 of 1934 still has this Prius’ Cd of .25 handily beat. The Falcon? Who knows; probably around .50 or so. But this semi-fastback roof on the Falcon was the hot new thing when it came out on the 1963.5 Fords, specifically to help the big Galaxie on the high speed NASCAR tracks.

The Prius’ slippery shape has become pretty ubiquitous now, and its not such a strange sight. But when you see it next to the boxy Falcon, it’s apparent that we’re finally getting the hang of what the early pioneers of aerodynamics were getting at.

This particular Falcon evokes lots of memories, and they’re not so good. I had an Assistant Scout Master who drove one exactly like this, despite being rich. He was a royal PIA, dragging our asses out of our sleeping bags on camping trips at 6 AM for calisthenics. After our late night rumbles and Lord Of The Flies-type devolutionary activities, it did not engender warm feelings to him. And having to ride three across in that cramped back seat, stinking to high heaven, while he found the nearest Catholic Church on Sunday morning for Mass, gave us time to hatch various assassination plans, while listening to the nasal whine of the little 170 cubic inch six as it struggled with its load of hung-over scouts. At least he was a good driver and drove pretty damn fast on the winding Maryland back roads; I’ll give him that. It’s the only thing that kept us from executing our evil plans.

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  • ButterflyJack ButterflyJack on Feb 15, 2010

    The year was 1964 or 65, I was driving back from the Sunrise Drive-In movie at around midnight, on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, NY with my yummy girlfriend next to me, when I spied my first Falcon v-8...Of course, driving my dad's '57 DeSoto, with the nylon tires in less than like-new condition, I had to race the guy.I couldn't believe he beat me...The DeSoto's ribbon speedo was all the way across at a 120 reading and that little bastard was still pulling away from me.A rude awakening...I always liked they way these little coupes looked.the V-8 insignia was neat too; a long thin v with the 8 in the middle of the V, a lot like the old Fords. Little cars weren't supposed to beat big cars.. The insanity of youth dragonfly

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Feb 15, 2010

    Dweezil I guess I should tell you "the rest of the story". The Rambler was daily transportation. I drove it everyday in Hawaii (w/o a thermostat) It cost $600 to ship to Seattle, then we drove it to Mich. I couldn't have bought anything better for $600, even back in '86. So yes, I love the car, but shipping it was just a practical decision - it was the cheapest option. Plus I knew the Rambler, and it's so simple not much can go wrong. Used it for several years here in MI before it retired to the garage.

  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.
  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.