By on August 4, 2015

johnmido2

Last week, our own Doug DeMuro asked the B&B for their opinion on the stupidest automotive feature. He then gave his personal opinion as to what that feature might be. I’m here to tell you why he’s completely wrong, and why he’s probably also completely right.


Let’s review Doug’s suggestion for “stupidest automotive feature” right quick:

I’ve never really understood the purpose of this retractable spoiler. Ninety-nine percent of the time, when you see it sticking out on a Porsche 911, the driver is just cruising down the interstate. That’s because the spoiler is designed to deploy based on speed, not driving style, apparently in some bizarre effort to keep your car on the road should you begin to experience the effects of a massive windstorm.

The funny thing is these spoilers are never adequately sized to actually do anything. They’re just there to be spoilers, so you can tell your friends you have a cool spoiler that extends out at speed as if you’re in a race car, when in reality the spoiler is the size of a license plate and it wouldn’t have any effect on any vehicle larger than a Hot Wheels.

Obviously Doug’s aiming for humor here, but as TTAC’s resident owner of a Porsche with a retractable spoiler, I feel compelled to defend the indefensible for a moment and to explain just why the retractable spoiler was such a brilliant idea at one time. And then I’ll have to admit why it’s not such a great idea now.

Let’s start with why you would want a spoiler at all. Consider, if you will, the airplane wing. You all remember how that works, right?

bernoulli

The air moving over the top of the wing has a longer path to travel. It therefore moves faster and creates a zone of low pressure above the wing. Since the pressure beneath the wing, on the flat surface, stays the same, the net effect is to lift the wing.

Having looked at the side profile of a wing, let’s look at the side profile of a proper 911.

911wing

You can clearly see how a 911, or any vehicle that approximates the shape of a wing, generates aerodynamic lift at speed. This aerodynamic lift reduces the pressure on the tires and reduces their ability to grip the road. Moreover, for reasons that it would take more than a paragraph to explain, the lift tends to be strongest at the back of the “wing”. For that reason, the original 911 tended to be difficult to control as high speed, because not only was it suffering a grip problem as speeds increased, it was also experiencing a change in the ratio of grip between the front and rear wheels. Today’s 911 GT3 has 245-width tires in front and 305-width tires in back, but the original 911 had 165-width tires both front and rear, leading to some genuinely troubling behavior once you got much above 80mph or so.

Porsche addressed this with the fastest early 911, the Carrera RS 2.7, by adding a “ducktail”.

1973-Porsche-Carrera-2_7-RS-sm

The ducktail disrupted, or “spoiled”, the wing-like airflow and caused an area of high pressure over the back wheels that helped reduce the overall wing effect. Note that a ducktail or any similar spoiler can’t really create measurable downforce. Its purpose is just to remove some of the lift. The first-generation Audi TT, for example, had a 911-style tapering rear. That shape reportedly generated about 140 pounds of lift over the rear wheels at 125 mph. After five people died in accidents that might have been related to high-speed handling issues, Audi installed a small lip spoiler to reduce that rear lift by about two-thirds.

Now let’s look at a 911 with a wing, as opposed to a spoiler:

1974-Porsche-RSR-Turbo-Carrera-Side-600x377

That’s a wing, you see. It creates measurable aerodynamic downforce on the rear of the car, increasing grip as your speed increases. Very few street cars have wings that increase downforce, although the Viper ACR sure as hell does; most street cars have spoilers that reduce lift somewhat. The difference between a spoiler and a wing is that cars with wings grip better at 150 mph than 50, whereas cars with spoilers do not grip as well at higher speeds. They’re just less troublesome.

Porsche’s justification for restricting the use of spoilers to the Carrera RS and, a few years later, the Turbo Carrera was simple: Spoilers are aesthetically impure and unpleasant, so they should be limited to very fast road cars. A 1970 911T was many things, but with only 125 or so horses it wasn’t fast.

The arrival of the 964-generation 911, with its 250-horsepower 3.6-liter engine, put the company in a bit of a pickle. It was pretty much as fast as a ’77 Turbo Carrera, if not a bit faster, so shouldn’t it have a spoiler out back? The obvious answer from an engineering and safety perspective was “yes”, but the aesthetic and marketing issue wasn’t as clear cut. While American buyers were big fans of “whale tails” and the like, making cars like the paper-tiger Carrera 3.2 “Turbo-Look” big sellers, Europeans supposedly preferred the clean look of a slick-tail 911. The largely mythical high-powered German businessman, using his 911 or S-Class or BMW as an alternative to high-speed rail across West Germany, was still a powerful enough archetype to swing product-planning decisions in the pre-tech-boom, pre-Russian-capitalism market.

So Porsche came up with a solution. The 964 looked like a standard 911 at rest, but at freeway speeds it would deploy just enough spoiler to bring rear-end lift within safe parameters. It’s really a brilliant idea. Doug’s note that the spoilers deploy at odd speeds is, I believe, an effort on the part of Porsche to prevent the deployment of a spoiler from being evidence that the driver was speeding. You really only need the spoiler at 80 mph or above, but in a country with a 65 mph speed limit, that’s problematic to have it deploy at illegal velocities.

Having driven a variety of Porsches at relatively high speeds, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of the retractable spoiler. The photo at the top of this article shows me and my son doing about 100 mph on the back straight of Mid-Ohio. He was only three years old at the time so I was anxious not to kill him. The rear spoiler makes the handling of the 993 very predictable and safe — from a perspective of rear-engined sports cars, anyway.

Why doesn’t every car have a retractable spoiler? Well, most cars are designed in a wind tunnel to minimize lift nowadays, something that didn’t happen as much in 1963 when the original 911 bodyshell made its debut. And most cars are far more wedge-shaped than a 911. Still, it’s worth noting that non-Porsche cars with the same sort of boat-tail rear, like the current AMG GT-S, often feature an active rear spoiler. The VW Corrado, another car that pioneered this feature in the late Eighties, almost certainly didn’t need it, being wedge-shaped and already featuring a small lip at the end of the tailgate — but what the hell, it was fun. It’s not uncommon to see NASA Time Trial Corvettes with a “Gurney flap” bolted on to the rear deck. The Gurney flap is a more aggressive kind of spoiler. The current Corvette, when ordered in Z51 form, comes standard with a Gurney flap.

Like Doug DeMuro, I have little patience for people who use the button to keep the spoiler deployed. But I’ve found a justification for having the button around: When there’s a cute girl working the drive-through at Wendy’s, you can deploy the spoiler while talking to her as a conversation device. If you think this has never gotten a Porsche driver laid, you’d be wrong, although it makes enemies more often than it makes friends.

As to why current Porsches, which are wind-tunneled to a fare-thee-well, feature the retractable spoiler, I think I covered the reasons for that a few weeks ago. The “base” 911 is now associated with a retractable spoiler, so that’s why the Panamera has one and why the Cayman has a tiny one. But we’ve long since abandoned the idea that the 911 is purchased by steely-eyed German company directors who like to do 250 km/h in a rainstorm. It’s safe to say that pretty much everybody who buys a 911 today would like to have actual racing wings on the thing. The only reason they don’t all have wings is because that’s how they get you to pay more money for the car. There’s no way the fixed wings on the GT3 cost more to make than the retractable arrangement on a base Carrera 2, but we’re talking about a company that charges you more to not have a convertible top on your Boxster.

So the retractable spoiler is technically sound, but it’s socially stupid — which makes Doug wrong, and right. But as for me and my 911, we will continue to prefer it. Perhaps the best comment I ever heard about the feature, however, came from a female friend of mine, a former stripper and escort, who was driving behind me on the freeway years ago and said to me afterwards, “Well, that car’s just like a girl: when you want to hustle, you got to stick your ass up.” Now that’s smart, right?

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68 Comments on “Bro, Do You Even Lift?...”


  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    I really need to go through the Wendy’s drive-through and find this girl you keep talking about…

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Try Powell Road and Sawmill, on the weekends. But the prettiest girls are always working at Chick-Fil-A.

      • 0 avatar
        Chris Tonn

        Aha. I’m closer to 270…and I only seem to crave Chick-Fil-A on Sundays.

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          I could not imagine rolling into the drive through in a Porsche, eating in said Porsche and then later returning to the car to find it full of the fart-stink aroma that most fast food emanates.
          Also, hitting the drive through for action? Ooh baby, those corporate issued dark blue baggy khakis really work for you, and that cheap ball cap with the Wendy’s logo, you got it goin’ ON!

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Chick-Fil-A, do you think JB that you might only be finding her attractive because the whole Chick-Fil-A Christian ethos makes you think she’s a “good girl” you want to turn bad?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            You do understand that straight men don’t care what kind of clothes an attractive 18-year-old girl happens to have on at any moment?

            If you see some D-cup teen with a freshly scrubbed, makeup-free face at a restaurant and your first desire is not to get her naked but rather to fix her outfit and hairstyle, you’ve just failed the Voight-kampff for heterosexuality.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            “you’ve just failed the Voight-kampff for heterosexuality.”

            I give up. Give up on trying to find any hope for the future. I can see now that it is simply impossible for most to recognize, let alone fix, the millions of years of imbedded genetic madness.

            Wonder if the monkey urge to throw poop at one another presents itself at times?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Jack is right.

            “Hey, that 21 year old nurse who just graduated from nursing school would be hot if she didn’t wear those baggy scrubs,” said no straight man ever.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @bball40dtw, says the guy teaching fatherhood classes at a hospital. :-P (Just teasing you bro.)

            I’ll admit my own weakness, too many under 30 mothers bringing their children into my school every morning.

            @zamoti, there are a few branches of the bank I use in the county I live in. The ones with the most attractive tellers get me to stop at that branch.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Haha. Touche.

            I prefer OTs and PTs.

            The best man in my wedding is now a nurse, after two tours in Iraq in the Marine Corps. He was the only guy in his nursing school class, and I am surprised he didn’t father multiple children with classmates.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            JB – What’s your shtick with the 18-21 crowd?

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            Hm, I wasn’t aware that most men were into the whole barely-legal thing, but I suppose just because it doesn’t appeal to me doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of perfectly upstanding gentlemen using their Porsches to bag a teenager with low enough self esteem to ignore the obvious age and socioeconomic disparities.
            Also good to know that there is some form of test of sexual preference, I wonder if there is also a test that determines if fire is hot, if ice is cold, if birds do indeed fly and if dogs bark. While I’ve never felt the need to test the obvious, I’m glad someone has a job creating such delightful personal inventories.

          • 0 avatar
            MLS

            What do “socioeconomic disparities” have to do with anything?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “Hm, I wasn’t aware that most men were into the whole barely-legal thing,”

            Yes, most men are interested in sleeping with eighteen-year-old women, no matter how old THEY are.

            Were that not the case, Christie Brinkley would just now be making her debut on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue.

            “but I suppose just because it doesn’t appeal to me”

            Which makes you the exception among straight men, but that’s fine.

            “doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of perfectly upstanding gentlemen using their Porsches to bag a teenager with low enough self esteem to ignore the obvious age and socioeconomic disparities.”

            You really don’t understand women, do you? Do you really think women want men who are exactly as young and as poor as they are? Are you one of these mooks who thinks that men actively seek out women with AWESUM JOBZ who are the same age as they are?

            Are you actually a replicant? Tell me about your mother.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            I don’t know what women like–likely correct but I never purported to. I just said that if I owned a Porsche I wouldn’t want it to smell of fast food and that teenage girls aren’t my thing. I met my wife in college when were were both young and poor, I was driving a powder blue Escort GL, later upgraded to a Sunbird GT and she didn’t give a hoot about either. Shame on me for being boring.

            As for my mother, I won’t bother to tell you about her because she’s not a teenager thusly, I’d imagine you would not be interested. The most auto-related tidbit about mom is that she had to birth me in the back of a Buick Century wagon so big ups to her for that one (hi mom!).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            All the hunnies were all about the Escort GL.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Jack Baruth.

            You had me for awhile. I used to really look for your positions and thoughts.

            But then, like a lot of my former heroes, you revealed to much.
            Yes, you writing is fine and your experience with cars is great.
            But your inability to keep your hands away from your crotch is stupefying.

            You won’t understand this. You can’t…anymore than you understand your genetic impulse and heavy breathing upon seeing young breast.

            Nothing you can do this, really, with what you have been given intellectually.

            Perhaps, years from today when the power of the inner chemicals has subsided and you realize how easily you were used and manipulated by them yo will kind of get it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Yes, most men are interested in sleeping with eighteen-year-old women, no matter how old THEY are.”

            Unclear. I’m just short of forty. Most of my peer group of men would find sleeping with an 18-year-old to be an annoying exercise in real life, even if fun to imagine. Eighteen-year-olds just aren’t fun for men our age to hang out with, and trying to hook up with one would make me feel creepy, not studly. But maybe I hang out with weirdos.

            I’m happily married, but if I weren’t, I’d be going after women within a decade of my own age. It’s just more fun that way.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Trailer Trash,

            It’s really a shame the official South Park site has removed the “Sexual Healing” episode. While not 100% relevant to JB (it’s about very wealthy men) their characterization as sex-demented chimpanzees is spot on.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Most of the women with whom I’ve formed any real emotional attachment have been between three and ten years younger than I am.

            But if you don’t think it’s a genuine thrill to sleep with a woman half your age, you’re kidding yourself so you can sleep at night. It’s like driving a badly-developed NASA American Iron Extreme car — nothing but smooth flesh and full lips and fresh scent.

            Well, driving a NASA AIX car is nothing like that. But you get the idea.

            I’m forty-three; my expiration date is approaching fast enough to Doppler-shift the noise. When I’m sixty years old I can live a life of the mind the same as I can now — but I won’t be able to do what I can do physically now.

            I don’t want to look back at my life and count all the opportunities I avoided due to fear or self-pity.

            Come see me in thirty years. I’ll either be a grown-up or I’ll be in the ground.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m not nearly old enough to be interested in 18 year olds.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “I don’t want to look back at my life and count all the opportunities I avoided due to fear or self-pity.”

            Me either. And my marriage is a far greater opportunity than sleeping with an 18-year-old. I did that when I was 18ish. I know what it’s like. (And in your florid description you’re leaving out some parts: the cluelessness, the lack of confidence, the teeth.) I don’t need to do it again badly enough to wreck the best relationship I’ve ever had and will likely ever have, just because I feel either fear or self-pity about my advancing age.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            “Wonder if the monkey urge to throw poop at one another presents itself at times?”

            Have you never seen the presidential primary debates?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        But those Chick-Fil-A girls always have a personal relationship with Jaaaysssuuuussss…

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “Well, that car’s just like a girl: when you want to hustle, you got to stick your ass up.”

    And lo, the entire industry has proven her prescient with the current hippo-in-estrus stance on nearly every coupe and sedan.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “Well, that car’s just like a girl: when you want to hustle, you got to stick your ass up.” Now that’s smart, right?

    You have convinced me Jack, I’m adding a spoiler to my Corolla!

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    The thing that bugs me about retractable spoilers is, if they’re engineered to automatically pop up at “X” speed, why are they not engineered to retract when the vehicle goes below said speed? I’ve seen so many Crossfires or Porsches parked with their spoiler on the popped up position, and they look AWFUL that way…

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    This was a decent description of spoiler vs wing. However, there is a third category of “tail device”, the proper name of which I do not know. This “tail device” is not designed to kill lift or produce downforce, but rather to reduce drag. It takes different forms. My RX-8 came with a “breadbasket spoiler” that Mazda claimed reduced drag from a Cd of 0.30 to 0.28, IIRC. (Replacing it with an aggressive APR Performance GT-200C wing dropped my highway mpg’s by about 10%). My Volt has a “tail device” that look more like an extended trunk lid.

    These devices all serve to create a stable dead-air zone which increases the effective length of the car, similar in concept to a boat tail or the back end of a teardrop-shape.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Somewhat off-topic:

    Jack, despite what you might have been told over the years, the Bernoulli effect only slightly increases the lift on an airplane. This is important to the makers and flyers of airplanes, who, like car owners, want to extract maximum efficiency or performance from a plane.

    But most of the lift comes from the Angle of Attack of the wing vs. the air. If that was not the case, planes could never fly upside down, and paper airplanes (which have no airfoil) would not work at all.

    The lift DOES come from the pressure differential between the top and bottom of the wing, but the tweaks to the airfoil design are only a very small contributor to this. The most efficient wing is an airfoil-less paper airplane wing, but since the wing on an actual plane needs a bit more bulk than that for structural integrity, it gets an airfoil shape to enhance performance. A plane with a wing like this (=====), this (=====> (or even this [======] ) would still fly just fine, even if the efficiency would be rather below-standard.

    If a plane got lift mainly via the hump on the top of the wing, then the airfoil would be much more pronounced. But instead a huge camel-hump of a wing would produce an angle of attack that would cause the plane to be pushed into the runway instead of taking off.

    Cars are different, since, as you pointed out, the shape of the car produces downforce at the front and lift at the rear; this is not the problem on a plane, as the wing is generally near the center-of-gravity. Cars make things more complicated since we want different amounts of lift or downforce on either the front or back depending on the driving situation.

    The overall point of your article is correct (as the Bernoulli would indeed have much more effect on a car vs. a plane), but I just thought I would clear up this common mis-perception on how airplanes work.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I was in the Civil Air Patrol as a kid and I was told basically the same thing — but for the purposes of a short article I thought it would be okay to omit further airplane discussion. I do appreciate the clarification however, and apologize for over-simplifying.

    • 0 avatar
      Elorac

      +1. Nothing forces the air above and below the wing to reach the trailing edge at the same time. Bernoulli does have an effect, but the air above the wing generally arrives at the edge much faster than that below.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Another thing to consider is the under tray of the car. Most cars are not airplane wing smooth or flat underneath. In fact one of the options on the Track model Z is duct work around the rear wheel wells and exhaust to smooth out airflow and lower the CD. Same with my old B5 Passat, one of the reasons it got such good mileage (I believe) was it was fitted from the factory with various plastic undertray bits. The oil change guys hated that car because you had to take several bits off just to reach the filter.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Yea my wife’s 07 Rabbit and my 09 Civic have a lot of undertrayage

          Interesting study in German vs Japanese engineering though. On my wife’s car the trays have to come off for an oil change; on my Civic they don’t. German engineering indeed.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          True that most cars do not use underbody aerodynamics. The Porsches he’s describing above do though. This is becoming more and more common and aerodynamics play a bigger and bigger role in fuel efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      Well the REAL real reason that wings produce lift is “the Navier Stokes Equations”. But that just doesn’t work as an explanation to non-engineers, so you need some form of simplifying language tools. “Angle of attack” and “air pressure above and below the wing” serve the purpose.

      Good discussion though.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Actually, I think a more accurate statement is that humans don’t know or understand the REAL reason that wings produce lift (if they even do so) – the science and mathematics of fluid dynamics (and mechanics in general) provides a sufficient approximation to reality such that we can manipulate materials and our environment to reliably create (or prevent) flying bodies.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          At no point in my recent flight training was any explanation other than the Bernoulli effect given as to how a wing produces lift. I’m not arguing, just pointing out what the current syllabus for a PPL teaches.

      • 0 avatar
        j.grif

        The real reason aircraft fly and cars go fast is money, science be damned!

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      Good point. Airplanes fly by simple action-re-action. Push air down, the plane goes up. This effect is obvious if you stick your angled hand out the window of a moving car. The air foil shape simply minimizes the drag associated with pushing the air down.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s not exactly how airplane flies. The momentum that you’re imagining imparted down is actually largely imparted into the circulation of vortices (at lower speeds). Although the downward momentum exists, but it does not account for all the force counteracting the weight, until the airplane reaches significant forward speed (how great depends on the aspect ratio).

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Came here to say something like this, but would have done so far less literately. Well done, sir (assuming from your handle).

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    HiFlite999: Tail device, correct!
    My Honda Civic Hybrid came with one….certainly it was not used for high speed performance.

  • avatar
    Elorac

    Actually that’s not how airplane wings work at all. There’s no reason that the air on top must transit the wing in the same time as that on the bottom. Fluid flow around wings is annoyingly complicated.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_(force)#False_explanation_based_on_equal_transit-time

    Edit: What sirwired said! (deletion pending)

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    http://www.camaro5.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=715046&stc=1&d=1431209581

    Proper use of a spoiler.

  • avatar
    ccode81

    Nice article to remind the old days spoiler was something special and added for functional reason.
    My favorite retractable was the one Lancia Thema 8.32 had

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The “faster speed/slower speed over different sections” wing explanation is no go, air doesn’t “meet” on the wing from end to end.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/9035708/Cambridge-scientist-debunks-flying-myth.html

    The shape of the wing pulls air up (or down)…. not the speed. Im nitpicking, I know but I have to.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “He was only three years old at the time so I was anxious not to kill him.”

    Yeah, sure, just wait until he’s seven.

    [/rough night last night]

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “…you’ve just failed the Voight-kampff for heterosexuality”

    I was unaware that the Tyrell Corporation Nexus 6 had any such proclivities. Or are you implying that homosexual individuals (human, not replicant) have different empathic responses to the questions in the test?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’m saying that

      a) No straight man cares how an attractive young woman is dressed. Period.

      b) Roy Batty was clearly gay: he spent time complaining about his parents instead of knocking it off with Pris.

  • avatar

    “He was only three years old at the time so I was anxious not to kill him.”

    Wait till he’s a teenager, your opinion may change. On the other hand, if you can survive his teen years, grandchildren are pretty cool.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    So you’re that guy who keeps holding me up in the drive-through line.

  • avatar
    robc123

    A spoiler on a Porsche is like a facelifted wayne newton singing danke schoen for the 20,000th time.

    Lame and slightly embarrassing.

    The design is now a cludge (rear engine) but rather than sing new songs, Porsche keeps trying to fix up the oldies.

    This is why the cayman and boxster are getting a 4 banger these 2015 models beat the pants off the 911.

    Imagine how good a 911 would be midengined with all their engineering
    re- tuned to a design that works?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I don’t know about that. Mid-engined four-seaters tend to be hit (Evora, Alpine A310) or miss (Mondial).

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        They will keep making 911s as long as people keep buying them.
        Moving the engine forward about a foot and a half would go very far to solve the weight imbalance problem that so much engineering has attempted to compensate for.

      • 0 avatar
        robc123

        Then put the engine in the front. Make a new design.

        It’s about sticking with a dated design that they tried in the 80’s (late 70s) to get out of.

        Works for a 912 and a bug but not today.
        Just to think of hanging a engine over the rear axle is insane. They should do a lightweight 912 with a 4 turbo, not in the cayman with a mid 6 that works.

        What car company would introduce a car with a engine hanging off the rear now?

        (maybe a KEI car, I will give you)

    • 0 avatar
      manbridge

      Good grief. Will the 911 ever lose its rep of “I’m gonna kill all drivers?” A lot of mid-engined cars are 45/55. 911 is 40/60. Big whoopity. This 911 myth needs its own story Jack!

      I would advise against Porsche retractable spoiler due to having the pain of working on them. Electrically controlled HYDRAULICS are what push the spoiler up. Why not just an electric motor? Somewhat Rube Goldberg, they leak. Always and eventually a gooey mess everywhere and failure to work. Heavy too.

      I have had my no-tail (pun intended as I’m happily married) stock 74 911 up to 125mph and it didn’t feel loosey-goosey to me. I also run 185/70 tires too. Of course it is maintained to the hilt and has an exceptional alignment performed by me-self. I’ve said for years, nothing drives as bad as an out of spec 911. It’s the difference between Red Wagon and Go Kart.

      Unless I was going to track rat my car I’ll continue to be a smooth ass.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        Some people can’t let go. I’ve never experienced those issue in my 911 either. I actually started looking at a Cayman and specifically a Cayman R. I went with a 911 because it had better interior room (I’m 6’3″), and let’s face it, I had a poster of a 911 growing up. I wanted to fulfill that fantasy I had as a kid and it’s never disappointed.

        Porsche isn’t stupid. They know it’s an old design, yet 911’s are raced every day. It’s an icon, and Porsche will build them as long as they are sold. No one can deny that the newest generations of Boxster/Cayman are amazing, and especially the GT4s, GTS, and Spyder variants.

  • avatar
    96E36M3

    Jack, many thanks for an interesting, informative, and fun to read article. The silly ‘everyone’s-an-idiot-except-me’ internet voice which is all to common on Jalopnik and unfortunately, TTAC, is tiresome. Real expertise, real experience, real explanation – this is what people (like me, anyway) want to read. I want to learn something about cars that I did not previously know. I appreciate your writing because it often comes as a response and correction to some silly know-it-all piece (as though the adult in the room steps over for a moment to correct the foolishness of arguing children). That you accomplish this with self-deprecating humor makes it all the better. Keep it up sir!

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Do any vehicles retract the spoiler for the sake of improved rearward visibility at low speeds?

  • avatar
    sixsixty

    FYI, the “Longer Path” theory of lift was discounted as a fallacy long ago. It’s a crime that schools keep teaching it. Here’s what NASA says …

    https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/wrong1.html

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