The Rumpler Tropfenwagen is one of the most ahead-of-its-time, pioneering automobiles ever. Released in 1921, it was the first car to have actual, real aerodynamic considerations when designed. Of course, when Edmund Rumpler designed it, he didn’t have access to all the aerodynamic tools and knowledge, so he had to figure it out the best he could.
So how did he do? Well, we didn’t really know until 1979, when a bunch of curious (bored?) Volkswagen engineers took one from VW’s collection and stuck it in their fancy new wind tunnel to test it.
You know what they found? This old teardrop had a drag coefficient of 0.28. That’s astoundingly good. For comparison, a 2021 Chevrolet Corvette, the new mid-engined one (a trait it owes to Rumpler, too) gets a 0.29 in the wind tunnel, and, remember, higher is not better here.