Know Thy Germans: 1921 Rumpler Tropfenwagen, a Slippery Tugboat

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Lady and gentlemen, we present for your viewing pleasure, a creation of Edmund Rumpler. This mid-engined mechanical marvel, the product of wartime aviation experience and sheer Germanness, featured a W6 engine long before Volkswagen began fusing Vs together. Winglets, a teardrop-shaped cabin and body, and that gnarly center headlight, somehow conspire to produce a super-slippery drag coefficient. When the boys at V-Dub pulled one out of the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin in 1979 and ran it through their wind tunnel, the Tropfenwagen returned an astonishing figure of 0.27 Cd. (They wouldn't be able to create a peoples' coefficient that low until the 1988 Passat.) Keep in mind, Rumpler's creation predated even the concept of a digital computer. Sadly, the high point of the Topfenwagen's life was when a couple of them were torched for fun in the famous 1927 Fritz Lang movie, Metropolis. Only two remain in German Museums, where I'm sure they're kept company by other vacky but precise Deutchland flotsam.

Some 1/43 scale model pics, best available to see the tail and the top: 1921 Rumpler Tropfenwagen Model. Check the gallery for a "fold your own Rumpler." Fun for the whole family!

This image was lost some time after publication.

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