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nascar aerodynamics ca 1966

nascar aerodynamics ca 1966

nascar aerodynamics ca 1966

Back in 1966 this info (attached image) appeared in the late, great Roger Huntington's column in Car Life. This issue with the FORD GT on the front.

GM Chevy Power books of the 70s, and MOPAR Direct Connection technical info of the same era also talked about the heretic blasphemous possibility of simultaneously reducing (bluff body) drag and lift by various means, a slightly lowered nose being one.
1 - I'm wondering if the 1966 "discovery" was the meat and potatoes behind the broad general statements 5 or 10 years later by Chevy and Mopar.
Seems like it might apply slightly usefully to my vehicles, most of whose styling is at least that old, but rrely reach NASCAR Daytona speeds.
2 - To my eye modern cars have a bit of that nose down "style" built in.
~ with the angled lower window edge/belt line (style only)
~ the curved roof defies comparison/evaluation
~ perhaps slightly related, some cars rocker panels appear to indicate a slight nose down tilt to the undercarriage which I think might have been a big chunk of the 1966 phenomenon

RE: nascar aerodynamics ca 1966

The 1966 Ford Galaxie was a sort of softened version of the 1965 Ford Galaxie.
Both had the aerodynamics of a brick, or maybe a wooden block plane.
The race versions were much simpler and cleaner in the wheel arches and around the window openings, probably to save weight and simplify dynamic tweaking during pit stops, not for aero benefit.
Both race versions were lowered relative to the corresponding street car, and not necessarily by the same amount f/r. ... so, yeah, they had a 'rake'.

WRT rocker panels, the bottoms of street car rocker panels were set at a height that looked good in the showroom. Seen from a distance, there was a lot of frame hanging down below the rocker boxes. The racecars brought the rocker boxes down flush-ish with the frame as seen from a distance. My personal opinion is that this reduced the effective frontal area of the car, because the tortured airflow under the car might as well be bluff body area.

If anyone was seriously tuning aerodynamics back then, they were keeping real quiet about it. I'm pretty sure Penske was doing it, and keeping quiet about it. Ex: Mark Donohue's Camaros had flush fitting side windows, decades before they appeared in street cars, decades before anyone noticed.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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