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Cars with Propellers, Part 2


"QUANTUM SHOT" #875
Link - article by Avi Abrams




Schlörwagen, or simply the "Pillbug", built in 1936 and still looking fantastic today!

We left this streamlined beauty out of the last article on purpose - it warrants much closer look, especially since the circumstances of its creation during the Third Reich and the subsequent loss of the only working model add a touch of mystery to the whole affair... Plus this "pill" does not look dated at all, in fact, it looks as though it was just created on a computer for automotive design competition, or something that Hollywood might conceive for its next futuristic movie vehicle.


(image via)


So, take a look at this sleek black shape under the propeller a true marvel of technology for 1936. Professor Karl Schlör from AVA (an Aerodynamic Testing Institute in Göttingen) came up with a rear-mounted-engine aerodynamic shape with an unbelievable drag coefficient of 0.13 - and presented the completed working concept car in 1939 at the Berlin Auto Show (the 1939 Berlin Auto Show asks for its own article on DRB - it showcased multitude of sleek, beautiful cars, surrounded by the Nazi propaganda hysteria and overall sense of impending war and doom).






Here you see the wind tunnel testing (achieving a drag coefficient of 0.113, a number that everyone found hard to believe at first, and which is considered very impressive even today, with all computer-based modeling and testing):



(images via)


Believe it or not, this futuristic dream machine was slated into production for 1939! I want to see this alternative universe in which the war did not happen, and Germany is full of these lovely "pillbugs" lying the newly-constructed autobahn system:




This interesting image presents an original blueprint (showing near-perfect aerodynamic design) superimposed over the concept car:


(image via Neil Blanchard)


You can see why the car was lovingly called "the pill", the shape is very distinctive and reminiscent of Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion experimentation in the 1950s:



(images via)


"The whereabouts of the sole functioning model remain unknown"

And now, returning to a propeller-equipped prototype, we find quite an interesting story: somebody brought to Professor Karl Schlör the Russian war trophy, a huge propeller taken from a Soviet experimental snow vehicle...




After that the story gets progressively weirder, and according to one account, "it was sent to Finland for more experiments... before being returned to Germany just before May 1945 - then seized by the British in their zone and supposedly taken back to London where it might still reside somewhere!!"




Other bizarre aerodynamic shapes (propeller-equipped, or not) abounded in Germany in the 1930s

We will possibly devote an article to this abundance of beautiful and strange streamlined forms from the 1930s Germany, but for now here are a couple of odd ones. First, there is a 1938 Kamm Stromlinie... and under it you see the weird 1922 German home-built streamlined car, which by the looks of it, would benefit from a propeller attached to it:


(image via)

(image via)


We also love this vintage streamlined bus design, shown by Daimler Benz in 1935:




Fantomas Escape Vehicle: The Essential 1960s Citroen DS, with... wings

Who needs propellers when you can attach wings and jet engines to a Citroen DS for an ultimate fashion statement... er, well, also an escape vehicle for a groovy 1960s evil scientist and a crime lord Fantomas! This movie is beyond campy and yet so much fun, if you can find it today -




(image via)


Modern Propeller Car Concept: the Peugeot Blade

Dreamed up for the 5th Peugeot Design Contest, this interesting entry from Singapore (shortlisted as the top 30 design in the world) incorporates the full-size wind turbine, which generates electricity for four individual electric motors housed in the wheels:




(images via)


And we finish with a beautiful "Fantastic Four" flying car, which seems to be a true successor to the propeller- and wind turbine- powered dream cars of the 1930s and 1950s:



Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.


READ PART 1 HERE ->


CONTINUE TO "AMAZING VEHICLES" SERIES ->





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