Aerodynamics

Metropolis cars, nipped in the bud.
In the film by Fritz Lang the last two Tropfenwagen

With the valuable support of Prof. Massimo Grandi's depth of knowledge and illustrative talent

Photo credit: Some images are taken from the book Asi Service "Quando le disegnava il vento" by Massimo Grandi

In the famous film Metropolis by Fritz Lang, set in a very distant 2026, we witness the destruction of two Pullman versions of the Rumpler A4. A two-fold message: one that tells how different and innovative the cars of the future will be and the other, rather heart-breaking considering the effort Edmund Rumpler put into creating them, the imminent failure of the Tropfenwagen project. After the first Torpedo proposal, the series production model arrived in 1921, with the name Type OA 104.

The differences between the configuration with spoked wheels (blue) and disc variants can be seen in the front and rear views and in the drawing of the closed version of the Tropfenwagen on the right
The differences between the configuration with spoked wheels (blue) and disc variants can be seen in the front and rear views and in the drawing of the closed version of the Tropfenwagen on the right

Two versions were made, one with spoked wheels and the other with more aerodynamic steel discs. The sides were also different, with the spoked wheeled version having a much more pronounced curvature. However, the numerous technical innovations of the car were not enough to convince the public about the language of tomorrow. It was simply too far ahead of its time.

The limousine pullman version with the special trunks placed at the rear. Two of these models were destroyed during the filming of the film Metropolis
The limousine pullman version with the special trunks placed at the rear. Two of these models were destroyed during the filming of the film Metropolis

Rumpler attempted to mitigate the innovative details by introducing conventional mudguards, adding a new Touring Torpedo version and also presenting the Pullmann Limousine version with greater roominess and a compartment for custom-made trunks, but it still wasn’t enough, and sales never took off. Production stopped at just 90 cars, with two of the last ones made destroyed in the Metropolis film.

Curved window glass, perfectly tapered shape and disc wheels gave the Tropfenwagen a sporty character
Curved window glass, perfectly tapered shape and disc wheels gave the Tropfenwagen a sporty character