Aerodynamics

Rumpler Tropfenwagen
From the seaplane to the road

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

For a mechanical genius who, in order to meet the requirements of the First World War, passed from cars to planes, it is somewhat easy to be inspired by the latter to create an everyday car. Edmund Rumpler, who created the famous Rumpler Taube monoplane during the war and who also studied magnificent seaplanes for passenger transport, was inspired by the floats of the seaplane when he created his own car at the end of the conflict.

The mighty seaplane designed by Rumpler and never built housed passengers inside the wings

The Tropfenwagen was the result and it was presented as a as a five-seater torpedo prototype in 1919 with all kinds of innovations. First of all the shape, rigorously aerodynamic to the point of having, in a sort of bow configuration, two headlights placed vertically one beneath the other.

The first torpedo designed in 1919 with central driving position plus four comfortable seats

Then, horizontal mud wings were mounted above the disc wheel to protect the body sides from splashing without generating any forward resistance. And not only that: a rear mounted onboard engine was built in unit with the gearbox and final drive coupled to his patented swing-axle independent rear suspension. Drum brakes on all four wheels, steel rims to reduce turbulence, and even two spare wheels housed under the floor in a special compartment made the Tropfenwagen something truly unique for its time.

From the drawings you can see the perfect weight distribution with the inboard engine-transmission block, the patented swing-axle independent rear suspension and the housing for the two spare wheels in the underbody locker

Presented at the 1921 Berlin Auto Show also in a closed version, it was also surprising for the abundant interior space with an advanced, central driver position and four rear seats for passengers. Will it be successful? One week to find out! Here.

The Berlin Motor Show in 1921 also featured the Touring torpedo version with traditional mudguards