Aerodynamics

Geddes car. It was so far ahead we can only hope it arrives today!

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

More than thirty years have passed since the beginning of the long and eventful story of car aerodynamics and yet, apart from some intermittent sports experimentations, nothing particular had been revealed: the cars of the day consisted of a voluminous bonnet, a shiny radiator, flashy fenders and a large cabin for passengers. Everyone was happy like that. Or almost. With his model for the 1939 Futurama exhibition in NEW York, the creative genius of Bel Geddes proposed a vehicle that concluded a journey he started in 1931 with the Motorcar Number 8 project. In his city of the future – he presented a monumental plastic with magnificently streamlined and rationally minivan-shaped cars with no fewer than eight wheels which were subsequently reduced to six.

Geddes’ first project in 1931 was a minivan with a large stabilizing fin with four traditional wheels

The car also featured a large vertical stabilizer, or rudder, in its tail, 

which, with the evolution of the 1934 project, named Motorcar Number 9, was eliminated while elegant fairings were added to the wheels to accentuate the teardrop shape. A design that also made the rear much more charming and futuristic.

Geddes had an undeniably forward-thinking vision, because he combined the rationality and spaciousness of the interior (with six or seven seats), with the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. A theme that was certainly not in vogue at the time.

The final version, named Motorcar Number 9 from 1934, abandoned the fin and adopted four rear wheels

Although in the 1930s streamlining was beginning to capture everyone’s attention, just like in other cases, and we’re referring to those of Jaray and Rumpler (see numbers … and … in TCCT’s Aerodynamics “drawer”, the idea of Geddes remained a project. But it goes to show that the Futurama exhibition was heading in the right direction. There is a pretty good chance that in the coming years, this magnificent car will become a reality. And it’s up to us to enjoy it. Think about it, it’s still ahead of its time today.

What if tomorrow’s cars were like this? Geddes’ idea was so far ahead we can still dream about it today. Worthy of note the singular, forward driving position with 5 or 6 passengers located behind