Three steps into the future

The brilliance and passion of baron Reinhard Koenig Von Fachsenfeld anticipated the direction of German car design.
With the valuable support, depth of knowledge and illustrative talent of Prof. Massimo Grandi

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

Our look back over the history of aerodynamics, which began at the start of the last century, has taught us two things: first, that automotive innovation has always been impeded by the fact that customers want the reassurance of familiar and well-established lines, and are therefore little inclined to accept new and unusual shapes.

In 1931, German aristocrat Reinhard Koenig Von Fachsenfeld, having enjoyed success as a racer, created his first car based on DKW mechanics, calling it the Record Wagen. It was immediately clear that he had a keen interest in aerodynamics as a means of enhancing performance

The second is that efficient, streamlined forms are inspired by the air. And here we are thinking of airships more than planes. Paul Jaray’s patents of the early 1920s were studied and interpreted by numerous enthusiasts, including Reinhard Koenig Von Fachsenfeld, a German aristocrat who was passionate about motorcycles and cars, which he raced successfully. Indeed, as we see here, he created several cars of considerable historical interest. 

Impressed by Reinhard Koenig Von Fachsenfeld’s vision, the heads of the Daimler Benz racing department commissioned him to build a single-seater with SSKL mechanics, suitable for very fast tracks like Avus. The resulting car was driven to victory by Manfred von Brauchitsch

In 1931 he built a lovely aerodynamic sedan, based on DKW mechanics. This car, which he confidently named “Record”, caught the attention of Daimler Benz, which was looking to build a single-seater on SSKL mechanics. Von Fachsenfeld came up with a clean, essential-looking car, devoid of any element that might interfere with the airflow around the vehicle. Indeed, it resembled an airplane fuselage. In 1932, Manfred von Brauchitsch drove it to victory on the Avus circuit.

In 1937 Reinhard Koenig Von Fachsenfeld, building on Jaray’s patents, unveiled the BMW 328 Streamlinien. Every last detail of this car was carefully thought out; the recessed door handle, for example, was designed to eliminate airflow resistance

In 1936, after purchasing Jaray’s patents, Reinhard Koenig Von Fachsenfeld, taking the BMW 328 series model as his starting point, developed two versions of his BMW Wendler Streamlinien. In the 1930s, great store was set by managing to combine esthetics and aerodynamic efficiency, and in this sense these cars represented an important achievement. Unveiled in 1937, the BMW 328 Streamlinien conveyed a clear message concerning the technical-aesthetic trend that would be followed by German cars in the future.

The BMW 328 Streamlinien stands out for the simplicity and purity of its lines. Moreover, the position of the driver’s seat, which is shifted backwards somewhat, and the overhanging spare wheel allow better weight distribution
The rear of the vehicle, clearly inspired by the principles applied by Jaray, features the teardrop shape designed to optimize aerodynamic flows