Teardrop Cars

Teardrop Cars

Aerodynamically, the shape of a drop of water faces the least air resistance, so in the years running up to the Second World War, numerous ŠKODA vehicles strove to replicate this “teardrop” look.

27. 3. 2018 Classic cars

ŠKODA was engaged in a full-scale model offensive in 1934 and 1935, during which the top-selling 420 POPULAR was joined by the new ŠKODA 640 – SUPERB and the compact RAPID sedan. The ultimate highlight of the 1935 Prague Motor Show, however, was the ŠKODA 935 DYNAMIC prototype.



The designers, having decided to adhere as much as they possible could to the rules of aerodynamics, came up with a highly unusual streamlined body whose drag coefficient (cx) was just 0.37. To put that in context, that’s the same resistance as the 1995 Ferrari F50.

One of the most exciting parts was the rear section, featuring a fin designed to increase driving stability when the car was haring along at speeds of up to 140 km/h. Another unconventional design element was the backbone chassis with a fixed central tube used as a 40-litre fuel tank. At the time, this big four-door car, 4.8 metres in length, embodied a futuristic idea of what a prestigious car should look like. The ŠKODA designers managed to keep the body lightweight by using a combination of of aluminium and steel (the car’s kerb weight was a mere 1,170 kg).

Aerodynamics was also a highlight feature in other pre-war ŠKODAs. The research that was invested in the 935 produced results that were later put to use, for example, in 1936’s ŠKODA POPULAR MONTE CARLO. This model was inspired by Zdeněk Pohl and Jaroslav Hausmann, who, driving a POPULAR SPORT, had come second in their category at the enormously difficult Monte Carlo Rally in January 1936. Their roadster covered the 3,852 km from Athens to Monaco in four days. skoda_popular


ŠKODA made 70 POPULAR MONTE CARLO roadsters and coupés in the space of two years. The car featured a water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke SV engine (1,385 ccm, 31 hp, rear-wheel drive), and the bodywork versions available differed in many details. The coupé was particularly interesting as its headlamps were fully integrated into the wings, which were covered with grilles mirroring the style used for the radiator grille. The brakes were hydraulic. Some of those who bought the car were also intriguing. Two cars, for example, were sold to Peter II of Yugoslavia.



Only a dozen or so of these cars still exist. One of them is part of the ŠKODA MUSEUM’s collection in Mladá Boleslav. The aerodynamic series also includes the ŠKODA RAPID SIX, a 1935 sports coupé. Only four were made, all of them intended for sports and racing use (they competed, for instance, in the One Thousand Czechoslovak Miles race). Fitted with the engine used in the ŠKODA 637, this two-seater coupé reached speeds of upvto 130 km/h.



The 532 and 536 bus prototypes also featured aerodynamic rear sections. The triple-axle 532 with independent suspension on all wheels was particularly impressive. Its rear-mounted <a href="https://goo.gl/7ydmKj" target="_blank" rel="noopener">engine</a> was separated from the 35-seater passenger compartment by a soundproofed partition and could be reached via a hatch. The wheels on both rear axles were skirted for improved aerodynamics. The upcoming war, however, halted the development of these prototypes.</p>



Truly one of a kind…

The only ŠKODA 935 DYNAMIC ever produced was intended for further research and development after premiering at the 1935 Prague Motor Show. However, it was sold by the carmaker to a private buyer in the summer of 1939, only to make its way back to the newly opened ŠKODA Museum in 1968, becoming one of the embryonic collection’s first ten cars.


“The vehicle was in a sorry state when it came to the Museum. It had been brush-painted purple, and parts were missing, but it was still operational,” says Restoration Workshop coordinator Michal Velebný. In 2012, ŠKODA decided to completely renovate this aerodynamic beauty, but the archive offered little to go on. “We encountered quite a few challenges during the restoration process, so I am very proud that the finished article is completely faithful to the original, including the paint color,” says Velebný.



After three years’ arduous exterior renovation, the ŠKODA 935 cut a dash at its second “premiere” at Bensberg Castle in July 2015. It then took another year or so to renovate the interior and functions. “The renovation was enormously difficult, as many parts had to remade,” adds Michal Velebný. While the ŠKODA 935 DYNAMIC is a grand car, by today’s standards its interior is rather cramped. The wood and period upholstery evoke the atmosphere of interwar salons.



The driver has a job to adapt to the position of the thin steering wheel (with no power steering) and to the very stiff pedals, which must be stepped on from above, so resting one’s heel against the floor is out of the question. Consequently, travelling in heavy traffic requires some skill, but at high speeds the car is in its element.




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