The Rumpler Tropfenwagen was a odd yet advanced car developed by Austrian
engineer Edmund Rumpler. Rumpler had worked primarily as a designer of
airplanes, when in 1921 he introduced his Tropfenwagen at the Berlin
Auto Show. That car is historically credited as being the first truly
and purposely designed streamline car (predating the Chrysler Airflow
and Tatra T107 from Czechoslovakia). Oddly enough, the car was designed
to cut wind resistance vertically, not horizontally.
mid-engined mechanical marvel, the product of Rumpler’s wartime aviation
experience, featured a W6 engine with three banks of paired cylinders,
all working on a common crankshaft. Winglets, a teardrop-shaped cabin
and body, and that cycloptic center headlight, somehow conspired to
produce a super-slippery drag coefficient of .28 - a reading that is
quite low even by today’s standards. As many as 80 Rumplers were made,
including two that were featured and then set aflame in the German
silent science fiction film “Metropolis” (1927). Today, only two Rumpler
Tropfenwagen examples are known to exist.