When asked what is an Aero Car, most of us will say it is the 1969 Ford Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, Dodge Daytona, Dodge Charger 500 and 1970 Plymouth Superbird. If you answered this way you are WRONG! These are the Aero Cars we love but are they the only ones?
This is obviously a trick question. First off, aerodynamics have impacted car design for nearly a century. How many of you remember the Chrysler Air Flow?
This was the first, or one of the first, to go all out on aerodynamic design. Of course, today every new car on the road relies on strong aerodynamic principles to achieve higher miles per gallon and lower emissions.
So we must be talking about NASCAR or racing Aero Cars. Yes, most of us recognize the 1969 and 1970 race seasons as the pinnacle of limited production specially built cars with exceptional aerodynamics to win races. There is no question that in these two years there were some very wild limited production factory car shapes built just to win races. As fast as they were they disappeared just as quickly never to return again. Or, did they do it again?
As much as many of us would like to believe that our Aero Cars were the only ones built just to go racing, they weren’t!
The second generation of NASCAR Aero Car.
There were at least two generations of NASCAR special edition Aero Cars! As you know, the first were the 1969 Dodge Charger 500, 1969 Ford Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II and Dodge Daytona. The 1970 Plymouth Superbird is also included in this group. The second round of Aero Cars were the 1986 and 1987 Monte Carlo SS and 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 Aero Coupes.
The 1969 Ford Talladega won the NASCAR Championship in 1969, the 1969 Dodge Daytona won the 1970 Championship and the Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe won both the 1986 and 1987 Championships. From this it is evident that the special aerodynamic modifications on both generations of these special production cars really did the job they were intended to do!
This 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II has very similar sheet metal to the Ford Talladega but is completely different and slightly more aerodynamic.
What is special about the SS Monte Carlo Aero Coupe and Gran Prix 2+2?
Both the Chevy and Pontiac had special aero front ends with greatly improved aerodynamics over the regular Monte Carlo and Grand Prix. Just like the Charger 500, Daytona and Superbird these cars also got a very special rear window and shortened rear deck. All street cars were produced with a 305 cubic inch V8 choked with mandatory emissions equipment. These street cars were ok for the day but are far from competitive with older car or more modern
Production of this cars were limited but they were built in far greater numbers than any other Aero Car other than the Superbird. The Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 Aero Coupe was only built in 1986. That year they built 1,225 units. The Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe was built in 1986 and 1987. Total production in the first year was only 200 units making it the rarest of the Aero Cars. However, Chevy fixed that with total production of 6,052 nearly identical 1987 SS Aero Coupes in 1987.
In this time period Chevy was racing against most of it GM counterparts; Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac all fielded competitive cars. Ford raced its Thunderbird and Dodge had retired from racing.
What do you think, are there other aero production cars built just for NASCAR?