Is a Sports Car More Aerodynamically Efficient Going Backward Than Forward?
Explanation: An automotive rumor has motored around the Internet for years, claiming that certain sports cars would run better if their bodies had been designed backward. Supposedly, the sleek shapes would cut through the air more aerodynamically if the backs of the cars became the fronts.
Intrigued by — and skeptical of — the idea of this switcheroo, MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage decided to take the sports-car myth for a spin.
First, they saddled up a sports car and put it through three aerodynamics tests: a quarter-mile time trial, zero to 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour acceleration test and a fuel-efficiency test. Then, they took the sports car to the shop, flipped around its body to face backward and retested the three aerodynamics trials.
The backward-facing car failed on all three fronts, with an 18 percent slower quarter-mile speed, 7.5 percent slower acceleration time and 44 percent lower fuel efficiency. A head-to-head race between forward- and backward-facing sports cars of identical makes and models put the final brakes on the busted myth, as the forward-facing car crossed the finish line first.