Here’s an old video that just resurfaced on Carbuzz.com showing us how each of the first six generations of Corvettes behaves in the wind tunnel.
While the C2 and C3 Corvettes look slippery and did perform better than the C1 in the wind tunnel, aerodynamics weren’t really a buzzword when they originally were designed.
Enthusiasts really began to pay attention to aerodynamics with the debut of the C4 in 1984, and we can see Chevrolet learning and making progress in that area with each succeeding generation.
It’s no surprise that the Corvette has increased its on-track and straight-line performance over the years as its slipperiness through the wind continues to improve.
Too bad this video was made in 2008 so it doesn’t include the C7, the most aerodynamic Corvette ever made.
The testing was done at the AeroDYN facility’s A2 wind tunnel in Mooresville, N.C., which provides a consistent aerodynamic environment at speeds from 30 to 85 mph to acquire quality data for its clients with a wide range of specialized testing services.
We found the most interesting parts of the video when the headlights were turned up on the C3, C4, and C5 Corvettes. The air flow suffered greatly when the lights were up, making us believe that Chevy knew what it was doing when it went to exposed headlights on the C6 and C7.
Incidentally, this video was originally commissioned by Super Chevy. You can see more about the results for each generation at: www.superchevy.com.
According to Super Chevy in an April 2009 posting:
Dave Salazar, A2’s general manager, and Tunnel Operator/Technician Bob Smith handled all the nuts and bolts of running eight Corvettes through the tunnel in a span of two hectic days, making sure that all the results were comparable. They also handled the time-consuming chore of lining up the cars for the tests. The tests for all cars (called “blows” in wind-tunnel jargon) were performed at 85 mph thanks to four fans and 640 hp worth of electric motors pulling air across the cars. The A2 tunnel also uses a special floor in the test section to simulate the aerodynamic effect of the road surface moving underneath the car. In case you doubt these guys take their job seriously, they also made the effort to set the air pressure at 30 psi in every tire on every car that rolled through the tunnel. Finally, each car was tested in three different configurations: empty, with two passengers to simulate a more realistic road-going attitude with weight in the seats, and with two passengers and the headlights exposed (if applicable).