Detroit Auto Show – 2015 NAIAS

The Detroit auto show, is the place to be if you want to see the latest and greatest from the OEM auto manufactures. I was lucky enough to be requested by a my friend Kelly (www.TexasTypeAMom.com) to attend the Detroit auto show, the 2015 North American International Auto Show. While I was there, I was with the Ford Digital Summit group and researched the Ford line up for her website. Honestly though, I was impressed with Ford. Their engineering and aerodynamic improvements were better than most of the other brands. I am always looking for new ideas, techniques and technology to adapt into the car builds. I prefer to learn and emulate rather than judge them based on its brand. While I can not show you everything at the Detroit auto show, I will show you some of the highlights from a hot rodding perspective.

Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the the three-day NAIAS Digital Summit. I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. My opinions posted here are my own. – Matt

First off, check out the press releases from Ford.


The new Ford performance vehicles are driving innovation to pretty much all their models. Ford is using an aerodynamic design feature from these flagships. They have created an air barrier (“Air Curtain”) at the front wheel openings to reduce drag. They are channeling the smooth air from the front of the vehicle into an opening, duct it through the front fender, and create an exit port at the outboard edge of the inner fender. The ducted air exiting the inner fender over the wheel and tire promotes smooth air flow over the side of the wheel and tire that would normally be turbulent air. Basically, the ducted air promotes laminar airflow down the side of the body. The logic behind this is to minimize drag and get better fuel economy.

This next photo is my interpretation of how this works

detroit auto show
The High velocity air from the duct enhances the formation of smooth air flow (laminar air flow) around the wheel opening and continues along the body of the car. Thus reducing drag from turbulent air and overall increasing fuel economy.

The next shot is of the exit port in the inner fender

Ingenious use of the natural laws of science. Make the vehicle glide through the air better to use less power and burn less fuel. Seen in this photo is the air duct exit point that creates the "Air curtain" at the wheel opening.
Ingenious use of the natural laws of science. Make the vehicle glide through the air better to use less power and burn less fuel. Seen in this photo is the air duct exit port that creates the “Air curtain” at the wheel opening.

Everything from the Mustang to the F-150 had these air curtains

The 2015 Mustang uses the Air curtain technology also.
The 2015 Mustang uses the Air curtain technology also.
The 2015 Mustang
The 2015 Mustang

 

Ford really took their time hiding these inlet and exit ducts. I think this is one of the reasons I like this innovation – it’s subtle and effective.

The F-150 Trucks also use the Air Curtain technology. The inlet ducts are directly above the fog lights.
The F-150 Trucks also use the Air Curtain technology. The inlet ducts are directly above the fog lights.
The air curtain ducts are barely visible with the newly redesigned F-150 front fascia.
The air curtain ducts are barely visible with the newly redesigned F-150 front fascia.

 

After seeing this new tech, I wanted to take this design and modify it to serve a dual purpose. My thought was that one could duct the air around the wheel as seen here and also duct the air to the brakes for cooling with a “Y” in the duct.

I did not see any other OEM manufacturer making use of the air curtain technology.  In fact, GM and Dodge were using a different design. Aerodynamic splitters with fender extensions at the edges. The extensions at the edges are nearly perpendicular to the air stream. These produce more down force on the nose at high speeds.

The new Cadillac ATS-V has an itegrated splitter / air dam
The new Cadillac ATS-V has an integrated splitter / air dam with the fender extensions at the edges of the splitter

 

ATS-V
ATS-V
The underside of the ATS-V is very flat and compact.
The underside of the ATS-V is very flat and compact, another aerodynamic feature. This angle shows the fender extensions at the edge of the splitter pretty good.

 

The big press release from Cadillac was the announcement of the CTS-V with its 640Hp and 630Tq. Check out part of their press release I was fortunate enough to get in on.

CTS-V
CTS-V    Its hard to see the fender extension that continues into the splitter in this photo. But this is what a 200 mph car looks like…

CTS-V close up of the front clip

 

The highest trim package on the C7  Z06 vette (the Z07 aerodynamic package) also uses fender extensions with winglets, carbon fiber splitter, hood heat extractor, and an adjustable wickerbill spoiler. These extensions on the edges of the splitter were the most extreme on the production vehicles I saw. All of these aerodynamic add-ons are for downforce.

sports car or race car?
sports car or race car? check out all the aerodynamic additions
The splitter and fender extensions are out in the slip stream, but they provide the necessary down force at high speed.
The splitter and fender extensions are out in the slip stream, but they provide the necessary down force at high speed.

The Dodge brothers were attacking aerodynamics pretty much the same way.

The HellCat Challenger uses a splitter and extension, as well as heat extractors. Pretty cool car
The HellCat Challenger uses a splitter and extension, as well as heat extractors. Pretty cool car
Front view looks good.
Front view looks good.

Next HellCat … the ChargerCharger

 

No splitter or fender extensions on this model...
No splitter or fender extensions on this model…

I was impressed with some aftermarket additions to this Challenger. Again, great ideas to adapt to older cars, check out these next few photos of this green Challenger.

All the OEMs have a factory race car - pretty good ideas here
All the OEMs have a factory race car – pretty good ideas here
Side seat trim idea
Side seat trim idea
Very cool racing harness bar attachment points
Very cool racing harness bar attachment points
I actually really like the entire design of this harness bar.
I actually really like the entire design of this harness bar. I think we G-body guys could make something like this very easy.

 

I typically like 2 door cars over 4 door cars, but Cadillac, Dodge, and Chrysler all had some pretty cool 4 door high performance vehicles. This Chrysler 300 also had some nice attributes.

Chrysler 300 had some pretty cool designs also.
Chrysler 300 had some pretty cool designs also.

I think the Chrysler 300 Seats would work very well in a G-body with the angles and pleating in the seats

Check out the seats in the 300
Check out the seats in the 300 – maybe a G-body substitue?

Very cool cars at the Detroit auto show from the big three. The foreign market had a few pretty good looking cars too, but people were always in the way when I wanted to take photos. The last video here is with some of the other cars, but just without a clear shot. Enjoy!

 

So whats next? Back to work on the HotRodRegal and the LSX El Camino with the final exhaust installs, electric cut-outs, Ididit steering columns, and a how to True Trac video! Keep checking back for the latest tech installs from our garages.

-Matt

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