Spoilers ahead: 5 of your favorite factory downforce devices
A spoiler is a sports car staple, a tidy piece of aerodynamics that signals a car means business. We asked the Hagerty Forums readers to tell us their favorite factory spoilers last week and the answers spanned a wide range… almost as wide as a few of the suggestions.
On the track, big-wing muscle from MOPAR was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, the street-going versions of these racecars, manufactured per homologation rules, got little love in their day. The “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” motto was catchy, but the race car’s goofy design language just wasn’t popular with the buyers wandering onto Dodge and Plymouth lots. Though urban legend holds that Superbird and Daytona’s wings were sky-high due to a NASCAR rule regarding the trunk opening, that is a myth.
Built in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Javelin lived in the shadow of Detroit’s heavy hitters of the late 1960s. Trans Am racing was hot and, for 1970, Penske Racing took over the Javelin racing program—an interesting transition from the Chevrolet Camaro effort Penske had previously run. Mark Donohue was the driver of choice, and he left his imprint on the Javelin when he designed a one-piece ducktail spoiler for the race car. Homologation required that 2500 spoiler-equipped cars be sold to the public, a criterion satisfied by the resulting Javelin SST Mark Donohue model.
Chevrolet took a hard right turn when it redesigned the Camaro for the 1970 model year. The angular first-generation Camaro got a major nip and tuck, giving the sheetmetal a much more taut appearance. The resulting design fell much more in line with the European cars of its time but boasted a decidedly American twist. The factory spoiler stands as a dramatic piece of punctuation following the flowing roofline at the tail of the car. Slim yet substantive, the second-gen Camaro’s spoiler stood out in the Hagerty Forums comments as a crowd favorite.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
The two-tier wing on the Escort RS Cosworth is, like many wings on this list, race-inspired. However, the “Cossie” didn’t run the high banks or road courses. Instead the Cosworth-tuned Ford was a stage fiend, with its 227 Garrett-turbocharged horses propelling it to success in the World Rally Championship. Double the spoiler, double the downforce, right?
1975–1989 Porsche Carrera
The flat, tray-like wing affixed to the sloping back of Porsche 911 served two purposes. Yes, it created downforce, but it also helped to direct additional airflow to cool the boxer-six engine. When turbochargers entered the engine compartment, additional space was made in the wing to house the intercooler, implying that Porsche prioritized cooling the intake charge pipe over regulating the temperature of the cylinder heads. With the design’s massive depth and width trimmed with only a slight lip, the nickname “whaletail” surfaced—the aero piece appeared similar to a whale flipping its tail during a dive.
Is there a spoiler we missed, in your opinion? Be sure to leave it in a comment below, and while you are leaving comments, be sure to answer this week’s Question of the Week so we can include your answer in next week’s article based on the responses.