1981 GM Aero X Concept
Aerodynamic and attractive
There are many aerodynamic features on production cars today that go unnoticed, but in the early eighties the same ideas were visionary.
The fiber glass-bodied Aero X included design features such as flush glass and door handles, a grille-less front with under-the-bumper air inlets for engine cooling, and wheels positioned outward, flush with the body panels. Those features and more would be passed along to subsequent concepts and production vehicles.
As seen in the photo it was fitted with flush wheel covers but what is not easily visible are the flexible spacers that were incorporated into each wheel well. The spacers smoothed airflow around the wheel openings, without interfering with wheel movement.
Although less innovative, another design factor contributing to reduced wind drag (at least when supplemental lighting wasn’t needed) were concealed, pop-up headlights.
Although this is a General Motors (i.e., no specific division) concept, the rear designs shares quite a bit with that of Pontiac’s soon to be released 1982 Firebird and Trans Am (which, anecdotally, was GM’s most aerodynamic production vehicle through 1983).
The Aero X also gave attention to airflow movement under the car as there were wedge-like deflectors under the front end that moved un-needed air under the car and around the tires.