Can this Jet-Powered Mercedes Supercar Make Airplanes Obsolete?
We’ll find out in 2040.
Korean designer Minwoong Im has some ideas of how Mercedes should resurrect its legendary W196 “Streamliner” grand prix racer of 1954. Come 2040, the famous racer should return using a jet engine for power, he proposes.
His thinking is that, by that time, population will be extremely concentrated in cities that are distant from one another and people will need a high-speed alternative to airlines to make journeys between them. Enter the autonomous jet car.
Back in ’54, as now, grand prix racing cars were open-wheel, open-cockpit machines. Those spinning tires create significant aerodynamic drag, and at that time rules did not prevent Mercedes from building a version of their race car with bodywork that enclosed the wheels for reduced high-speed drag. The result was the original W196.
Im’s tribute to that car also uses enclosed bodywork to reduce drag, but now for the purpose of high-speed inter-city transport on superhighways. Im doesn’t predict a top speed, but this jet car is expected to reach 400 mph, for comparison.
We don’t know whether the twin jet engines are a practical idea, but we can be sure that their exhaust would reduce tailgating problems.