Austro-Hungarian aerodynamicist, Paul Jaray, patented his first automobile design in 1921. In 1922 he bodied an Audi, Ley and DIXI chassis to demonstrate his ideas. Despite the trio demonstrated notable improvements in speed and fuel economy, they were collectively called 'the ugly ducklings' by the press at the time. They were simply too unorthodox for the tastes of their time.
In 1927 Jaray bodied a 1924 Chrysler sedan for Swiss businessman, Paul Susmann. The car did much to publicize Jaray's ideas and the advantages of streamlining when it competed in a performance trial against a standard-bodied Chrysler, demonstrating a 30 kph speed advantage and improvements in fuel consumption over the standard automobile. This led more and more German and European car makers to initiate projects with Jaray. Sadly for Susmann, he went bankrupt in 1932 and was forced to sell the car.
By the 1930s Jaray's thinking had evolved and his designs were less Zeppelin-like and more wing-like. The result was a far more practical vehicle than Jaray's earlier experiments. He gave expression to these new ideas on the chassis of a Mercedes-Benz 200 and an Audi Front in 1934. Bodywork was constructed by the Swiss carosserie Huber & Brühwiler. The Mercedes was constructed as a four-seater and the Audi was a two-seater.
The Mercedes was exhibited to wide acclaim at the Geneva Motor Show in 1934 but due to mechanical trouble was unable to make it to the important Berlin Motor Show in March that year.
Having missed the Berlin Motor Show, Motor-Kritik wrote a separate review of the car in volume 15 which can be found in full here: https://motor-kritik.blogspot.com/2021/04/1934-motor-kritik-nr-15.html pages 353-356.
Report from Streamliner Headquarters.
The much-fought over, trivialized, and ridiculed streamlined body is now in unstoppable advance. The AG for vehicle patents in Lucerne, the owner of the 'main streamlined car protective rights', has been able to conclude agreements with a number of factories. Maybach, Daimler-Benz, Steyr, Tatra, Jawa and others are working on streamlined body designs. This success is mainly due to the fact that, instead of continuing to debate back and forth, they decided to put matters to the test and had modern chassis fitted with a real streamlined body. Through these practical examples, the advantages of this most natural body construction has been proven so conclusively that the objections of the opponents are silenced. Even if the chassis chosen for the bodywork is not ideally suited for the purpose, i.e., with the motor in the front and the floor set at the upper edge of the frame, the superiority and practicality of real streamlining is evident.
This streamlined body on an MB-200 chassis comfortably seats four people.
Only the real streamlined car allows such a panoramic view [Paul Jaray is seated behind the steering wheel on the right, with his wife, Olga Jehle, on the left].
The body also covers the wheels. The space otherwise taken up by the fenders and running boards is inside the car, which makes the interior very spacious. The large windows provide an unobstructed view on all sides. (A fender strip made of chrome-plated steel protects against lateral damage) Fig.1.
The shape of the real streamlined car solves the all-important ventilation problem in a very simple way. The dynamic pressure on the glazed streamlined hood allows for easily adjustable fresh air inside the car through the small, hinged window that can be seen at the front, which reliably prevents the ingress of engine gases, petrol fumes, etc. As a result, the occupants breathe fresh air, free from dust and gas fumes. Fig.2.
Side view of the same car. The elegance of the lines refutes the widespread prejudice that a streamlined car cannot be beautiful. Fig.3.
Rear of the four-seat Jaray streamline limousine. There is a large luggage compartment under the rear windows. Fig.4.
It can be seen that the fuselage corresponds to a section of an aircraft wing, while the structure represents half a streamlined body. Fig.5.
View from above of the streamlined Jaray limousine. You can clearly see how the peculiar shape of the car favours its motion through the air. The air flowing towards the moving car is not torn apart but pushed aside. Behind the car the air flow closes again without formation of a vortex as the shape of the stern promotes the smooth outflow of the distributed air. The license plate stays clean even on the dirtiest road, because the car never pulls up dirt from the road, even at the fastest speed, and because no dust can condense on the car shell, which is constantly surrounded by regulated air currents. Fig.6.
The adjacent picture of the front wheel recess and the adjacent body surface are nice and clean after a drive from Lucerne to Stuttgart in dirty weather, proving what is said above. Fig.7.
The streamlined body offers so much space that built-in containers for suitcases, for the petrol reserve etc. can be attached to the left and right of the front seats. In the streamlined Mercedes Benz 200 limousine shown here, 2 large suitcases have been installed to the left of the front seats, each measuring 60x70x15cm. Fig.8.
Behind the rear seats of a streamlined car, a luggage compartment that is completely closed off from the outside and thus absolutely protected against dust can be carved out. This is easily accessible from the inside of the car. In the luggage compartment of the streamlined limousine shown here, 3 large suitcases can be accommodated - one of them is not visible on the picture because it is behind the others. Besides there is space for files, bags and smaller luggage. Fig.9.
To the right of the front seats is the spare wheel in this streamlined body, next to which the jack. The wheel winch is located above, while below there is still space to accommodate cleaning rags, spare parts and the like. The wheel space is closed off from the interior of the car by a sheath (removed here). Fig.10.
Tools can be conveniently stowed under the bonnet. Here they are in zippered pockets, stored on each side of the engine, where they can be easily used. Fig. 11.
Open door. Fig.12.
Some of the measured values:
Acceleration with standard body vs streamlined body
37 seconds 60-90 km versus 24 seconds
26 seconds 30-80 km in direct gear versus 21 seconds
Operating weight of the MB 200 with streamlined body is 1360 kg (wet). According to these results, which are accompanied by a substantial saving in petrol, it would be nonsensical and a knowing waste of energy, money (foreign exchange) and health if we wanted to stick to the previously common body shape for much longer.
The Mercedes 200 was sold to Walter de Haas in the late 1930s. He exchanged the car for a Chevrolet in 1940 but the car remained in Switzerland until the engine was blown in the 1950s. The car was sold to a mechanic who had the car wrecked.
The Mercedes 200 in 1955 towards the end of its life.
Paul Jaray kept the Audi Front zweisitzer as his personal car into the 1950s. When the engine head had completely worn out and could not be honed down any further, he sold the car to a farmer on the outskirts of Lucerne, who used as a farm runabout until the car ran off the road into a tree and was destroyed.
Autocult has reproduced Paul Jaray's MB200 and Audi Front cars in 1/43 scale.