Yeah, I agree. There was some old story about GM calculating the cost of fighting lawsuits compared to fixing the bolt that hooked a muffler to the gas tank. I guess they were exploding and killing people.
I have the notion that Macnamara talked about it in his movie "The Fog of War"...and that the few dollars per car was more than the hundreds of thousands in lawsuits. Then again, I have a terrible memory so it might have been an urban myth.
I'd like to think that they found other problems with the underbelly pans that we don't know about (like rust from water collection or cooling issues.) Or perhaps that it wasn't as important as we think.
PS: I also remember that the old Porsche 911s (1970s at least) were fully contained underneath. (until the way back) Motorheads have pointed out that it enabled Porsches to go faster with less horsepower than the American muscle car equivalents.
I've been noticing on HCH-II's here that a small lip spoiler is standard. I always thought that a spoiler was for downforce -- but apparently it must serve some function of "finishing" the air over the car for efficiency:
Yes I think the spoiler was put there for aero reasons. If you look at it from farther forward, you can see that it is not "flat" or parallel to the trunklid, but has about a 30 degree slope. This corresponds to what Phil Knox told me: the optimal angle for a trunklid spoiler was 30 degrees (I think-let me check back in my emails). He said angles above or below this would create more drag (on a typical sedan shape).
I think that a flat extention(or slightly downward sloping) would be beneficial for vans trucks and hatchbacks.
now that the picture is there, how much do you think the antenna on the top affects aerodynamic drag. I take it off when I am driving the car on the hwy.
Here is the message from Phil:
I think the chin spoiler is a good way to go,although I am
surprised that Toyota didn't already do that on the Camry.And I agree
with Dave about the effectiveness of the spoiler,as compared to a full
undertray.Extending the roofline out at an angle not to exceed 12-13
degrees should allow for attached flow 'til the end of the foil.The
rest of the air will swirl into a smaller version of the "locked"or
"captured" vortex,that presently preceeds your trunklid's rear
edge.Darin has succesfully pulled this off with his Firefly/Metro.I
ran a vey long version of this on my CRX to my advantage.Also,a rear
decklid spoiler,which leans back at an angle no greater than
30-degrees (as measured from the horizon)and projects rearward to a
point which intersects that 12-13 degree angle coming off your
roofline,would approximate an ideal fastback.Anything higher would
increase drag.Anything lower would increase drag.Steeper angles would
also raise drag.Just for giggles,you might want to project that line
out behind the car,just to see how close Toyota came to a "cleaner"
form.A round dowel about 18-inches tall, inserted into a shallow piece
of wood,and taped to the trunklid of the car,with six-inch strips of
bright yarn taped to the dowel every six-inches or so,would tell you
alot about the airflow there.A friend could drive as you sit in the
backseat watching "which way the wind blows".Happy experimenting,and
let us know how things progress,Phil.P.S. If you wanted to experiment
with Vortex-generators,those yarn tufts would reveal whether or not
they were pulling the flow down without separation.