Drawing our inspiration from the Wright Brothers, we came up with a list of our ten favorite vehicle wings.
These are the cars (and one truck!) that feature some of the best rear spoilers ever designed—some are homologation specials, some address a specific aerodynamic issue, while others just plain look cool.
So take a look, and let us know some of your favorites in the comments below!
Our 10 Favorite Vehicle Wings
10. 1987-92 Ferrari F40
Angular and purpose-built, some critics felt that the F40 didn’t follow in the tradition of the beautifully-styled Ferraris from eras past. But that’s because the F40 was, first and foremost, a driver’s car. And that’s evident on the back end, where a flat, squared-off wing wraps around the mesh taillight panel. Simple. Understated. And incredibly effective on the track.
9. 2004-06 Dodge SRT-10
Following the ethos that “with enough thrust, even a brick can fly,” Dodge engineers stuffed a 500 horsepower Viper-derived V10 in a Ram truck. But that’s not the ridiculous part—it was that adorable little wing that they put across the back, rendering the bed pretty much useless. We love it.
8. 1975-87 Porsche 911 Turbo
When Porsche wanted to equip the 911’s flat six with a turbo, it had to figure out how to vent all that extra exhaust heat. So, they redesigned the decklid. These 930-era Porsches quickly earned the nickname “Whale Tails” thanks to their unique profile and, for a while, they were the fastest cars to come out of Germany.
7. Literally Any Pike’s Peak Racer
The Pike’s Peak Hillclimb might have some of the most grueling stretches of race course ever devised. Changing road surfaces, switchback turns, dramatic elevation changes—and a track that often comes alarmingly close to steep cliff dropoffs. So yeah, the cars can wear whatever wings they want…
6. 2016 Dodge Viper ACR
Dodge created a track-focused monster with the American Club Racing (ACR) trim, so it’s no surprise a Viper ACR holds the Nürburgring lap record for fastest American rear-wheel drive manual transmission car. And we’re pretty sure its wing was pulled from the Cessna parts bin.
5. 1936-39 Tatra T-97
So far, most of these spoilers and wings have been for racing and high-speed performance (or at least the illusion of such). But the rudder/skirt/scoop array on the Czech-made Tatra T-97 was tailored more towards economy and fuel efficiency—particularly important considering the T-97 was powered by a 1,800cc flat four making a mere 40 hp.
4. 1994-2001 Subaru WRX STI
As the sport compact car scene exploded in the 1990s, a rear spoiler become the de rigueur styling accessory. And the all-wheel drive WRX STI wore its wing better than the rest. Unabashedly tall, yet still somehow discrete, the WRX STI wing was a direct result of FIA WRC homologation rules.
3. 1984-86 Ford Mustang SVO
While most of the SVO’s magic stems from its turbo four-banger, it gets real interesting out back, where the Mustang wears not one, but two(!) rear spoilers. The first extends from the standard GT decklid, while the other bisects the hatch glass. It’s yet another reason to love Fox Bodies.
2. 1970 Plymouth Superbird
Any discussion of car wings will inevitably include the Daytona/Superbird twins. And for good reason. The cars were so fast, NASCAR had to change the rules to essentially nullify their effectiveness. Notoriously bad sellers when new, our hearts break every time we hear stories of Plymouth dealers chopping off Superbird wings simply to get them off the lot.
1. 1966-67 Chaparral 2E/2F
Can you just imagine what Can-Am racers thought when they saw these things barreling down the racetrack? The brainchild of Formula 1 racers Hal Sharp and Jim Hall, most of Chaparral’s race cars were rolling science experiments—and pretty successful ones at that. The 2E/2F cars get the nod on our list here, thanks to their laughably massive, cockpit-controlled wings.
So, was this suitable paper airplane-building inspiration? What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments below.