SPOILER ALERT: Our Top 10 Most Iconic Classic Car Wings and Spoilers

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By Ben Selby

Spoilers. Love them or loathe them, one cannot deny the impact they have had on car design.

Some are deadly serious, existing solely for the purpose of providing downforce or aerodynamic aids. Others, well they are just for the sheer fun of it, something completely unnecessary, but still cool to look at.

Throughout the history of motoring, spoilers and wings have adorned some of the most iconic cars ever. Here, in no particular order, are our Top 10 Iconic Classic Car Spoilers and Wings.

Ferrari F40

For many Tifosi, the Ferrari F40 is the greatest production car ever produced by Maranello.

As the last car conceived under the watchful eye of Il Commendatore himself, Enzo Ferrari, the F40 was built to celebrate the company’s 40th birthday, and to lay the smack down on the Porsche 959.

Essentially a stripped-out road legal go kart, the F40 was the first production car to crack the 200mph barrier, thanks to a carbon fibre body and a 2.9L twin turbo V8 producing 478hp.

Ferrari only intended to make a few hundred of examples of the F40, but the production run continued until 1992, with 1315 leaving Maranello, they just couldn’t seem to stop making them.

Every aspect of the F40 was designed to make it as slippery in the corners as possible, which included a sculpturing a large rear wing as part of that gorgeous carbon body. It not only provided downforce at high speed, but it completed the iconic silhouette of one of the greatest Ferraris ever built. Lovely.

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

The Ford Sierra was launched in 1982, but fans of the blue oval weren’t that keen on the replacement for the much-loved Cortina. The answer?  Make the Sierra hot.  Enter the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth.

Cosworth took the Sierra’s standard four-cylinder engine, added a hot twin cam cylinder head, a gargantuan Garrett turbocharger, a bigger front intake, new intercooler, a limited slip diff, and a Borg Warner T5 five speed gearbox. With 206hp on tap, Ford at the perfect weapon to dominate World Touring Car events.

The “Cossie” is also famous for sporting that iconic rear wing. The brain child of Lothar Pinske, the large rear wing was necessary as the standard Sierra was quite unstable at high speed when tested at the Nardo Test Track in Italy. With the wing in place, the Sierra’s unpredictable handling was a thing of the past.

Ford used the same wide rear wing on the Escort RS Cosworth which followed, but the Sierra was the original icon, and today, is really very cool.

Pontiac GTO Judge

The Pontiac GTO came as a result of the management of General Motors pulling the plug on motorsport efforts by any of their five automotive divisions in the early sixties.

John Delorean, yes that Delorean, was the head of Pontiac at the time and declared “Fine, lets make a race car for the street.” The Pontiac GTO was born in 1964 and promptly kicked off the American muscle car wars.

The ultimate GTO for many is the GTO Judge launched in 1969. The ‘Judge’ namesake was taken from a character from the American TV show “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.”

The 1969 variant is the most sought after, but it’s the 1970 version which makes our list. For it featured a totally unnecessary rear spoiler which did next to nothing to aid aero or provide downforce.

However, 1970 was the height of the muscle car era, and with a 455ci big block V8, oodles of flashing detailing, a starring role in “Two Lane Blacktop,” and that spoiler, this Judge could take charge.

Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 EVO II

This just had to be on the list. The Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 EVO II was essentially a road going version of the DTM Touring race car of the same name. With only 502 cars produced, it was a bout of homologation insanity from the skunkworks deep inside Mercedes.

Released at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show, the EVO II featured an upgraded M102 four-cylinder engine producing 173kW and a redline of 7,700rpm.

From the outside, it was clear this EVO II meant serious business, thanks in no small part to that spoiler. The box shaped rear wing was developed by aerodynamics engineer Rüdiger Faul together with Professor Richard Läpple of Stuttgart.

The spoiler was able to be adjusted to different degrees to suit the driver. The EVO II also got larger 17inch alloys which echoed DTM competition, added body stiffness and handsome scoops and flared arches. The EVO II was also available in one colour, black.

In the hands of drivers like Bernd Schneider, the EVO II thrashed the competition in DTM. Today, and EVO II is worth mega bucks.

Lamborghini Countach LP500S

The ultimate bedroom wall poster car. The Lamborghini Countach rewrote the supercar rulebook when it was launched at the 1971 Geneva Motorshow.

The original V12 LP400 Bertone wedge design was quite clean cut, however this all changed thanks Canadian Lamborghini customer and Formula One team owner, Walter Wolf.

Wolf started to personalize his Countach, by adding wheel arch flairs and a rear wing. Lamborghini took notice, and the LP400S which followed now featured flared arches and that now legendary rear wing. The ultimate express on the wing came in the LP500S, which came to signify the decade like no other car.

However, while the spoiler looks epic, many owners chose not to have it installed, or would later a remove it, as it further inhibited already poor rear visibility. It also increased drag at high speed, making the car Countach slower at the top end. Funny that.

Lancia Thema 8.32

This one isn’t terribly well known, but if you know Lancia, you know this car. Built to take on the likes of the BMW M5, the Lancia Thema 8.32 was a car that was totally unique at the time. Why? Well one only need look under the bonnet.

While the Thema wasn’t terribly exciting to look at, Lancia had the grand idea to spice up the Thema by collaborating with another famous Italian marque by the name of Ferrari. Lancia had worked with Ferrari in the past, giving us the Lancia-Ferrari D50 Grand Prix car.

From 1987 to 1992, the Lancia Thema 8.32 was built to order and featured the same 3.0L V8 Ferrari used in the 308 GTB.

With 158kW/285Nm, you could hit 100km/h from a standstill in 6.8 seconds, only 0.3 seconds off the 308’s sprint to 100km/h. Top speed was a claimed 240km/h.

The Thema 8.32 also featured one of the coolest boot spoilers ever. The driver could press a button and a small rear wing would fold out of the boot lid.

While a power operated boot spoiler is common place on high end luxury cars these days, the Thema 8.32 was the first to use it. Only 4000 were built, and prices are still reasonable when compared to its Ferrari counterpart. Very cool.

BMW E9 3.0L CSL Batmobile

The BMW E9 3.0L CSL is one of the coolest of all classic BMWs. Unveiled in 1972, the 3.0L CSL was based on the E9 3.0L CS coupe, with the L standing for “lightweight.” Built as a homologation special for use in European Touring Car Championship events, it was built from thinner steel and featured aluminium doors, bonnet, boot lid and no sound deadening to speak of.

With a 3.2L straight six producing 206hp and 286Nm of torque, it cost more when new than an Aston Martin DBS V8. Of the 1265 produced, 167 were built with aerodynamic “Batmobile” package.

This meant a large air dam, fins, and not one, but two rear spoilers, one on the rear of the roof, the other on the boot lid. It is said the wings were illegal on German roads, so buyers had to fit the spoilers themselves after delivery of the car.

These wings, along with the outlandish seventies-esque motorsport livery and styling has made the CSL Batmobile a cult icon and something which today will require a seven-figure sum to acquire.

Holden HSV VL Commodore SS Group A SV Walkinshaw

As the first Holden ever fettled by Holden Special Vehicles, the VL SS Group A Walkinshaw is up there with some of the most collectable Aussie built classics ever. Released in 1988, the SS Group A SV was not the first to carry the Group A badge. That distinction fell to the VK Group A “Blue Meanie”, which was constructed by Holden Dealer Team or HDT, the forerunner of HSV.

However, much like its predecessor, it allowed a small group of lucky Australian petrolheads the chance to be Peter Brock or Allan Grice on their favourite backroad. In fact, the original production run of 500 was increased to 750 to cope with demand.

Modifications were made to the VL’s standard 5.0L V8, which in the guise of the Group A SV, meant power was increased to 180kW and 380Nm of torque. And then there was that body kit and spoiler.

Holden claimed the kit and that huge boot mounted spoiler was able to reduce drag at speed by 25 per cent. Whether that was true or not doesn’t really matter today. The VL Commodore SS Group A SV looks nothing less than a road going Aussie touring car. Plus, spoilers didn’t get much bigger on a Holden outside of race day at Bathurst.

Porsche 911 (930) Turbo

Another eighties icon. The Porsche 911 Turbo first saw the light in 1975. As one of the first turbocharged sports cars ever built, the 930 Turbo became an icon overnight.

Initially powered by a 3.0L turbocharged flat six engine producing 191kW, it was originally designed to be a homologation special for Porsche to use the turbo for Group 4 racing in 1976.

However, after customers turned a wheel in anger, it became clear that Porsche would keep the turbo as part of the 911 range, which continues to this day.

The 930 would remain in production until 1989 where it was succeeded by the 964. However, it’s the 930 Turbo that makes this list because of its iconic whale tail. The “whale tail” was fitted to allow more air into the engine while still providing significant downforce at the rear. The Turbo also got wider wheels and tyres and flared wheel arches.

While this provided the grip and go, it still didn’t stop drivers unfamiliar with the 930’s chronic turbo lag from going into corners, putting their foot down and spinning the car after full boost.

Dubbed the widow maker, the 930 Turbo demands respect from its drivers, but it is still a very cool car and that whale tale gives it one of the most iconic side silhouettes of all time.

Plymouth Superbird

Lastly, you can’t have a list of cars with iconic spoilers and not include the larger-than-life 1970 Plymouth Superbird. The Superbird, along with its Dodge Charger Daytona predecessor, was part of Chrysler Corporation’s continued efforts to dominate NASCAR.

Designed to go head-to-head against Ford’s Torino Talladega, the Superbird was built solely for the purpose of going as fast as possible along NASCAR ovals like Daytona, Talladega, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Superbird was also the car which tempted NASCAR legend Richard “The King” Petty back to MOPAR after running with Ford for the previous two years. The Superbird would become Petty’s most iconic car, winning a number of NASCAR races during the 1970 season. Petty himself would even star as his own Superbird in the 2006 Pixar Film “Cars.”

The road going Superbird was an evolution of the B-Body Plymouth Road Runner. Powered by the iconic 426ci Hemi V8 with 425hp, it was pretty quick off the mark, reaching 100km/h from a standstill in 5.5 seconds.

However, it’s the aerodynamic aids which come to mind when we think of a Superbird. The nose, the front lip, and that simply gargantuan rear wing. No other wing has ever been as big as this on a production car.

While it may help Petty in a banked turn at Daytona at close to 200mph, all it managed to do on the street was give the driver better traction off the line in a drag race.

That said, if you are talking spoilers, the Superbird is quite literally King of the Road.

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