This rare bird was an automotive breakthrough in its day. It was the first racing sedan to enter the Le Mans circuit with a fully-enclosed cockpit. The 1938 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine was a revolution in aerodynamic science, a vehicle that had more in common with aircraft than it did with the race cars of the 1930’s. One of the finest remaining models is seen here, ready to go under the gavel at the Monterey auction by RM Auctions and Sotheby’s.
The pursuit of functional performance yielded a truly incredible visual design. It is a breathtaking vehicle, one whose curves are almost intoxicating, but its style is purely substantive.
The 1938 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine owes its steely curves to aerodynamicist Paul Jaray. Jaray brought an aeronautics background to automotive design, taking inspiration from the progressive aircraft designs coming out of Germany in the 1930s. The Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine adopted the spindle-and-fin shape of pre-war aircraft, looking like a vehicle built for flight that never received its wings.
Jaray’s aerodynamic designs for the ’38 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine were entirely functional. Its shape wasn’t built to be pretty, it was designed to produce on the racing circuit. That’s what makes this vehicle so remarkable. The pursuit of functional performance yielded a truly incredible visual design. It is a breathtaking vehicle, one whose curves are almost intoxicating, but its style is purely substantive.
Under the hood, the 1938 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine is powered by a 56 horsepower inline four-cylinder engine. That was a competitive powerhouse in the 1930s. At the time, it presented a great power-to-weight ratio and sported one of the best aerodynamic designs on the road. This made it a beast to be reckoned with, albeit for a very short time.
The legacy of Adler and cars like this Trumpf Rennlimousine was cut short by the arrival of World War II. After the war, automotive design changed dramatically, and breakthroughs like this one were history. Only a few remain, and this one in particular is about to change hands at the Monterey auction in August by RM Auctions and Sotheby’s. Expect it to fetch a pretty penny at auction, as this rare bird will be a prized possession for any collector. For us, we’re just happy pouring over the photos. They don’t make them like this anymore…