The present work describes a strategy for the aerodynamic drag reduction of elongated axisymmetric bluff bodies, which can be viewed as simplified models of road vehicles. One well-known method to reduce the drag of this type of body is a geometrical modification denoted as boat-tailing, which consists in a gradual reduction of the body cross-section before a sharp-edged base (Maull et al, J R Aeronaut Soc 71, 854–858, 1967, , Mair, Aeronaut Q 20, 307–320, 1969, , Wong and Mair, J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn, 12, 229–235, 1983, ). We combine herein boat-tailing with properly contoured transverse grooves to further delay boundary-layer separation and to reduce drag.
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