One of the car magazines, forget which one, wanted to see if they could get a Trans Am with a 455 to hit 200 mph. This was a long time ago so I don’t remember all the details, but they came up just shy of the mark, so they removed the side mirrors and tried again, made it the second time. The difference was very small as I recall, one or two mph, but it did have an effect, maybe.
Because the second run was at a different time of the day, that could have also factored in. removing the side view mirrors for fuel economy sake is about like the argument about front license plates. If we are to sacrifice safety for the sake of fuel economy, then there is about 400 lbs of safety equipment that we could eliminate and that would really help fuel economy.
Another thing about aerodynamic drag, it is an exponential function, not a linear function. At 200 mph, its a huge factor, but at speeds below 45 mph, its pretty insignificant. The electricity needed to power a camera system is a constant and is is also a drag on the system. While it is a low drag when compared to the aerodynamic drag above 45 mph, it is a drag that is there at the lower speeds and even when the vehicle is just idling at a stop light.
One thing no one has considered though, why do the side view mirrors have to be located outside the car? Can they not be mounted on the dash board on either side of the instrument panel? I tried this once after a came back from being stationed in Japan for three years. In Japan, the side view mirrors are mounted on the fender about 6" behind the headlights. It looks ugly but it gives you a commanding view all around your vehicle. You have a 360° view without taking your eyes off the road. You can maneuver in traffic with just inches of space, and in Japan, inches is all you get.
Anyway, I mounted two convex mirrors on the dash that simulated the line of sight to the fender mounted mirrors I had in Japan. It didn’t work quite as well as the fender mounted mirrors and they weren’t pretty as the dash was not designed for this.
If the camera system were to be tried, I’d like to see two cameras mounted the fenders just behind the head lights and the 5x7 images projected onto the windshield via heads up display at position within the line of sight to the cameras so they would have the same effect that the side view mirrors in Japan have.