Neat Historical Video: Road Testing The Chrysler Turbine Car!

Neat Historical Video: Road Testing The Chrysler Turbine Car!

I’ve been nose deep in Steve Lehto’s great book about the Chrysler Turbine Car program lately (Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall Of Detroit’s Coolest Creation) and it has really opened my eyes to what the company was trying to achieve with the whole turbine deal. This was not some half assed effort. Starting in the middle 1950s and carrying on for years after the famed 50 Ghia bodied turbine cars were sent out for “public” testing, this was something that took loads of company resources, some of Chrysler’s brightest minds, and was a pretty successful deal if you look past the fact that they never actually sold a turbine powered car. The advancements made in the development of the engine and drivetrain from start to finish are nothing short of astounding.

I love the start of the video, especially the sound of the car whooshing off and accelerating away. That was one of the biggest divergent aspects of the car from “normal” machines. The sound was as you’d expect a turbine to sound, airplane-like. Why did the turbine never actually take root in a car for mass production? Why did an engine that can run on any flammable fuel not appeal to executives and decision makers? Why do we not have turbine cars today? Well the answers are all in Lehto’s book and there’s enough of them that he literally wrote the book on the subject. We’ll tell you that it was not one thing that scuttled the turbine from becoming the power plant of choice in America’s production car fleet, it was a few of them stacked up on each other.

The engines were expensive to build, the long term forecast for their viability was not great, air quality standards were looming, OPEC was looming, and a litany of other clouds filled the sky with respect to the formerly bright blue future of turbine power.

This video captures the car in all of its sexy glory on the track at the Chrysler proving grounds. It is a fantastic look at the car the way we want to remember it. Sleek, lithe, and hauling ass!

Press play to see this cool Chrysler video featuring a road test of the turbine car

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2 thoughts on “Neat Historical Video: Road Testing The Chrysler Turbine Car!

  1. Clarence Sifton

    I was a young boy in the early sixties and every year during the last two weeks of August. the Canadian National Exhibition was held in Toronto. It’s actually a big fall fair where they had an automotive building where they would debut all the new car models for the coming year. I was really into cars at that time and the models changed quite drastically every year, not like now where they stamp them out clones of the previous. In Canada you rarely saw Corvettes or any high end american cars but at this show they would have them all. I remember seeing the Chrysler Turbine on a turntable display with a couple of pretty girl adorning this marvel of engineering. Just think man wasn’t on the moon yet.

  2. john

    seen one at the local dealer when they were bringing them around. we didn’t win the drive-it contest. but it was cool. that put a nickel on its edge, rev it up, and the nickel never moved. cool at the time.
    know what’s sad… the kids nowadays will never see the ‘FIRST’ stuff we have seen.

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