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It’s Not A Chevelle With A Blown Radiator, It’s The SE-124 – A Steam-Powered Chevrolet!


It’s Not A Chevelle With A Blown Radiator, It’s The SE-124 – A Steam-Powered Chevrolet!

The Chevrolet Chevelle can be found with many different engines. From the factory straight sixes and low-end small-blocks to big blocks, from nitrous-snorting high-RPM screamers to mountain motors, and even diesel swaps, it seems that the A-body could take pretty much anything thrown at it. But did you know that the factory commissioned a steam-powered 1969 sedan as a testbed for the viability for a steam-powered automobile? Yeah…we couldn’t have dreamed that one up, either.

SE 124 and 101

Fairly little information exists on the Chevelle, which was coded SE-124, or it’s sister concept, the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix dubbed SE-101. GM developed the Pontiac’s steam engine, while the Chevelle’s engine was farmed out to Besler. The majority of the Bessler design was lifted from the 1920 Doble steam car patents, which Besler owned at the time, combined with one-half of the Chevrolet 307ci V8. At it’s best, the engine pumped out a severely anemic 50 hp. Other than the obvious modifications for the steam engine, from the firewall back you had a basic 1969 Chevelle sedan, with a three-speed manual transmission and standard rear axle. While it certainly wasn’t fast, it was functional, racking up 5,000 miles before Besler gifted it to Harrah’s Museum, where the car resided until Tom Kimmel, the current owner, acquired it. In it’s current state the Chevelle is rough, but complete, and the intention is to refinish the engine and to improve the performance of the car. We sincerely hope he’s joking about putting 22s on it, though.


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5 thoughts on “It’s Not A Chevelle With A Blown Radiator, It’s The SE-124 – A Steam-Powered Chevrolet!

  1. Scott Liggett

    To me, the horsepower rating is as irrelevant as horsepower rating on a big rig. It’s the torque that moves a vehicle not a mathematical calculation including torque and rpm.

  2. Whelk

    It’s worth watching Jay Leno’s videos on the Doble steam cars to see the potential of the steam plant. A lot of the surviving steam cars and trucks have horsepower ratings around a hundred, and torque rating over a thousand. They will move and often dispense with transmissions.

  3. Flynn

    Not one word about what fuel is used to make the steam. Nothing on what it’s current driving range is. Now the owner wants to put 22″ rims on it? This is an annoying article.

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