|Called “one of the greatest publicity stunts in automotive history,” the Chrysler Turbine car program ranks as one of the most unique automotive experiments ever, and its story continues to captivate 53 years later. |
By the spring of 1963, Chrysler’s experiments with turbine-powered cars were well known. Chrysler was the only automaker to take the next step and start to develop a turbine-powered car available to the public. In May of 1963, Chrysler not only introduced the Turbine car, it also announced that it would make 50 of the cars available for three-month-long test drives.
|Turbine cars featured two-door four-passenger sedan bodies built by Ghia that shared nothing with any other Chrysler product.|
Under the hood, they featured Chrysler’s fourth-generation A-381 regenerator turbine engine, good for 425-pound-feet of torque, hooked up to modified TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmissions.
| Aside from the five prototypes built by Ghia, all 50 came in the same configuration: bronze paint, black vinyl top, and bronze leather interior. |
Acceleration proved to be no problem to the turbine driven cars (0 - 100 km/h in approx 10 seconds), but problems were experienced by drivers. These included fuel consumption (at best around 12 mpg) and cabin heat that was being generated by the turbine motor.
| When Chrysler decided that it was never going to be a commercial proposition, they destroyed 40 of the prototypes, with the remaining 10 being given to museums.|