Mark S. - You will enjoy this.
Working at a service station when in high school, one of the turbine cars stopped in. Amazing technology at the time, just wonder why it didn't take off. Ford (lotsa $$$$ in 'Coyote' development, and part of rule-makers for Indy), helped put the major ka-bosh to Andy Granatelli's turbine cars in the early 60's... Automotive technology does advance upon the racetracks.
The Museum of Transportation in St. Louis County has a Chrysler Turbine Car that still runs. They take it to car shows in the area from time to time.
I rode in it at the 64 Worlds Fair in NY.
Many, many years ago, I was the president of the Bi-State Mopar club (Missouri and Illinois). We put on a show at the St. Louis car museum (different from the Museum of Transport) and invited Mike Eberhart to bring the Chrysler turbine car to the show. To our utter amazement, he agreed, and the turbine car was the hit of the show. Mike started the engine every hour or so to demonstrate how smooth and quiet it was. We presented Mike with a special plaque and some turbine car memorabilia that we had obtained.
After the end of the show, as Mike was getting ready to pack up, he waved me over and gave me a short ride around the grounds in the turbine car. It was the opportunity of a lifetime!
The turbine car had the same power and mileage as a 318 V8 mid-size car, but much higher production costs. Chrysler had to use exotic (at the time) materials for the turbine wheels/blades and the regenerator wheels. The regenerator wheels spun slowly through the exhaust and air intake streams, using exhaust heat to pre-heat the intake air, which increased efficiency and fuel mileage.
Ghia built 50 of these bodies for Chrysler's last Turbine push. They had built
different Turbine cars on various stock bodies at least as far back as a 1956
Plymouth. The kicker for never taking off was production cost with little or no
advantages in economy or performance. It sounded like a jet engine, but did
little to make them "fly".
After the promo was done - Chrysler held a raffle and winners got to take one
of the cars home for a week or month (can't remember) to let people see and
drive them in public - they collected them all back up and found they were
faced with steep import duties because the bodies were built in Italy. It was
decided to set out a few for preservation and the rest were scrapped ! There
are a set of photos of these in a pile at a Detroit area scrap yard.
"If Only" Chrysler would have pursued the turbine... Expounding my earlier post about the turbine car: The understanding is that Ford had a strong representation and influence with USAC (the rules-making body from 1956-97) for the Indy-circuit cars. Andy Granatelli (known for STP) had built the 1968 car in his shop for about $100K. Ford had already spent millions developing the 'Coyote' for 'High-profile Indy', which was based on their 221 cubic inch V-8. Per car fuel capacity was uniformly dictated, yet the turbine-power proved to be significantly more economical having unlimited air access.
With a substantial lead in that first race (1968), a 98-cent throw-out bearing stopped the car 1.5 miles short of the finish line for a 4th place finish. ('Placing' determined as next-car actually crossed the finish line.) USAC restricted 'air intake' for the turbine in 1969 to about 9 square inches. More fuel needed, yet the 2nd year turbine still "whooshed" and out-performed. A front suspension failure stopped the car about half-way through.
1970 found air intake area restricted to less than one square inch. Long story short, a technologically superior concept was reduced to a dangerous implosion and then explosion! This was one time I disagreed with Henry's engineers, and would have been a good story for Paul Harvey.... "Damn the politics!"
A link for Granatelli's Lotus turbine:
The fate of the majority
Thanks, John & Mark!
Interesting video and article about Chrysler's turbine car. The articles I mentioned about the Indy cars and race were reported within 'Hot Rod' magazine at that time. As a participant myself in the muscle car era, Hot Rod magazine was the Gospel! Was there 'Fake News' back then?
A family friend and local physician in Manchester, NH got to "test drive" one of the turbine cars for a period of time. I never got to ride in it, but it impressed me quite a bit.