Jet-Powered Cars? In the 60’s?

You probably missed them since they were never available for sale. Interested? You can read about it in “Chrysler’s Turbine Car” by Steve Lehto. Here is the opening from the book review in The Wall Street Journal:

What Would Don Draper Drive?

In this automotive age of gutless golf carts shaped by computerized wind tunnels, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the American road thundered with Galaxies, Electras and Rocket 88s. The designs of these 1950s and 1960s iron giants were inspired by the space race and the dawn of jet travel. One car company was even bold enough to put a jet engine in an automobile, and that is the topic of Steve Lehto’s “Chrysler’s Turbine Car,” a delightful history of, as the subtitle has it: “The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.”

7 Responses to “Jet-Powered Cars? In the 60’s?”

  1. I actually saw one live and in person at “Starbird’s” car show held in the “Civic Center Music Hall” in the large basement area in 1964….. Darrell (?) Starbird was out of Wichita, KS and held car shows every year, usually in January, in OKC and lots of other cities in the Southwest……. ….And, you could balance a nickel edgewise on the motor while it was running….. It was definitely way ahead of it’s time…… It was just too cool, so, in the way of the World we live in, when they found out how much people liked it, they stopped the project – Wham – Bam – Blooey……

    As for the Book, Jek, sounds like a cool Christmas present for “you know who”….. Hint, Hint, Nudge, Nudge…..

  2. So what are the details on the transmission? Requiring a multi-gear transmission to go from 60,000 RPM down to the range required for stop-and-go traffic?!

  3. It may be hard to believe, but they used the standard Chrysler built three speed TorqueFlite automatic without a torque converter….. Check out this Motor Trend article……

    Also, check out the picture gallery in the article….. It’s amazing how similar the under-the-hood shot looks like the new Hemi engine bays on the new Chrysler pick-ups and cars….. The dashboard also looks a lot like most of the new performance car dash layouts….. Yes, that’s just one of the reasons MR has always been a MoPar man……

  4. Nice article!

    OK, but they could only use the standard Chrysler automatic transmission because a bunch of reduction gears lower the shaft speed down to 5360 rpm. In the aviation world, at least, that would count as part of the transmission.

  5. If I somehow come up with the book, I hope it contains all the little details on the drivetrain….. Chrysler may still have all that “Classified” with the intent of bringing it back again, like the Challenger….. I wouldn’t mind having another Hemi Challenger again, although, I wish I would have been smart enough to have kept the ’71 I had….. Oh, well, hindsight is 20/20…….

  6. MR: I just checked your local library’s catalog and it’s on order.

    Holdings: Copies are On Order.

  7. I wish this book would have come out 5 years ago, so I could have discussed it with one of the Original Engineers on the Turbine Project. Because as it turns out, Mrs. J.J.’s Father (My Father in-law) Was a Engineer with Chrysler Corporation during the early part of this project.
    About 6-8 years ago I found a copy of the Original Technical Manual and gave it to him as a gift, that resulted in a very wonderful 4 hour talk about the project, with lots of in side info. I am looking forward to picking up this new book on the project.

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