Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1963 Turbine Car

There does seem to be a resemblance with Ford’s 1958 La Galaxie.

1963 Chrysler turbine car was the largest gas turbine passenger car test program. 55 cars were distributed to 203 volunteers in 48 states free of charge for 3 months between 1963-1966. Designed by Elwood Engel and engineered by George Huebner the cars were hand built by Ghia in Italy.

The CR2A turbine engine produced 130 BHP @ 3,600 RPM to the output shaft and a torque rating of 425 lb-ft. Although Chrysler recommended using diesel or non leaded gasoline. The engine could run on just about any free flowing liquid that burns when combined with air. Mexican tequila and Chanel #5 perfume were some of odd fuels people poured into the tank of these cars. The transmission used was a modified TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic.

Test results were mixed. Volunteers liked the vibration free and quiet operation of the turbine engine. They also liked the low maintenance, ease of starting, and fast warm up of the turbine even in the coldest weather. Poor fuel economy was a minor complaint because the cars run on lower cost fuel. Mileage was 13-14 miles per gallon. The biggest complaint about the car was poor acceleration. 0-60 miles per hour was achieved at a slow 12 seconds. However, if the car was “brake torqued” by holding the brakes and revving the turbine up to 50,000 rpm the 0-60 time was cut to 5 seconds.

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