The Chrysler Turbine Car: An Alternative Universe

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By Dave Ashton

Think of an alternative car universe where the V8 engine didn’t exist and we had turbine engines instead. This could have been reality if the 1962-1964 Chrysler Turbine Car had been a working success.

Built and designed at a time when everybody was thinking about sci-fi and futuristic concepts, every modern design seemed possible. Designed by Italian studio Ghia with a A-831 fourth-generation turbine engine, the benefits included running on various fuel types from diesel to jet fuel, even vegetable oils, required less maintenance than a regular car and had a better cold start than piston engines. The downside was they were quite expensive to produce. Never disclosed exactly how expensive to produce.

50 examples were produced, with 45 eventually being crushed at the scrapyard. The turbine engine was eventually seen as having less than good fuel economy and got no further in development, but it still showed an interesting alternative to the piston engine. The surviving cars are owned by Chrysler, various museums around the US and private collectors. One being owned by Jay Leno as you can see in the video below.

The Chrysler Turbine Car is a great example from an age where everyone was forward-looking and futuristic designs were all the rage. Shame they didn’t get round to developing a workable hover car……..

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