The rather sad tragedy of many concept cars are their fictitious claims of performance and technology only exist in the mind of optimistic engineers; just papier-mâché mock-ups destined to do nothing but turn on a plinth at a motor show then be unceremoniously thrown into storage. It’s safe to say Chrysler’s 1963 Turbine Car is far from such a fallacy.
As the name denotes, the Turbine Car was powered by Chrysler’s A831 gas turbine, the advantages of such an engine being the lack of warm up time, higher reliability and the ability to run on any flammable liquid. Though it wasn’t just the engine which was incredibly ahead of its time, the Turbine Car’s Ghia designed futuristic body incorporated pillarless doors, an outrageously over styled rear and a turbine themed interior making it a true mid-century modernist masterpiece.
In 1963 Chrysler conducted what is still the only consumer test of a gas-turbine car, distributing 50 of the technological marvels to consumers for three month trails, hoping to put the Turbine Car into production. At the end of the 1.1-million-mile test, Chrysler gathered the 55 Turbine Car’s and destroyed all but 9 of them, leaving only 5 in working order and all but abandoning the hopes of producing a gas turbine car.
Chrysler Turbine Car Image Credit: miamilakesautomall.com/chrysler-blog/