I wrote a book about the Chrysler Turbine Car and, as a result, have a hard drive chock full 'o Turbine Car photos. I know that when we are not debating the hotter issues of the day we sometimes like to just stop and look at the pretty pictures. Am I right? Or Am I right? So, without a whole lot of words and stuff, here are some Turbine Car pics with minimal narration to get in the way.
There are nine of these Turbine Cars extant. Jay Leno owns this one.
I always liked the tail. This is also of Jay's, basking in the Burbank sunlight.
One is owned by the Detroit Historical Museum. It is no longer being kept like this but for a while, it was stored in a bubble.
And here it is naked.
This same car can be seen today at the Gilmore museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.
Where some knucklehead has managed to ding the paint on the deck lid (it was not chipped when I saw it at the DHM).
Chrysler owns two (they used to have three but they sold one to Jay). Theirs have been variously displayed, including up on a pedestal.
As you may have guessed, the survivors all kind of look alike. How do you tell them apart? Obviously, if you can spot the VIN tag:
These were old school VINs - only six digits and the last two were the only ones that changed here. This is the DHM car: #25.
The last two of the VIN are also stamped on a brace in the engine compartment.
The one other privately owned car made an appearance at the Glenmoor Gathering a few years ago. It did not run at that event but it did coast down to the display field which gives a great almost-driving effect.
Once down to the field, it looked great.
And we can't forget the Petersen in LA.
The Smithsonian has one, as does the St Louis Museum of Transportation. Likewise, the Henry Ford in Detroit. Add 'em up (remember Chrysler has two) and that should be nine survivors. I have a ton of pics so if there is a wacky angle you'd like to see and you think others would likewise be intrigued, let me know and I will try posting them below. If you have any of them word-questions about the cars, fire away. We can clutter up the comments with those and not disturb the pretty pictures above.
[Quickly, let's get the basics out of the way: Of 55, nine survive. The museum cars were disabled when donated by Chrysler but St Louis got theirs running. The two privately owned cars run. The cars ran on any flammable liquid but diesel fuel is preferred. No, the exhaust will not melt asphalt. The 46 were not doomed by a Big Three conspiracy.]
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All photos courtesy of the author. There are more pics here, including other cars from Chrysler's Turbine Car program (which started in the '50s and ran until the '80s).
Steve Lehto is a writer and attorney and has been practicing consumer protection and lemon law for 23 years in Michigan. He wrote Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation and The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device.