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1963 Chrysler Ghia Turbine Car

Back in 1963, when I was just nine years old, one of the 50 or so Chrysler Ghia Turbine Cars built to test the practicality of gas turbine engines in passenger cars, passed through our neighborhood. Ever since then I have been fascinated by what many people call the "Bronze Blowtorch." Designed by Elwood P. Engel, who also designed the 1961 Ford Thunderbird and 1961 Lincoln Continental, he was responsible for the exterior and interior design of this landmark car. Forty-two years after my first encounter with the Chrysler Turbine car, I was able to drive one of the few remaining examples thanks to friends at Chrysler and the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan. A similar car, painted in white, starred in the 1964 James Darren movie "The Lively Set" and it's a trip seeing it race through Death Valley, where every summer I stalk pre-production prototypes for the Automotive Traveler image gallery. The best source on the web for information on the Chrysler Turbine Car program can be found at Mark Olsen's excellent website at www.turbinecar.com/introduction.htm All images copyright 2010 by Richard Truesdell and automotivetraveler.com, all rights reserved. If you have a request for commercial use of these images, contact the photographer through Fotki. For more photos from the Automotive Traveler image gallery visit http://automotivetraveler.fotki.com/ To view automotivetraveler.com, visit http://automotivetraveler.com/jump/2196 And to view Automotive Traveler magazine, visit http://automotivetraveler.com/jump/2197

Photos copyright 2010 by Richard Truesdell, all rights reserved.

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Richard Truesdell

05 1963 Chrysler Ghia Turbine Car long side view at WP Chrysler Museum

1963 Chrysler Ghia Turbine Car long side view at WP Chrysler Museum

Taken: August 21, 2007
Uploaded: May 09, 2010
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Captured with:
Nikon D200

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  • Hemi Andersen (Private)
    5 years 6 months ago
    Back in 1965 and 1966 when I attended the Chrysler Training Center in New Jersey, I had the privilege of seeing the Turbine cars as they were serviced there at the Center. The techs told us of the "magic powder" they used to clean the turbines. At lunch time they would give us short rides in the car.
    I have read the book now and have enjoyed it very much.
    Now at 72, I was thrilled to see and hear the Turbine car Jay Leno has at his 'Big Dog Garage'.
    Having been a lifelong Chrysler product mechanic, riding in the Turbine car was definitely one of the highlight.
    • 5 years 6 months ago
      I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos. Getting to drive the Turbine Car, 42 years after first seeing one, was a highlight of my career as an automotive journalist and enthusiast.

      I'm sure that you can order prints of any of the photos in the gallery. I have a 20x30 inch print of photo 13 hanging in my office, the photo of me driving the Turbine Car at the Chrysler Tech Center in Auburn Hills. What's funny is that I drove the Turbine Car just three weeks after driving the then new Ford GT at Le Mans, a story which is in the newest issue of Automotive Traveler. http://automotivetraveler.com/jump/3687

      Thanks for your comment.

      Happy Holidays,

      Richard Truesdell