Chrysler Turbine - today's tempter

By: Guy 'Guido' Allen, Unique Cars magazine

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One of nine left in the world

Usually we pull our tempter of the day from our classifieds, but every now and then you have to make an exception. And this is one of those times. 

One of just nine remaining Chrysler Turbines, from 1963, and one of the very few known to be in running condition, has come up for sale in the USA.

This was part of a serious, long-term and probably expensive, turbine development program by Chrysler.

The initial run of 55 cars (including five prototypes) had bodies styled by Elwood Engel at Chrysler and built by Ghia. Constructed over 1963-64, they were more than just show cars. Instead the majority were sent out on a national driver program, where 203 drivers got to use them in real-world conditions.

There was a mix of good and bad about them. They could run on relatively low-grade fuel, were light and - once a few early wrinkles were sorted - remarkably reliable and undemanding to maintain.

Start-up procedure was slow and a little gothic, while noise and emissions were an issue. Ultimately, it was emissions that killed off the project in 1979.

It seems most of the cars were scrapped, however nine survived. Entertainer and collector Jay Leno is probably the highest-profile owner, and his is one of the remaining runners. Here's a You Tube video on his machine.

As for the one for sale, it has a well-documented history and has spent most of its life as a museum piece. However it has been kept running. No price is mentioned, but expect it to be well into seven figures. See it here.

There is also an engine/transmission unit available as a separate lot, and the price on that is US$100,000.


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