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    Thread: The Chrysler Turbine

    1. Member westy66's Avatar
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      05-07-2008 09:45 PM #1
      The forgotten concepts thread brouht this back to memory. one of my favorite concepts ever. its before my time but always facinated me. the thing ran at 60,000 rpm, ran on gas, diesel, kerosene, JP-4 jet fuel, or veggie oil.


      From Wiki:
      Chrysler Turbine Cars were automobiles powered by gas turbine engines which the Chrysler Corporation assembled in a small plant in Detroit, Michigan in 1963, for use in the only consumer test of gas turbine-powered cars. It was the high point of Chrysler's decades-long project to build a practical turbine-powered car.
      The fourth-generation Chrysler turbine engine, which ran at up to 60,000 rpm, would run on diesel fuel, unleaded gasoline, kerosene, JP-4 jet fuel, even vegetable oil, it would run virtually on anything and the president of Mexico tested this theory by running one of the first cars - successfully - on tequila. No adjustments were needed to switch from one to another. The engine had a fifth as many moving parts as a piston unit (60 rather than 300). The turbine was spinning on simple sleeve bearings for vibration-free running. Its simplicity offered the potential for long life, and because no combustion contaminants enter engine oil, no oil changes were considered necessary. The 1963 Turbine's engine generated 130bhp and an instant 425lb ft of torque at stall speed, making it good for 0-60mph in 12 seconds at an ambient temperature of 85F - it would sprint quicker if the air was cooler and more dense. The absence of a distributor and points, the solitary start-up spark plug and the lack of coolant eased maintenance, while the exhaust produced no carbon monoxide (CO), no unburnt carbon and no raw hydrocarbons. But it did generate nitrogen oxides (NO) and the challenge of limiting them helped to kill the program. Its power turbine was connected, without a torque converter, through a gear reduction unit to an otherwise ordinary TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The flow of the combustion gases between the gas generator and free power turbine provided the same functionality as a torque converter but without using a conventional liquid medium. Twin rotating recuperators transferred exhaust heat to the inlet air, greatly improving fuel economy. Varying stator blades prevented excessive top end speeds, and provided engine braking on deceleration. Throttle lag, high fuel consumption (17mpg) and exhaust gas temperatures at idle plagued early models; Chrysler was able to remedy or mitigate most of these drawbacks and deficiencies. Furthermore, the car sounded like a giant vacuum cleaner, which was not satisfying to consumers who were more comfortable with the sound of a large American V8. High altitude troubled the combined starter-generator, for instance, while failing to follow the correct start-up procedure could wreck the engine in seconds. But troubles were remarkably few for such a bold experiment. More than 1.1 million test miles were accumulated by the 50 cars given to the public, and operational down-time stood at only 4%.
      The bodies and interiors were crafted by Ghia in Italy. As each body was finished and shipped to Detroit, Chrysler employees installed gas turbine engines, transmissions and electrical components to prepare the cars for use by the 203 average motorists - 20 of them women - who were chosen to test them.
      The Turbine Car was a two-door hardtop coupe with four individual bucket seats, power steering, power brakes and power windows. Its most prominent design features were two large horizontal taillights and nozzles (back-up lights) mounted inside a very heavy chrome sculptured bumper. Up front, the single headlamps were mounted in chrome nacelles with a turbine styling theme, creating a striking appearance. This theme was carried through to the center console and the hubcaps. Even the tires were specially made with small turbine vanes molded into the white sidewalls. It was finished in "Frostfire Metallic", later called "Turbine Bronze" and available on production automobiles. The roof was covered in black vinyl, and the interior featured bronze-colored "English calfskin" leather upholstery with plush-cut pile bronze-colored carpet.
      The dashboard was lighted with electroluminescent panels in the gauge pods and on a call-out strip across the dash. This system did not use bulbs; instead, an inverter and transformer raised the battery voltage to over 100 volts AC and passed that high voltage through special plastic layers, causing the gauges to glow with a blue-green light.
      The car itself was designed in the Chrysler studios under the direction of Elwood Engel, who had worked for the Ford Motor Company before his move to Chrysler. The designer credited with the actual look of the car was Charles Mashigan, who designed a two-seat show car called the Typhoon, which was displayed at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. Engle used many older Ford styling themes. The rear tailight/bumper assembly was copied directly(with revisions) from a 1956 Ford styling study called the "Galaxia". Fortunately, he used none of the themes associated with his folly of the 1964 Imperial.
      A total of 55 turbine cars were produced. When Chrysler had finished the user program and other public displays of the cars, 46 of them were destroyed to avoid an import duty. Of the remaining nine cars, six had the engines de-activated and then they were donated to museums around the country. Chrysler retained three of the turbine cars for historical reasons. Of the nine remaining turbine cars only three were functional. One of the cars kept by Chrysler is stored in running condition at the proving grounds, while another car was purchased from a museum by a private automobile collector and is also functional (Frank Kleptz of Terre Haute, Indiana). The last turbine car that is functional is owned by the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, was photographed for Mopar Action magazine, and appears at car shows around the United States from time to time. An owner of a non-functional car got in contact with then Chrysler chairman Robert Lutz, who gave him the proper part to make it functional[citation needed], making four out of the nine fully working vehicles.
      But the programme didn't die completely. The handsome new coupe body would appear, re-engineered and rebadged, as the '66 Dodge Charger. Chrysler went on to develop a sixth generation gas-turbine engine which did meet NoX regulations, and installed it in a '66 Dodge Coronet, though it was never shown. A smaller, lighter seventh generation engine was produced in the early 70s, when company received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for further development, and a special bodied turbine LeBaron was built in 1977 as a prelude to a production run. But by then the company was in dire financial straits and about to be bailed out by the US government. A condition of that deal was that gas-turbine mass production be abandoned because it was "too risky" giving roots to many conspiracy theories.


      Modified by westy66 at 6:47 PM 5-7-2008


      Modified by westy66 at 7:00 PM 5-7-2008

    2. Banned kwik!gti's Avatar
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      05-07-2008 09:49 PM #2
      Yes, read an article in Hemmings a while back and was fascinated.

    3. 05-07-2008 10:13 PM #3
      I think what killed this project is that it ran on anything....

    4. 05-07-2008 10:19 PM #4
      Cool article...
      One of one old and dear friends worked for Chrysler for many years and was in charge of doling out the Chrysler Turbine car in the Washington DC area. He once recanted a tale of a woman who was terrified of the Turbine - after she ran it into a kerb, she called Wally to "take it away - I can't drive it, it's going to explode". In Wally's words, "I gave her my company car - a New Yorker and Helen (his wife) and I drove the Turbine for a month". In her late 80s, Helen's comment about the car "It was so cool - it idled at 25,000 rpms!!!"

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      05-07-2008 10:32 PM #5
      Saw something on the History Channel about it. Apparently it did not generate enough low end torque at slow speeds to be good for daily commuting. Also, you run into the same problems as that turbine powered bike that Jay Leno has. There is a delay in speeding up, and slowing down. What WOULD work though, is using that turbine to spin a generator, and then running it on electric motors, a la the M1 Abrams.

    6. 05-07-2008 10:38 PM #6
      No CO and they managed to make it NOx compliant... sounds really cool, I wonder why I never heard of it. Situation reminds me of 'who killed the electric car'

    7. 05-07-2008 10:47 PM #7
      I think that a turbine will be more useful now that more advanced CVT transmissions are available, as turbines are most efficient at a constant engine speed.

    8. 05-07-2008 11:20 PM #8
      Quote, originally posted by SVTJayC »
      What WOULD work though, is using that turbine to spin a generator, and then running it on electric motors, a la the M1 Abrams.

      Given electric technology at that time, all that circuitry and hardware would have filled a city block (per se) but that's a very interesting concept - gas/electric hybrid where the gas engine runs an electric motor. Today's hybrids are a variation on that theme by charging batteries AND running in conjunction with an electric motor.

    9. Member Juniper Monkeys's Avatar
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      05-08-2008 01:04 AM #9
      Quote, originally posted by mgyip »
      Given electric technology at that time, all that circuitry and hardware would have filled a city block

      Quoi?! I think the 1915-22 Owen Magnetic, which used the exact same system SVTJayC described (but with a gasoline engine instead of a turbine), would have a thing or two to say about that - and 50 years previous to the Chrysler Turbine, no less

      Quote, originally posted by Henry Lent »
      The drive mechanism had no direct connection between the engine and the rear wheels. Instead of a flywheel, a generator and a horseshoe shaped magnet were attached to the rear of the engine's crank shaft. On the forward end of the car's drive shaft, was an electric motor with an armature fitted into an air space inside the whirling magnet. Electrical current, transmitted by the engine's generator and magnet attached to the armature of the electrical motor, providing the energy to turn the drive shaft and propel the engine's rear wheels. Speed for the car was controlled by a small lever adjacent to the steering wheel.
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    10. Member cityjohn's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 02:30 AM #10
      You can see this car in Southern California:
      http://www.petersen.org/defaul...dex=5


      In person it reminds me of a Thunderbird painted the same color as our Dodge Dart.

    11. 05-09-2008 02:48 AM #11
      Quote, originally posted by SVTJayC »
      What WOULD work though, is using that turbine to spin a generator, and then running it on electric motors, a la the M1 Abrams.

      The turbine engine drives the tank, not an electric motor. Perhaps you are thinking more along the lines of the old diesel submarines?

    12. Junior Member NoAllegiance's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 03:06 AM #12
      I Love this car. I love the looks, the idea, the engine, everything. I'd drive it even without the whole turbine idea...It just looks like such a Classic Hit car that never even existed.

    13. Member 98JettaGT's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 03:35 AM #13
      It's quite a car to behold in person. It's still a handsome vehicle now, as it likely was in it's day.
      The sound of the Turbine running is something that is hard to forget... i've not seen one of those running examples since I was a kid, but I won't ever forget it.

    14. 05-09-2008 07:34 AM #14
      I work with a gentleman who was on the development team for the actual turbine back at the start of his career. he just showed me this stuff the other day, has a bunch of old papers on it. neat.

    15. Member ROCK AND ROLL CHEVY's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 08:01 AM #15
      I found this clip on YouTube, if anyone wants to hear what it sounds like.

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      05-09-2008 08:52 AM #16
      Very intersting... all this talk of conspiracy theories makes me wonder how many other interesting technologies have been put to rest because they competed with oil companies.
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      05-09-2008 08:56 AM #17
      I'm glad you brought this up - when I was in Detroit last month for the SAE World Congress, I had a good conversation with the curator of the Walter P. Chrysler museum. I'm working on having access to one of a handful of remaining, drivable Chrysler turbine cars for a future article.

    18. Member axe's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 09:02 AM #18
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IF0VbUb_Ug
      Another vid. These cars are amazing, I hope Turbine technology is revisited soon... Mazda? You hear that?
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    19. Banned BillLeBob's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 09:12 AM #19
      My father worked for Chrysler during the period where the turbine cars were tested. While he did not drive one, he was in direct contact with and around one on a daily basis for a limited time. IIRC one of the or THE plant manager at the New Castle IN Chrysler plant had one for a while. Dad indicated that one of the huge problems with them was the exhaust heat. It was hot enough to discolor chrome bumpers and burn paint off of cars that got too close to one at a stop.

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      05-09-2008 09:29 AM #20
      Quote, originally posted by Wes@motivemag »
      I'm glad you brought this up - when I was in Detroit last month for the SAE World Congress, I had a good conversation with the curator of the Walter P. Chrysler museum. I'm working on having access to one of a handful of remaining, drivable Chrysler turbine cars for a future article.

      Um..... hello. I think you need a co-driver....... [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emgift.gif[/IMG]
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      05-09-2008 09:39 AM #21
      Quote, originally posted by SVTJayC »
      Saw something on the History Channel about it. Apparently it did not generate enough low end torque at slow speeds to be good for daily commuting. Also, you run into the same problems as that turbine powered bike that Jay Leno has. There is a delay in speeding up, and slowing down. What WOULD work though, is using that turbine to spin a generator, and then running it on electric motors, a la the M1 Abrams.

      It didn't work



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      05-09-2008 09:53 AM #22
      As for IC/electric hybrids, I can beat that Owen Magnetic...
      The FIRST ever Porsche was a gasoline-electric series hybrid - the 1901 Lohner-Porsche Mixte.

    23. Member Green Panzer's Avatar
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      05-09-2008 09:55 AM #23

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      05-09-2008 10:22 AM #24
      That compressor wheel is garbage. We have come a long way in that area.
      Also the turbine/generator to storage to motors IS the platform for excellent fuel efficiency, power, and performance.

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      05-09-2008 10:27 AM #25
      I was at some small car show in Detroit, a Turbine was there (I have no idea if it was running or not). Incredible looking machine in person. My cousin, who is also into cars (hard not to be when you live near Detroit), hadn't heard of it either. Now that I know how rare they are I feel privileged to have seen it.



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