Its turbine engine only has 130 horsepower, but that’s because it’s been geared down internally to produce 425 pound-feet of torque at the output shaft. Idling between 18,000 and 22,000 RPM, the engine is whisper smooth, quiet, and will happily take the Chrysler-designed, Ghia-bodied cars all the way up to 120 miles per hour. At that point, the engine will be spinning at 60,000 RPM.
If that power figure seems a little low for an engine that works on the same basic principles as those found in jet aircraft, that’s because turbine engines in cars were never designed for maximum power. The advantages of the turbine were its far fewer moving parts leading to theoretically higher reliability and the fact that it could run on any combustible liquid. In the end, it turned out that those two advantages weren’t enough to overcome the powerplant’s shortcomings, at least for use in cars. The engines were expensive to produce and put out a ton of heat as well as a tremendous amount of noxious emissions.
After the idea truly fizzled out for passenger cars in the 1970s, we’re left with what we have today; just nine Chrysler Turbine Cars, and a few other odds and ends floating around from the Big Three. That’s not meant to be a downer, though. The opportunity to buy a Chrysler Turbine Car is an incredible one, and if you’re a car enthusiast reading this with millions of dollars burning a hole in your presumably massive pocket, well, here’s a chance to own a piece of history.
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