A few months back while cleaning out my tool box, I came across two
items from my past. These small mementos brought back memories of the
excitement and the promise in the future of automobiles in the 1960's.
As my father worked for Chrysler back then, I had the opportunity to see
literature on new models and prototypes. The most exciting project at
Chrysler in the early 1960's was the on-going "Turbine-car" project
started almost ten years earlier.
Although Chrysler had been installing turbine engines in test vehicles for years, 1963 was different....Fifty Ghia built bodies had been shipped from Italy and were fitted with the Chrysler turbine designed engine for the public to drive. I was too young back then to drive, but I was old enough to recognize that if public tests were being performed now, surely I would have one in my garage someday.
Living near Chicago in the mid-1960's I was lucky enough to "hang-out" at the Chicago Auto Show while dad worked there, and also attend some functions where the turbine car would be driven in for publicity. As the Chrysler Mid-West Regional office was in Northlake, IL. at that time, there was frequently a turbine car on premises for repairs or storage as the program wound down.
It was unbelievable to me when I learned that the cars were being
scrapped with only a few saved from the crusher. The program was being
terminated with no further word on development. The turbine car dreams
would have to be put on hold. My first car was a '62 Ford Thunderbird,
so if you take that Elwood Engel designed vehicle and drive it
backwards, it does resemble his turbine design for Chrysler.
After finding that long-lost Turbine car hood ornament and horn center, I dug out other artifacts tucked away for years. So my personal start on a turbine car consist of the parts above, a promotional model (which ironically is missing it's hood ornament), promotional brochures and some corporate press-releases.