Chrysler Turboflite

Chrysler Turboflite 1960s American concept car

The Chrysler Turboflite had 'radical' written all over it. The goal was to put a gas-turbine-powered car in the showrooms of America. The set-up had been seen before - in land speed record cars. Chrysler wanted to make it available to Everyman ... albeit detuned a tad! The company had already done its R&D. As far back as '54, it put a gas-turbine in a Plymouth. The car was driven from NY to LA - by Head of Research George Huebner. 50 or so variations on the theme were built. Not to mention, numerous new motors. In '61, the test schedule was complete. Chrysler were ready to unveil their latest gas-turbine-powered creation. They dubbed it the 'Turboflite'.

Maury Baldwin styled the new dream car. Restrained, it was not! Most notably - and that was saying something - it came equipped with an aerofoil. Not just any old aerofoil, mind! But one that pivoted, to help with braking. At the front, the open wheels and pointed nose smacked of street-rods. Lashings of chrome set them off to a tee. And, the Turboflite's interior was similarly striking. Space-age seats looked suitably enticing. Electro-luminescent lighting added more laid-back luxury. Even accessing the cabin was fun. Opening either door automatically raised the cockpit canopy.

The Turboflite's gas-turbine engine was code-named CR2A. Chrysler claimed it weighed half as much as their standard V8. After all, it comprised just 60, rather than 300 moving parts. Chrysler knew it worked okay. A Dodge truck had comprehensively tested it, prior to the Turboflite's d├ębut. Ghia were recruited to coachbuild the car. The Italian masters were given the most exacting of briefs. Chrysler were serious about this one ... so, every last detail mattered. In time, Ghia built bodies for the Chrysler Turbine - the production version of the Turboflite prototype. But, while it was a means to an end, its exuberance of style - visual and technical - made the Chrysler Turboflite more than a mere staging-post.

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