The Chrysler Turbine Car Started Out as a Ford

We’ll probably never again see something like the combination real world test and publicity campaign that put 50 Chrysler Turbine cars in the hands of American families to test drive for a few months in the mid 1960s. That we’re talking about it more than 50 years later shows just how effective the PR for the Turbine was. Consequently, the Chrysler Turbine is undoubtedly one of the best known concept cars ever. Less well known is the fact that the Chrysler Turbine as we know it started out as a Ford.

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Book Review: Chrysler's Turbine Car – The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation

First things first: having stuck my neck out a quite a bit with a piece I wrote last year The Truth About Why Chrysler Destroyed The Turbine Car, I approached this book with a mixture of eagerness and trepidation to find out if my own theory held any water. It does (whew!). This well researched book by Steve Lehto confirms it: the myth that Chrysler had the bronze beauties scrapped because of import duties that needed to be paid is utter junk and a baseless urban myth. It even confirms my speculation that the Ghia bodies cost about $20k each, and therefore any import duties would have been insignificant:

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The Truth About Why Chrysler Destroyed The Turbine Cars

The video showing the destruction of 46 of the 55 Chrysler Turbine Cars we posted recently generated lots of heated discussion. The key issue is, and has been for years, whether import tariffs played a material role in Chrysler’s decision. There is a wealth of sites and reprinted vintage articles dedicated to the TC, and the import duty conspiracy theory reoccurs throughout them. Interestingly, Wikipedia, which is not to be trusted in all things automotive, is the only source that throws some doubt on that story: “The story at the time that this was done to avoid an import tariff was incorrect[ citation needed].” Lacking that citation, it was time to do some further sleuthing, and either join the tariff theorists, or put a stake through it once and for all.

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  • Lorenzo The solution is so simple: if the driver shifts into neutral without applying the parking brake, the horn sounds and lights flash until the parking brake is applied. After the third time, the driver should be insulted by a voice saying, "Shouldn't your wife be driving?", or "Where did you get your license - Dollar Store?"
  • Akear About 7 years ago crazy Mary said there is no future for Hybrids and GM would concentrate on EVs. Barra has an amazing ability to make the wrong decisions on just about every issue. I used to think Rick Wagoneer and Roger smith were the biggest GM idiots. I am not so sure now.
  • GBJT I’ll keep my 2021 Tundra and wouldn’t buy a 2022 Tundra due to the twin turbo V6 and transmission.
  • 2manyvettes Um, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I clearly remember a story about used EV's in China rotting away in a field somewhere because nobody wanted to buy them, much less dealers wanting to sell them. Anyone, anyone, Bueller,Bueller?
  • Lorenzo To call it a Picasso, it should have been more angular. They should have called it a Degas, it's my impression cars look better in pastels.