Chrysler Turbine Car Program | Steve Lehto | Talks at Google | Summary and Q&A

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November 29, 2010
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Chrysler Turbine Car Program | Steve Lehto | Talks at Google

TL;DR

The Chrysler Turbine Car was an innovative project in the 1960s that involved building a fleet of cars with jet engines, which were lent out to the public and received a lot of attention. However, due to various challenges, including environmental concerns and financial troubles, the program was eventually discontinued.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the public react to the Chrysler Turbine Car?

The public was fascinated by the idea of cars with jet engines, and the cars received a lot of attention wherever they went. People would often approach the owners to ask about the car and request rides or photos.

Q: Why did the Chrysler Turbine Car program come to an end?

The program faced multiple challenges, including the rising concern over smog and the need for more fuel-efficient vehicles due to the OPEC oil embargo. Additionally, the cost of mass-producing the cars and meeting emission standards proved to be too much for Chrysler, which was also struggling financially.

Q: What happened to the majority of the Turbine Cars?

After the program ended, Chrysler rounded up and destroyed 46 out of the 55 cars they had built. They kept three cars for themselves and offered the remaining six to museums. Some of the cars are now in private collections, including one owned by Jay Leno.

Q: How did the Turbine Car perform compared to traditional cars?

The Turbine Car had a different performance feel due to its automatic transmission and the way power was transferred from the engine to the wheels. The acceleration was not as quick as some sports cars of the time, but the car was designed to perform well at highway speeds.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Chrysler spent 25 years developing jet engine technology in automobiles, and the Turbine Car program was one of their most ambitious projects.

  • The cars were built by Ghia in Italy and had distinctive features, such as aluminum body panels and fins designed to resemble a jet engine.

  • The cars were lent out to 203 different families, who enjoyed driving them and received a lot of attention from the public.

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