The gasman never came



Gordon Cruickshank, in his look at experimental racing and record gas-turbine cars, the most complete I have read, explained the problems of producing practical road cars with turbine power, so that none were ever available as catalogue models.

Nevertheless, in 1963 I was among those British writers privileged to drive a turbine that Chrysler had brought over for us to try. We assembled at the Bridge Hotel in Dorking to be driven round the test route in a Chrysler Newport or Plymouth Fury to make sure we did not lose this unusual car, with turbine engine in a four-seater Ghia body: maximum revs 44,610, top temp 982 deg C.

I told of Chrysler’s coast-to-coast and other long-duration tests of its turbine vehicles, of how 50 such cars had been built to lend at no charge to 200 people, and of course recorded my driving impressions. Each of us was given a wallet full of publicity material, ending “listen for it — the exciting new sound of the Chrysler Corporation’s Turbine Car. How soon will this sound become familiar?” Of course, it never did.