British initiative has produced the Rover T3 gas-turbine car. It has a free-turbine power unit, developed from the Rover industrial gas turbine of 1954, comprising a centrifugal compressor driven by a single-stage turbine and a single-stage power-turbine. The compressor-turbine runs at 52.000 rpm, compression pressure is 3.85 to 1 and the air-mass flow at maximum rpm, 2 lb/sec at 55.8 lb/sq in absolute pressure, maximum nozzle temperature being 830 deg C. The power-turbine drives a 7.45-to-1 reduction box, from which the drive is taken to all four wheels.
The gas-turbine unit is started by a 12-volt electric motor which drives the compressor-shaft at 15,000 rpm, through a 10-to-1 step-up gear, and is located in the boot of the car. No clutch or gearbox is required, and on a power output of 110 bhp the Rover T3 has a maximum speed in excess of 100 mph, and is claimed to aecelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in 101/2 sec, and to 80 mph in 18 sec. A plate-type secondary surface, contra-flow heat-exchanger ensures a relatively low paraffin consumption, the quoted figures ranging from 13.8 mpg at a steady 40 mph, to 12.8 mpg at a steady 80 mph.
The Rover T3 has an wheelbase of 7 ft 10 in, and carries spare wheel and fuel tank in front, luggage behind the back seat. A de Dion back axle is used and the hard-top coupe body is of plastics-reinforced glassfibre.
Although the Rover T3 is not intended as as production model, it is nearer that stage than any other gas-turbine car and great credit is due to the Rover engineers, headed by Maurice Wilks, M.I.Mech.E. Peter Wilks and Spencer King, for thus presenting at Earls Court a car so well able to wave the Union Jack. It can be seen on Stand 153.