The Chrysler Turbine programme began in 1954 and
lasted until 1981. Over the 27 year span, a total of seven-generations of turbine engines were designed. It was 50
years ago that the stylish 1963 Chrysler Turbine came with Chrysler's fifth-generation turbine engine. While, the
majority of the turbine development engines were installed in standard Chrysler cars and trucks, only the 1963
Ghia-bodied version was designed to be powered with a turbine engine.
A total of 50 Ghia-bodied gas-turbine cars were manufactured in 1963 and 1964. Most of the vehicles were loaned to
members of the general public for a three-month trial period. Over the life of the programme, a total of 200 families
used the Chrysler Turbine vehicles. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
All 50 Chrysler Turbine test cars were painted “Turbine Bronze” and had matching interiors. However, one of the
vehicles was repainted white and driven in the 1964 movie “The Lively Set” by a Chrysler engineer.
To prove the engines flexibility, the vehicles were run on perfume, alcohol, kerosene, diesel and even JP-4 jet fuel.
The twin-regenerator gas-turbine engine featured two independent turbine wheels – one to power the vehicle and a second
to drive the compressor and engine accessories. This fifth-generation turbine engine was coupled to a modified
TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission. Engine output was 130 horsepower and an impressive 450 ft.-lb. of torque
at the output shaft.