Unusual. In 1963, the turbine-powered Chrysler ran on all fuel … even tequila

We are in the early 60s and the US is experiencing unprecedented growth. Every American family must have at least one car, and the hour is too long.

Stylistically, all the extravagances are allowed. When it comes to technology, the big three, the three big carmakers stick to what they know how to do best: the good old V8 engine. But at Chrysler, we have an idea in mind.


In the 1960s, manufacturers were looking for solutions for the future. Photo Wheelsage

A car inspired by airplanes

Chrysler has been working on turbine engines for a while. In the midst of the aviation boom, it may become crucial to be the first manufacturer to offer a car with a jet engine. In 1963, Chrysler unveiled its Turbine Car. It develops 130 horsepower to a torque of 425 Nm, a good value at the moment.

The engine is a two-stage gas turbine. The car is making headlines, all of America wants to see the car of the future. To drive the point home, the car offers a design inspired by turbines. Chrysler brings its turbine-powered car to American homes. The Chrysler Turbine is no longer a concept car, it will be produced in small series.

A unique technology, but too complicated for the series.  Photo Wheelsage

A unique technology, but too complicated for the series. Photo Wheelsage

But how does it work?

If everyone is curious to discover this car, the Turbine car fascinates and scares a little. Chrysler will take on a nationwide tour to showcase the car and explain how it works. “The gas turbine car must convert propulsion

of the engine in torque or rotational force to drive the automatic transmission smoothly. In both cases, the gas that drives the engine, air, is heated to 1,850-2,500 degrees Fahrenheit to make it explosively expansive so that it rotates the turbine blades, ”explains the periodical. . Suffice it to say that no one understands anything about it.

This car was capable of running on any fuel.  Photo Wheelsage

This car was capable of running on any fuel. Photo Wheelsage

She rolls for anything

What motorists remember is that this Chrysler Turbine can run on any flammable liquid. We are talking here about petrol, diesel, petroleum, soybean oil or other alcohol.

With this promise, Chrysler decides to produce its car. For this he will summon the body builder Ghia, who will be in charge of the assembly. A production that almost takes place by hand, in the absence of a mill factory.

At the same time, the US government will tax the import of cars from Italy. Suddenly, Chrysler Turbines becomes unsaleable in the United States, even before the marketing really starts.

The design was aggressive just like the technology.  Photo Wheelsage

The design was aggressive just like the technology. Photo Wheelsage

A deterrent cost

To build its cars in the United States, Chrysler estimates the investment would amount to $ 1 billion. For every car produced, the engine would cost more than $ 10,000. Amounts impossible to make profitable and pass on to the selling price. Chrysler faces a strange dilemma.

Pay either all import duties or destroy the vehicles. The American producer submits to the will of the government and destroys most of the production, that is, about fifty copies.

Today, only a small handful remain, exhibited in private collections and museums. The turbine car will not change the world.

The Mexican president wanted to roll it on Tequila

During a tour of the South American continent, the Chrysler Turbine was on Mexican soil before being presented to Adolfo Mateos, President of Mexico. The latter is explained that the car could run on any flammable liquid fuel, then asks a question to the Chrysler executives.

“Can we roll in tequila?” Immediately, the panicked leaders call the Detroit technicians, who immediately confirm. This is how President Mateos takes a short walk around the city in the world’s first car to drive on Tequila.

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