Press Information Service
Detroit 31, Michigan
For Immediate Use
Chrysler Corporation engineering and styling staffs are now designing a turbine car which will be entirely new in appearance and which should become avail able for sale to selected customers in the latter part of 1963.
Details of the revolutionary engine development were revealed here today to newspaper, radio and television news representatives.
Chrysler Corporation has for some time been conducting an evaluation of consumer reactions to the turbine and a thorough analysis of manufacturing processes and costs to determine the technical and financial feasibility of putting a turbine- powered automobile into limited production.
On the basis of this evaluation of the consumer response to the turbo cars, top management at Chrysler Corporation is satisfied that a market does exist for turbine-powered automobiles. Also, Chrysler manufacturing research experts have presented a favorable report on the limited production possibilities of the turbine engine.
As a result, Chrysler Corporation has decided to build 50 to 75 turbine-powered passenger cars which should become available for sale to selected customers In the latter part of 1963.
The decision to build a limited number of turbine cars followed the completion of highly-successful over-the-road engineering trips by two of the turbine cars~ The transcontinental 3, l00-mile run of the Dodge Turbo Dart from New York to Los Angeles, and the 440-mile coast run of the Plymouth Turbo Fury from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Since the completion of the Dodge coast-to-coast run and during the consumer evaluation tests, the Plymouth and Dodge turbo cars had been displayed in corporation dealerships in major market cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago.
During this period, an estimated 60, 000 people came to see the turbine cars in these seven cities. Public interest was intense and serious. Thousands filled out consumer questionnaires to give their opinions regarding the turbine cars.
Several thousand other persons, who had not seen the cars but had read or heard reports of the turbine development in the press, TV and radio news reports, wrote to the auto company in Detroit to express their wishes to own turbo cars.
Public enthusiasm and excitement over the turbine was overwhelming.
The “pocketbook” benefits of the turbine were of uppermost interest to the people who saw the turbo cars and filled out turbine questionnaires.
One out of every two persons considered the fact that the turbine will burn any fuel and that it promises less maintenance and less failure as the two most important advantages of the new engine, Thirty-nine per cent voted for no tune-ups and 34 per cent for no oil changes as the top important features of the turbine.
When asked, “II this car were offered for sale to the motoring public, do you think you would buy one?” 30 per cent of the turbine viewers said “yes” they would definitely buy one and 54 per cent answered they would think seriously of buying one.
Consumer research will continue to make systematic and scientific samplings of public opinion as it concerns the budding turbine market, And Chrysler production experts have their jobs cut out for them, because, in effect, they have to create a textbook on the machines and techniques that have to be devised to build turbine engines economically - - something not done by anyone, anywhere.
When asked, why should we want to put turbines in automobiles? Chrysler’s research scientists reply:
The answers to this lie in the turbine itself, the most fundamental one is the simplicity of the turbine, and it has only about a fifth as many parts as the piston engine. These parts rotate smoothly on simple sleeve bearings. This makes the turbine smooth, practically vibration-less.
The turbines are long-lived engines. The absence of the torturing movements of the piston engine means less wear-and-tear and less maintenance.
The turbine has a clean, cool exhaust, no carbon monoxide, no unburned carbon, and no raw hydrocarbons. In other words, it does not contribute to smog nor does it go down the street pouring smoke into the atmosphere like a diesel.
Nevertheless, it win run beautifully on peanut oil, gasoline, kerosene, alcohol, furnace oil, French perfume, or practically anything that is available as fuel, that will run through a pipe and that will burn with air.
The turbine engine has no distributor and breaker points to re-tune seasonally. It has only one spark plug and that is used only to start the engine. It has the simplest ignition system possible. The turbine needs no anti-freeze and it has never been necessary to change oil in any of the Chrysler-built turbines -- fill them up once and the oil lasts for the life of the engine.
As for fuel mileage with the revolutionary new power plant, under controlled conditions with speeds ranging from city traffic to 80 miles per hour, the turbines have consistently averaged about 17-1/4 miles per gallon with an overall road speed of about 52 miles per hour over extended distances.
The overall average is based on use of four kinds of fuel: white gasoline, leaded gasoline, JP-4 (jet fuel) and diesel fuel. Diesel fuel, which gives the best mileage because it has more heat units per gallon, has achieved 19.4 miles per gallon with the turbine engine running at constant speed on trips in excess of 500 miles.
The turbine engine has only about 60 major parts as compared to about 300 major piston engine parts and the turbine weighs about 250 pounds less than a standard V-8 piston engine.
On acceleration, the 1962 Plymouth and Dodge Turbo cars with their 140- horsepower turbine engines have about the same performance as similar vehicles with large, 200-plus horsepower V-8 engines equipped with power pack.
Chrysler Corporation has great confidence in the future of the turbine engine. The gas turbine program has had number one priority at Chrysler research ~or a number of years. Many millions of dollars have been spent on its development.
Chrysler officials believe the investment in this engine is approaching the time when it will pay off for the motorist.
FEBRUARY 14, 1962
Page updated 4-15-2004