Trip to St. Louis, April - 2005
The plan - leave on Monday, drive straight through to St. Louis, meet Mike (the curator of the St. Louis Museum's turbine car) at an un-disclosed location. The car would be on a hoist and ready for me to take photos of and drive!
We left on time - 4:00 pm and drove south on Hwy #53 to the Wisconsin Dells; we slept there and proceeded Tuesday morning for St. Louis. It was rain all the way through Wisconsin and Illinois! Then about 3:15 when we were about an hour from St. Louis, the clouds broke and sun appeared! I thought - wow! All that rain and they had been predicting more for the day and ending by Wednesday - now the sun was out!
My joy was premature! We got to the location of the car and met with Mike. I took some photos on the rack - they follow. We put it on the ground and prepared to start it - Mike always runs it through a start cycle without the fuel turned on to make sure the bearings are all lubricated. That worked fine - spun up to about 15,000 RPM and the relay tripped killing the cycle. Mike put the battery charger on the batteries for a few minutes and tried to start it.
About now, I expected to be filming the start, the moving to the door and a short trip in the car - what happened was a very strange noise - not the spinning sound of a turbine starting - more like a mechanical "raspberry" blown by a machine that did not want to cooperate. Mike tried a few things and it seems my "Turbine Car - Karma" has been all used up! I had the same thing happen in 2003 when I visited Frank Kleptz in Indiana to ride in his turbine car. That would not start either!
Mike has never had this happen since he put the car back on the road. Mike does a great job on keeping the flame alive and in now way do I feel anything could have stopped the car from breaking - it was just going to happen. But I do have a feeling that maybe I should not try to get a ride in any of the other turbine cars - I mean two for two right now - that is not good odds.
Anyway, I did get some detail photos I never had before. I really thank Mike for his time and effort and I hope he will be able to get it back running soon. I know he will be working on it the first chance he gets. Mike has a real love for that automobile!
Lets start where I did - I had never seen this before - it is an aluminum bracket from the front stub frame to the rear - I have talked to my expert Bill Carry and he says it was to protect the exhaust ducts from things like speed lumps etc..
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Page last up-dated on 4/26/2005