Along the road of technological advancement, there were a lot of dead ends. Few are quite as pretty or interesting as the 1963 Chrysler Turbine Cars, though.
Inspired by America’s fascination with the jet age, Chrysler decided to investigate the feasibility of turbine-powered cars, starting in the mid-’50s. And why not? Gas turbines were quiet, low-maintenance, and had a great power-to-weight ratio.
As Chrysler’s engineers found out, though, there were many reasons they weren’t suitable, chief among which were the high fuel consumption, high heat, and acceleration lag. But the engineers persisted and by the early ’60s, the company was eager to try building around 50 prototypes.
Designed by Elwood Engel and built by Ghia, the cars were sent out to a nationwide pool of testers before they returned to Chrysler to be destroyed. Nine were spared, though, and most were sent to museums where almost all of them remain to this day.
In fact, according to the seller, this is one of just two in private hands, with the other belonging to Jay Leno. This one, chassis number 991231, was owned by collector Frank Kleptz who bought it in the ’80s. Before that, it was owned by Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza.
The car was restored in the ’90s with the help of GE Engine Services and still runs today. It was listed at Hemmings, and even though we do not know how much it sold for, its rarity means that it must have fetched a pretty penny.