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(Inventorspot)   Fifty years ago today, the first Chrysler Turbine Car was taken out for a spin   (inventorspot.com) divider line 45
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3359 clicks; posted to Geek » on 29 Oct 2013 at 7:38 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-29 07:53:30 AM
One thing I've always been curious about in a turbine-powered car is turbine lag. I wonder if they increased the responsiveness or just told the drivers to get used to it.

In fact, I had thought that it was the inability to get instant torque out of a turbine that caused it to never get popular.
 
2013-10-29 08:10:13 AM
Ah, cars that remind me of the good old days before Civil Rights were a "thing"; back when every picture had that warm American sepia tint to it, television was clean, a man could discipline his wife and children with impunity, and politicians always voted for good American value.

Where have those golden years gone?
 
2013-10-29 08:24:25 AM
i2.cdn.turner.com

/Damn you Jay Leno!
 
2013-10-29 08:35:22 AM
My grandmother was one of the people who had one of these cars - my family keeps confirming the whole "vacuum cleaner" complaint.
 
2013-10-29 08:35:43 AM

Hiro Nakamura: One thing I've always been curious about in a turbine-powered car is turbine lag. I wonder if they increased the responsiveness or just told the drivers to get used to it.

In fact, I had thought that it was the inability to get instant torque out of a turbine that caused it to never get popular.


Torque just isn't something a turbine can really do. They're very good a sustained high speed, though. The turbine indy cars did well enough to get banned, but i think that was also due to them being able to do the whole race without stopping for fuel.
 
2013-10-29 08:36:58 AM
I wonder what kind of gas mileage it got?  47,000 RPM seems like it would burn fuel like mad.
 
2013-10-29 08:42:31 AM

Solon Isonomia: My grandmother was one of the people who had one of these cars - my family keeps confirming the whole "vacuum cleaner" complaint.


Yeah, the "vacuum cleaner" sound was actually a big complaint.   Whooshing down the highway is one thing, but sitting at a stoplight sounding like an Electrolux doesn't do much for one's self-esteem.  The other big problem with the turbine engines is emissions control.

I've seen one up close, and the metallic bronze paint looks great!
 
2013-10-29 08:46:31 AM
What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.
 
2013-10-29 08:56:06 AM
WordsnCollision:
img.fark.net
/Damn you Jay Leno!


Seeing Leno snotting around in one of these cars makes me glad it was built before Nader-era safety mandates were implemented. The thought of Jay's chin smashing up against a stainless steel dashboard made of sharp angles (assuming it doesn't get crushed in the steering wheel) in a potential accident makes me feel hopeful.

8w.forix.com
 
2013-10-29 08:56:13 AM

yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.


The idea has come up a few times, sounds great whenever its announced, and quietly fades from the headlines not long after.

People, especially the people who develop cars,  really like their ICE and making the leap to any new technology is going to be an uphill battle.
 
2013-10-29 08:57:57 AM
So, which would win:  the '66 Batmobile, or the '89 Batmobile?

(Yes, I know the '66 Batmobile isn't really a turbine powered car, but I love this clip. Especially the ending).

My dad always wanted one of these, but never got around to finding one.
 
2013-10-29 08:59:05 AM

yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.


I googled "turbine electric hybrid" and I found two articles, one about a big rig and one about a compact European car. They both sound very interesting. I can't find any hard numbers on MPG or 0-60, but I'm sure there's something out there. Maybe there's a reason it doesn't work, or maybe it just hasn't been fully developed yet.
 
2013-10-29 09:04:05 AM

jonny_q: yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.

I googled "turbine electric hybrid" and I found two articles, one about a big rig and one about a compact European car. They both sound very interesting. I can't find any hard numbers on MPG or 0-60, but I'm sure there's something out there. Maybe there's a reason it doesn't work, or maybe it just hasn't been fully developed yet.


This was my thought. Have the turbine make some electric which is used to provide low speed torque then switch to the turbine for high speed. Hell make it a proper jet engine for higher speeds...

I`d buy that car...
 
2013-10-29 09:10:42 AM

Devolving_Spud: Solon Isonomia: My grandmother was one of the people who had one of these cars - my family keeps confirming the whole "vacuum cleaner" complaint.

Yeah, the "vacuum cleaner" sound was actually a big complaint.   Whooshing down the highway is one thing, but sitting at a stoplight sounding like an Electrolux doesn't do much for one's self-esteem.  The other big problem with the turbine engines is emissions control.

I've seen one up close, and the metallic bronze paint looks great!


I like the whine of a turbine. Different strokes I guess.

I wonder how much of the emissions problem would be offset by the increase in overall fuel efficiency or cleaner fuels. TFA said it could run on damn near anything, although tbh I'm skeptical that the same engine that burns biodiesel and other low volatility fuels could burn gasoline with no issues.
 
2013-10-29 09:25:59 AM

WordsnCollision: [i2.cdn.turner.com image 640x360]

/Damn you Jay Leno!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2A5ijU3Ivs

Good way to kill half an hour.
 
2013-10-29 09:38:27 AM

Hiro Nakamura: Devolving_Spud: Solon Isonomia: My grandmother was one of the people who had one of these cars - my family keeps confirming the whole "vacuum cleaner" complaint.

Yeah, the "vacuum cleaner" sound was actually a big complaint.   Whooshing down the highway is one thing, but sitting at a stoplight sounding like an Electrolux doesn't do much for one's self-esteem.  The other big problem with the turbine engines is emissions control.

I've seen one up close, and the metallic bronze paint looks great!

I like the whine of a turbine. Different strokes I guess.

I wonder how much of the emissions problem would be offset by the increase in overall fuel efficiency or cleaner fuels. TFA said it could run on damn near anything, although tbh I'm skeptical that the same engine that burns biodiesel and other low volatility fuels could burn gasoline with no issues.


joshblackman.com

/oblig
 
2013-10-29 09:41:54 AM
My '67 Plymouth Satellite was originally that color.

Chrysler had a problem with the startup emissions on the turbine that the EPA gave a big thumbs-down to.
 
2013-10-29 09:44:03 AM
I saw one of these at the 1963 Worlds Fair in New York. They did sound very odd. They never did explain what to do with 1200 degree exhaust.
 
2013-10-29 10:05:12 AM
Chrysler also built the world's largest tank factory in WWII. To fight military vehicles and equipment made by Ford and GM subsidiaries in Nazi Germany.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30 .h tm
 
2013-10-29 10:25:35 AM

dionysusaur: Hiro Nakamura: One thing I've always been curious about in a turbine-powered car is turbine lag. I wonder if they increased the responsiveness or just told the drivers to get used to it.

In fact, I had thought that it was the inability to get instant torque out of a turbine that caused it to never get popular.

Torque just isn't something a turbine can really do. They're very good a sustained high speed, though. The turbine indy cars did well enough to get banned, but i think that was also due to them being able to do the whole race without stopping for fuel.


Turbines can get a 67 ton tank from 0-30 in 7 seconds, so there must be ways of getting a decent amount of torque out of them.  Whether that's practical for a consumer vehicle is an entirely different question, though.
 
2013-10-29 11:00:13 AM

yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.


My understanding is, basically, energy efficiency. You lose power when you convert it. And at this point, the added weight of the power plant would just further hamper efforts to make it economical, wouldn't it? That or the need to come up with a turbine power plant that's lighter than a battery pack would be, at which point you may as well dump the gas into a generator and charge up the car to really optimize mileage.

I know hybrids work on the idea of a battery pack, then a gas motor to supply juice when the battery runs low, so I suppose a turbine hybrid is feasible, but I don't know that it would necessarily be economical.
 
2013-10-29 11:07:04 AM

Hiro Nakamura: Devolving_Spud: Solon Isonomia: My grandmother was one of the people who had one of these cars - my family keeps confirming the whole "vacuum cleaner" complaint.

Yeah, the "vacuum cleaner" sound was actually a big complaint.   Whooshing down the highway is one thing, but sitting at a stoplight sounding like an Electrolux doesn't do much for one's self-esteem.  The other big problem with the turbine engines is emissions control.

I've seen one up close, and the metallic bronze paint looks great!

I like the whine of a turbine. Different strokes I guess.

I wonder how much of the emissions problem would be offset by the increase in overall fuel efficiency or cleaner fuels. TFA said it could run on damn near anything, although tbh I'm skeptical that the same engine that burns biodiesel and other low volatility fuels could burn gasoline with no issues.


It's only using the fuel to heat air that's passing through the turbine so the fuel doesn't matter so long as it burns and produces heat.  It doesn't need a specific air/fuel ratio to ignite in the cylinder.
 
2013-10-29 11:12:13 AM
Turbines run too hot to pass emissions without the invention of some new type of catalytic converter, but otherwise would make very efficient power-plants for big rigs and locomotives.

Interesting side note on Chrysler's effort: their engineer in charge of the engine went on to found Williams Intenational, a company that makes engines for business jets.
 
2013-10-29 11:25:36 AM
There's one of these cars on display at the St. Louis County Museum of Transportation. It's a neat vehicle.


Incidentally, Union Pacific did make a couple gas turbine powered locomotives (same principle as a diesel-electric, just with a turbine instead of the diesel engine). They worked just fine but the exhaust heat was a real problem... especially when they parked them under an asphalt overpass. IIRC, they were pretty much exiled to long freight runs out west. While they worked fine they just didn't have any huge benefits over a traditional diesel engine.

Hiro Nakamura: Devolving_Spud: Solon Isonomia: My grandmother was one of the people who had one of these cars - my family keeps confirming the whole "vacuum cleaner" complaint.

Yeah, the "vacuum cleaner" sound was actually a big complaint.   Whooshing down the highway is one thing, but sitting at a stoplight sounding like an Electrolux doesn't do much for one's self-esteem.  The other big problem with the turbine engines is emissions control.

I've seen one up close, and the metallic bronze paint looks great!

I like the whine of a turbine. Different strokes I guess.

I wonder how much of the emissions problem would be offset by the increase in overall fuel efficiency or cleaner fuels. TFA said it could run on damn near anything, although tbh I'm skeptical that the same engine that burns biodiesel and other low volatility fuels could burn gasoline with no issues.


My understanding is that jet engines really don't care so long as it's sufficiently flammable. You don't have compression/preignition issues that you might get in a reciprocating engine. You might run into issues if the fuel in question burns hotter than the engine is designed for (leading to shorter life), but I believe that most such engines usually are designed for a given type of fuel that it's usually going to get fed anyway. An M1 Abrams turbine is designed around #2 diesel, a GE engine for a 737 is intended for Jet-A, etc. You could run other fuels through them, but it may not be quite as ideal as the intended one. If you design an engine around a "whatever you find" fuel proposition then you might dodge potential issues.
 
2013-10-29 11:46:07 AM

OptionC: Turbines can get a 67 ton tank from 0-30 in 7 seconds, so there must be ways of getting a decent amount of torque out of them. Whether that's practical for a consumer vehicle is an entirely different question, though.


60-ton M1 Abrams tank (1,500 horsepower, 2,750 lb-ft torque) = 60 *gallons* per hour @ 30 mph cruising speed. 10 gallons per hour at idle. 0.6 MPG average.

10-ton Volvo FH16 18-wheeler (750 horsepower, 2,618 lb-ft) = 9 gallons per hour @ 60 mph cruising speed. 1.5 gallons per hour at idle. 6.5 MPG

While if course the tank is a tracked vehicle, typically offroad, and much heavier, it's interesting to compare the performance and fuel consumption between the two. The torque is nearly equal between the two.
 
2013-10-29 11:58:27 AM

akula: My understanding is that jet engines really don't care so long as it's sufficiently flammable. You don't have compression/preignition issues that you might get in a reciprocating engine. You might run into issues if the fuel in question burns hotter than the engine is designed for (leading to shorter life), but I believe that most such engines usually are designed for a given type of fuel that it's usually going to get fed anyway. An M1 Abrams turbine is designed around #2 diesel, a GE engine for a 737 is intended for Jet-A, etc. You could run other fuels through them, but it may not be quite as ideal as the intended one. If you design an engine around a "whatever you find" fuel proposition then you might dodge potential issues.


It's all about the compression ratio. My '48 Willys truck features a 'go-devil' engine with 60 horsepower has a very low 6.48:1 compression ratio (it was designed for the WW2 'Jeep'). While it can't run diesel fuel, it'll run most petroleum based liquids, down to kerosene, without much of an issue.
 
2013-10-29 01:25:05 PM

akula: My understanding is that jet engines really don't care so long as it's sufficiently flammable. You don't have compression/preignition issues that you might get in a reciprocating engine.


That's the main reason we went to jet travel back then, cheap fuel. That, and much easier maintenance, the turbine isn't trying to rattle itself apart.
 
2013-10-29 01:55:57 PM
4.bp.blogspot.com
 Turban car.
 
2013-10-29 02:30:50 PM
I GIS'ed Chinook APU (auxiliary power unit)

ngrain.chinookdr.com

because when I was stationed in Hawaii, one of the stories going around my unit concerned a former member of my unit having "borrowed" an APU (90 Horsepower turbine engine) and mounted it on a go-kart. People were divided about 50/50 on whether it really happened, and I never knew for sure, until I saw this:

www.kitguru.net

so I guess "myth" CONFIRMED!

/Christ! This would have been LOUD!
 
2013-10-29 02:52:54 PM

aaronx: Turbines run too hot to pass emissions without the invention of some new type of catalytic converter, but otherwise would make very efficient power-plants for big rigs and locomotives.

Interesting side note on Chrysler's effort: their engineer in charge of the engine went on to found Williams Intenational, a company that makes engines for business jets.


Here's the first Google result about a truck using a turbine-electric hybrid.
http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fuel-smarts/article/story/2012/0 5/ turbine-electric-hybrid-whirs-and-whooshes-but-saves-fuel-maker-says.a spx

Here's a company that crammed one into a Ford S-Max
http://www.capstoneturbine.com/news/story.asp?id=512
 
2013-10-29 02:56:22 PM

akula: Incidentally, Union Pacific did make a couple gas turbine powered locomotives (same principle as a diesel-electric, just with a turbine instead of the diesel engine).


They have one of those at the railroad museum in Ogden, UT. Big mother of a locomotive.
 
2013-10-29 04:25:18 PM
I actually saw this car being demonstrated at the 1964 Word's Fair in NY.  Now I feel really old.
 
2013-10-29 04:55:25 PM
The UP turbines were built to take advantage of extremely cheap (at the time) Bunker C heavy fuel oil. It is commonly used in ships for fuel. By the 70's, the state of the art in diesel engines in locomotives had increased their efficiency and the price of Bunker C went up enough to erase their advantages. Cool though.
 
2013-10-29 05:45:06 PM
I rode in one of these vehicles while a student at the University of Miami. Someone at the School of Engineering was testing it. My impression was that it was very quiet. Instead of the "transmission hump" running down the inside center of the vehicle, the turbine shaft was visible through a transparent housing. I recall the driver mentioning the vehicle was running on Wesson oil.
 
2013-10-29 06:01:49 PM

TV's Vinnie: WordsnCollision:
[img.fark.net image 640x360]
/Damn you Jay Leno!

Seeing Leno snotting around in one of these cars makes me glad it was built before Nader-era safety mandates were implemented. The thought of Jay's chin smashing up against a stainless steel dashboard made of sharp angles (assuming it doesn't get crushed in the steering wheel) in a potential accident makes me feel hopeful.

[8w.forix.com image 400x300]


Why is Jay Leno so despised? I must be missing something. His website were he shows off his cars - Jay Leno's Garage - is a real gem and he comes across as a very likable cove.

The front of that Chrysler looks very much like the back of a Ford Falcon of the same era.
 
2013-10-29 06:04:42 PM

way south: yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.

The idea has come up a few times, sounds great whenever its announced, and quietly fades from the headlines not long after.

People, especially the people who develop cars,  really like their ICE and making the leap to any new technology is going to be an uphill battle.


US automakers don't seem very keen on innovation these days. Or really since the 1960s. I think that is one of the reasons they have lost so much market share since the 70s. The one bright hope is Tesla which I hope will be spectacularly successful.
 
2013-10-29 06:06:45 PM

jonny_q: yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.

I googled "turbine electric hybrid" and I found two articles, one about a big rig and one about a compact European car. They both sound very interesting. I can't find any hard numbers on MPG or 0-60, but I'm sure there's something out there. Maybe there's a reason it doesn't work, or maybe it just hasn't been fully developed yet.


I imagine it would be very expensive to develop in an era when automotive power is slowly shifting to all electric.
 
2013-10-29 06:08:34 PM

Explodo: My '67 Plymouth Satellite was originally that color.

Chrysler had a problem with the startup emissions on the turbine that the EPA gave a big thumbs-down to.


Was the EPA around in 1963? I thought it was introduced by the Nixon administration in the 70s.
 
2013-10-29 06:18:58 PM

lamric: I actually saw this car being demonstrated at the 1964 Word's Fair in NY.  Now I feel really old.


I wouldn't worry about it - old these days is different from old in the mid 20th century.

My grandparents looked old when they were in their 40s, and all 4 of them had lost all of their teeth in their 30s (British). By contrast Dana Delaney is pushing 60 - she looks mid 30s in Body of Evidence.
 
2013-10-29 06:28:09 PM

kg2095: lamric: I actually saw this car being demonstrated at the 1964 Word's Fair in NY.  Now I feel really old.

I wouldn't worry about it - old these days is different from old in the mid 20th century.

My grandparents looked old when they were in their 40s, and all 4 of them had lost all of their teeth in their 30s (British). By contrast Dana Delaney is pushing 60 - she looks mid 30s in Body of Evidence.


Definitely. My dad pointed out a school buddy of his and that dude looked so much older than my dad.
 
2013-10-29 06:30:02 PM

kg2095: TV's Vinnie: WordsnCollision:
[img.fark.net image 640x360]
/Damn you Jay Leno!

Seeing Leno snotting around in one of these cars makes me glad it was built before Nader-era safety mandates were implemented. The thought of Jay's chin smashing up against a stainless steel dashboard made of sharp angles (assuming it doesn't get crushed in the steering wheel) in a potential accident makes me feel hopeful.

[8w.forix.com image 400x300]

Why is Jay Leno so despised? I must be missing something. His website were he shows off his cars - Jay Leno's Garage - is a real gem and he comes across as a very likable cove.


I read your comment in this character's voice.

zumbawithjennyk.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-10-29 06:40:48 PM

dionysusaur: Hiro Nakamura: One thing I've always been curious about in a turbine-powered car is turbine lag. I wonder if they increased the responsiveness or just told the drivers to get used to it.

In fact, I had thought that it was the inability to get instant torque out of a turbine that caused it to never get popular.

Torque just isn't something a turbine can really do. They're very good a sustained high speed, though. The turbine indy cars did well enough to get banned, but i think that was also due to them being able to do the whole race without stopping for fuel.


It sounds like turbine engines would work great in a series hybrid configuration--the turbine just keeps running at whatever speed and torque works best for it, turning a generator and charging the battery.  The electric motor gives you punchy acceleration from a dead stop, with full torque at zero RPM.
 
2013-10-29 07:39:51 PM

TV's Vinnie: kg2095: TV's Vinnie: WordsnCollision:
[img.fark.net image 640x360]
/Damn you Jay Leno!

Seeing Leno snotting around in one of these cars makes me glad it was built before Nader-era safety mandates were implemented. The thought of Jay's chin smashing up against a stainless steel dashboard made of sharp angles (assuming it doesn't get crushed in the steering wheel) in a potential accident makes me feel hopeful.

[8w.forix.com image 400x300]

Why is Jay Leno so despised? I must be missing something. His website were he shows off his cars - Jay Leno's Garage - is a real gem and he comes across as a very likable cove.

I read your comment in this character's voice.

[zumbawithjennyk.files.wordpress.com image 175x253]


Out loud?
 
2013-10-29 10:44:26 PM

yagottabefarkinkiddinme: What about using a turbine that makes electricity for electric motors for motive power? What could the gas mileage go up to them? The torque issue would be satisfied.


Jaguar almost did exactly that... but then they didn't. The car was going to have two small turbines to charge up the batteries, which would have fed four electric motors- one for each wheel.

And it was going to look like this:

www.blogcdn.com

Sadly, they first downgraded it to a conventional ICE motor charging the batteries (like the Chevy Volt). Then they cancelled it altogether because of the economic crisis.
 
2013-10-30 10:27:39 AM
1) Couldn't use leaded gas and alternatives weren't convenient back then.
2) Cost 3x what a regular V8 engine car cost back then
3) Mileage wasn't particularly good - same as V8 on highway and terrible at low speeds.

That's why it failed.  Consumers might not always be experts, but they ain't complete idiots.
 
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