Chrysler's Turbine Car

Chrysler's Turbine Car
Chrysler's Turbine Car

Chrysler's Turbine Car

The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation
By Steve Lehto, Foreword by Jay Leno


224 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF, Trade Paper

EPUB, $11.99 (US $11.99) (CA $15.99)

ISBN 9781569767719

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Oct 2010)


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The fascinating story of an almost-forgotten automotive phenomenon
In 1964, Chrysler gave the world a glimpse of the future. They built a fleet of turbine cars--automobiles with jet engines--and loaned them out to members of the public. The fleet logged over a million miles; the exercise was a raging success. These turbine engines would run on any flammable liquid--tequila, heating oil, Chanel #5, diesel, alcohol, kerosene. If the cars had been mass produced, we might have cars today that do not require petroleum-derived fuels. The engine was also much simpler than the piston engine--it contained one-fifth the number of moving parts and required much less maintenance. The cars had no radiators or fan belts and never needed oil changes. Yet Chrysler crushed and burned most of the cars two years later; the jet car's brief glory was over. Where did it all go wrong? Controversy still follows the program, and questions about how and why it was killed have never been satisfactorily answered. Steve Lehto has interviewed all the surviving members of the turbine car program--from the metallurgist who created the exotic metals for the interior of the engine to the test driver who drove it at Chrysler’s proving grounds for days on end. Lehto takes these first-hand accounts and weaves them into a great story about the coolest car Detroit ever produced.


"Steve Lehto gives the most detailed and in-depth analysis of the men behind this amazing auto. Here is what happened to their dream of building a gas-turbine car." —Jay Leno

"Extensive notes and a comprehensive bibliography contribute to a detailed, entertaining meander through the history of 'Detroit's Coolest Car.'" —New York Times

"A fascinating new book." —Vanity Fair

"The story of Chrysler’s lengthy involvement with turbine power is related with enthusiasm and in fascinating detail." —Globe and Mail

"A fascinating example of engineering and product development . . . Motorheads will love it." —Library Journal

"Lehto smoothly educates us on jet engine basics." —Cars & Parts

"This book is not for just the automotive minded; it is actually a nice little piece of America that will interest a wide audience . . . highly recommended." —Choice

"Gearheads should enjoy Steve Lehto's book." —MetroTimes

Author Biography

Steve Lehto is an adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy. His book Death’s Door: The Truth Behind Michigan’s Largest Mass Murder was named a Michigan Notable book in 2007.