The experimental turbine-engined Plymouth was announced to the public some six months after George J

Thursday 25th March 1954

The experimental turbine-engined Plymouth was announced to the public some six months after George J. Huebner Jr. had taken it for its first test drive. The June 1956 edition of Popular Mechanics carried an article on the car in which it documented a coast-to-coast trip undertaken by Chrysler’s George J. Huebner, Jr. At the time, Huebner was the Executive Engineer in charge of research at Chrysler and he is said to have taken a strong personal interest in the turbine development program. The engine in this vehicle was a simple single-stage radial compressor with two axial-flow hot-wheels, one driving the compressor and the other driving a reduction gearbox connected to the car’s driveshaft. A relatively small (compared to the later 1965 model) regenerator was used to improve fuel-economy and lower the temperature of the exhaust gasses — which exited through a row nozzles built into the rear bumper. In the period from 1950 to 1956, the company actually built over 50 gas-turbine engines designed for use in test cars although few of them actual clocked up any actual mileage. On two occasions during the New York to Los Angeles trip in 1956 the car had to undergo major repairs: the first time when a bearing failed in the reduction gearbox and the second when the compressor intake casting cracked. An average fuel consumption of 13-14 mpg using regular unleaded gasoline. The article claims that this would likely have improved to 18 mpg if the engine had been running on kerosene.The hot-section turbines on this prototype vehicle cost $1,500 (1956 dollars!) each to manufacture but Chrysler was planning to reduce the cost to just $10 with mass-production. It seems that target was never met and the vehicle never made it to the assembly line.

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