• Apr 8, 2011
Jay Leno's Chrysler Turbine Car – Click above to watch the video after the jump

Chances are you've probably heard about the Chrysler Turbine cars of the 1960s, but we're betting you don't know anywhere near as much as Jay Leno. The late night talk show host and car nut picked up his own Turbine, and it is featured in the latest installment of Jay Leno's Garage.

The post-jump video is nearly 25 minutes long, and after watching it you'll ascend to Chrysler Turbine expert. We had no idea there were only 55 units ever produced, that it can run on tequila, the bodies were crafted in Italy or that the turbine engine sounds like... well, you'll have to hear it for yourself. As an added bonus, Jay threw in a 1960s promotional video that illustrates just how the turbine engine works. Terrific history lesson, and you can see it for yourself by hitting the jump.

[Source: Jay Leno's Garage]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      This video really takes me back. I rode in one of these as a little kid. Our next door neighbor worked for Chrysler PR in Chicago, and back when Chrysler had these things out in the wild, he brought one home. As was the ritual, whenever he brought a cool Chrysler or Plymouth home, he would take my Dad, brother and myself out for a ride. Dad was an auto engineer dealing in fuel additives and I recall bing completely unable to follow their conversation in the front seats. I wonder if "tequila" was referenced.

      My older brother tried to explain to me how a turbine worked by talking about blowing into a fan or pinwheel. But heck, I was five, and didn't even know how a piston engine worked. What I always remember was that besides the tubular center console and those blank-stare headlights, was the jet-like sound, which I couldn't disassociate with those big jet nozzle things in that crazy rear styling. My brother tried to tell me those things were just for show, but I wasn't buying it. I was convinced jet exhaust came out of them to push the car.

      When the ride was over, I gathered my friends we just hung around the driveway staring at it while I "explained" how it worked.

      Not much later, I recognized the car in the movie Jay was talking about, but didn't know its name. Decades later I was about half convinced it was just a dream I had. Now I have a title. Time to search real hard for an undoubtedly crappy movie.

      Thanks for the memories Autoblog!
      dmoakes
      • 2 Years Ago
      From September 2nd to December 2nd, 1965 my grandfather, Homer Bryant Williams, drove car #9912-42 in Chrysler’s experimental Turbine Car program. This website is dedicated to him and his interest in the car. http://www.hbwturbinecar.com/
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've had the toy version of this car ever since I can remember. I wonder what the toy is worth these days??
      • 3 Years Ago
      You thought fuel prices right now is high, try running this on Chanel No. 5
      • 3 Years Ago
      Enough about Jay Leno already... no one cares
        • 3 Years Ago
        Jay Leno, as a comedian, has his fans and haters. OK. To each their opinion.

        But, as a car nut, it shows that he cares about his cars. Enough to research them and even wrench on them or, sacrilege to some, drive them!!!

        And he's generous enough to share with the public his insights on them. Some of us have learned of the very existence of some of the cars and motorcycles in his collection.

        As I said, as a comedian, to each their own, but as a car nut, the man belongs to the Hall of Fame.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I USED to feel the same way about Jay, but then I thought this guy not only collects care, but enables poor saps like me to gain an insight to what these cars are all about. This is unlike the Ralph Laurens and other collector who collect the finest of the fine and that's it - only brings them out for special occasions.

        3 cheers for Jay and thanks giving the public a chance to see what these cars are all about.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Don't read the articles if you don't like him. Is that so hard?

        I happen to enjoy his views and opinions on cars. So, I care....
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't know of anyone that doesn't respect Leno as a very knowledgeable enthusiast. His collection shows taste and a good understanding of automotive history as well. I'm pretty sure that if he didn't make his living telling jokes that Jay Leno would make a decent automotive writer and historian.
        • 3 Years Ago
        We finally have a rich man who buys cars, drives them, talks about them as much as possible, and loves them. And you complain? What, do you prefer that all the world's finest and most collectible cars end up rotting in a Sheik's garage?
        • 3 Years Ago
        test
      • 3 Years Ago
      My uncle worked for GM and told us that a lot of the cars that were crushed were simply bodies of unloved test cars! He had one of the first C2 Corvettes with the big blocks that was planned to be crushed but he got bored and sold it later for only parts (yes we all hit him at the end of the story) Many of these types of cars were taken piece by piece to the homes of VP s without any of the big three knowing (wink wink). It is to bad that it is not done today but it would really be considered a Felony due to the price, but its OK to crush a million bucks in cars?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Based on his comments in the video it seems that Chrysler sold it to him.
        • 3 Years Ago
        This was supposed to be a reply to Cap't. Nemo
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's a good argument that this might be one of the most significant cars of the 20th century, certainly from an engineering standpoint.

      The design was also awesome.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't like the Tonight Show, but I do love his videos from his garage. I love being exposed to a facet of automotive history I otherwise probably would not have heard of.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was interested about the fuel burn on this car. A little searching turned up numbers from 10mpg-15mpg. Seems like city driving would not be very ideal in this car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        According to Jay, it got 19 mpg on the highway. City was quite a bit worse though, thanks to the turbines high-idle.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Flew my kids up to see it @ 65 NYC world's fair, but the wait to drive was about 2 days long! Noisier than Jay,s car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was marveling the same car at the same 1964 World's Fair.
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