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Jay Leno’s latest ride: A Chrysler Turbine Car

by Bill Cawthon on

One week ago, on June 16th, TV comedian, talk show host and car collector Jay Leno acquired Chrysler Ghia turbine car #991242. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The car was one of three that had been preserved by Chrysler; the other two will remain in the Chrysler collection.

Bill Carry, former National Turbine Service Coordinator for the Chrysler evaluation program in the mid-1960s, came out from Detroit, Michigan to help Leno with the initial start-up and basic preventive care of the 45 year-old gas turbine-powered car. Under Carry’s direction, Leno and his crew made a few minor repairs to the car, like fixing a passenger-side window that would not lower properly, and checked it over completely before taking it to the streets of Burbank.

Bill Carry and Jay Leno talk about the Chrysler Turbine Car.

Bill Carry and Jay Leno talk about the Chrysler Turbine Car.

Leno firmly believes cars are to be driven, not just to sit collecting dust. Within two days of receiving the turbine car, he had already added 75 miles to the odometer and is pleased with his latest acquisition. Leno said he has wanted a Chrysler Turbine Car since he first saw one.

Thanks to Mark Olson of Photo by Mary Carry.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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