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Turbine Car update

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler-TurbineCar-Web
When we reported on the showing of the 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, we relied on the information supplied for our accounting of the number of Turbine Cars and where they were presently located.

We should have checked turbinecar.com to verify our information. (Editor’s note: or looked at our own turbine car page.)

There were 50 Chrysler Turbine Cars produced for the evaluation program but Jim Benjaminson reminded us there were also some prototype units. According to Brandt Rosenbusch, Manager of Historical Vehicles for FCA US, the number of these is either three or five, depending on the source. So total production was either 53 or 55 cars. Due to the ambiguity, FCA US/Chrysler generally refers only to the 50 production units to simplify things.

Chrysler owns two of the Turbine Cars, having sold the third to Jay Leno. The owner of the other privately owned Turbine Car was Frank Kleptz, an automobile historian and collector from Terre Haute, Indiana, who reportedly drove his car regularly. Kleptz passed away in 2010 and his collection is now managed by his son.

Museums owning Turbine Cars include: the Detroit Historical Museum (the car is displayed at the Gilmore Museum near Hickory Corners, Michigan); the Henry Ford Museum; the Smithsonian; St. Louis Museum of Transportation and the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles (the car is owned by the Natural History Museum).

A big “Thank You” to Jim Benjaminson and Brandt Rosenbusch for the updated info.

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 just-auto.com, 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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