With only two Chrysler Turbine cars in private hands don’t expect to see one for sale ever again. When Chrysler killed the turbine project in the mid-1960s it destroyed all but nine of the 55 Turbine Cars it built. Though the program limped along in the aftermath there were too many negatives to turbine power to overcome. Those negatives included the costly nature of the engines and large amounts of both heat and emissions once the engine got up to its 60,000 rpm operating range.
Nine Turbine Cars were saved to museums for posterity
Since these were essentially hand-built one-offs, Chrysler couldn’t provide parts for the future and didn’t want the liability. So to the crusher, most of them went. But not to completely erase their existence nine were saved to museums for posterity. While this sad ending seems disturbing today, it was common for show cars and prototypes to end this way. It’s the way Detroit rolled in the 1950s and 1960s.
Bill Harrah of Harrah’s Casino fame had a giant car collection in Reno, Nevada. There were thousands of cars in his collection. He asked for and was given this Turbine Car for his expanding museum. That’s where it was expected to stay forever because the museum was expected to stay in the form it was in. Chrysler even included an engine in the transaction. But the car was shipped without the engine installed because Chrysler expected these nine remaining Turbine Cars to remain museum pieces.
This Turbine Car ended up in the Frank Kleptz Collection
When Harrah died in 1978 most of the museum’s collection was sold off including this Turbine Car. Why it was decided to sell off a car as unique and valuable as this one remains a mystery. Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan was a big-time car enthusiast. He bought the Turbine Car for his growing collection. When he started selling off cars in the 1980s this one ended up in the Frank Kleptz Collection.
By this time other turbine engines and pieces were added to the deal. Enough so that with help from General Electric this car was returned to running condition by Kleptz restorers. Almost too valuable to be driven on public roads it has remained in running condition. Now with its sale an extra engine and transmission go with the car to make sure it stays running.
The only two Turbine Cars in private hands are in running condition
Jay Leno received his Turbine Car directly from Chrysler in the 2000s after it shut down its museum. It had two and decided with Leno’s collection and the exposure he generates why not sell him one. So interestingly, the only two Turbine Cars in private hands are both in running condition.
Now is your chance to own one of the rarest and most valuable cars on the planet. Way more valuable than a Tucker which 47 exist today, it will sell for millions of dollars. Included in the sale are engineering drawings and historical documentation. Though Hyman Limited is selling the Turbine Car no price is given in the Hemmings advertisement. It is in that realm where if you have to ask you can’t afford it.