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Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation Hardcover – October 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Steve Lehto gives the most detailed and in-depth analysis of the men behind this amazing auto. Here is what happened to their dream of building a gas-turbine car."  —Jay Leno


"Extensive notes and a comprehensive bibliography contribute to a detailed, entertaining meander through the history of  'Detroit's Coolest Car.'"  —New York Times



"A fascinating new book."  —Vanity Fair



"The story of Chrysler’s lengthy involvement with turbine power is related with enthusiasm and in fascinating detail."  —Globe and Mail



"A fascinating example of engineering and product development . . . Motorheads will love it."  —Library Journal



"Lehto smoothly educates us on jet engine basics." —Cars & Parts

About the Author

Steve Lehto is an adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy. His book Death’s Door: The Truth Behind Michigan’s Largest Mass Murder was named a Michigan Notable book in 2007.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569765499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569765494
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark E. Olson on September 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book needed to be written - I am very glad that Steve has finished it and that he did such a great job on writing it.

Steve Lehto is a master of making history into a readable and interesting dialog with the reader. I knew most of the story from my own research and acquaintance with many of the contributors before Steve started. So when I say I found the book extremely well written and able to capture and hold my attention, which means it is just plain good! Bravo Steve for giving the world a record in print of not only the unique cars but the people who created then and had the chance to drive them.

After I received my copy I found it very hard to put down. I knew how it ended and as I already knew most of the story from my own research but the chronological and quickly moving manner Mr. Lehto put the whole book together made it an absolute joy to read and remember.

If you count yourself a "gear head" of any age and love to read a lot of "inside" information about technology and vehicles in particular, you must read this book! If you enjoy stories about people who were dedicated engineers, visionary designers and creative dreamers, you need to read this book!

History can be boring and dry or it can come alive, Steve has brought life back to a story that should have been told so our children and grandchildren can know that the 60's were not only about peace protests, the Viet Nam war, assassinations and bad corporations. Mr. Lehto shows that innovation and concern for the future was a common theme running through the people who wanted to see the piston engine replaced by an exciting and wonderful engine - the turbine.

I am the son of one of the 203 users and drove one of the Chrysler/Ghia turbine cars in 1965.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book about a forgotten car program from long ago that is relevant for today. The past few years have introduced a dizzying array of technology for propelling people down the road. Has any car company tried a jet engine? The answer is yes. This book covers the Chrysler Turbine Car program from the early 1950s into the 1970s.

Steve Lehto did a great job researching for this book. He culled a variety of sources - interviews with people who had first hand experience with the program, manuals and technical writings, explanations of how the technology works, historical documents, and the examining the cars up close. The back of the book lists Steve's sources in the notes and bibliography.

I enjoyed reading this book because it is very readable. Although a book like this could get mired in detail, Steve sticks to the story of the program and participants. The middle of the book includes 18 pages of black and white photos, color photos, and a few diagrams.

Personally I have been waiting for this book since 2009. The Detroit News had printed an article about Jay Leno purchasing a Chrysler Turbine Car when he was in the Detroit area for a charity comedy event. Steve made this book worth the wait!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most people today have probably never heard of the futuristic experimental automobile that author Steve Lehto profiles in his outstanding book, "Chrysler's Turbine Car."

In the mid-1960s, Chrysler Corporation, then the third largest American automaker, broke all the rules of a notoriously conservative industry by developing a practical, reliable automobile powered by a 130-horsepower gas turbine engine--a "jet engine." Even more startling, Chrysler loaned a hand-built batch of these cars to normal, ordinary drivers for their daily use, free of charge. From October 1963 until January 1966, 203 carefully selected drivers in 48 states each got one of 50 Ghia Turbine Cars to drive for three months. Collectively, this "civilian test team" put more than a million miles on the fleet. I was of high-school age then, living in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I still vividly recall seeing and hearing a brilliant metallic bronze Turbine Car whooshing around my neighborhood. I never found out who the lucky driver was, but the sight, sound and smell of the stunning Italian-designed coupe made a strong impression on me.

That's why my interest in "Chrysler's Turbine Car" was high even before I cracked open the cover. I'm pleased to say the book far exceeded my expectations. About half of it--90+ pages--is about the "user program," by which Chrysler engineers found out what would happen in the real world with their state-of-the-art vehicle in the hands of the general public. It was a bold, audacious program that proved the feasibility of turbine-powered cars for everyday driving. It also showed that turbine engines were far more reliable than piston engines, and had several other important advantages.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is Lehto's exceptionally well written book on the Chrysler Turbine Cars. Steve does an excellent job of telling "The truth and nothing but the truth" as he unravels the history of the most unique "customer driven" automotive research program ever. Chrysler produced fifty hand built Turbine cars which were then loaned to over 200 families who each used one of the cars for 90 days as their daily driver. Lehto documents every aspect regarding the Chrysler Turbine Program from initial development through the project's ultimate demise. As a player in the program, I feel qualified to say that Lehto leaves no stones unturned as he spells out the facts. This is a story that needed to be told and Steve Lehto has done a masterful job of that.
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