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Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation Hardcover – October 1, 2010
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"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
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice accounting of the years of efforts put into the Chrysler turbine fleet. Sometimes a bit repetitive, but necessary to be complete I suppose. Held my interest throughout. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Dale K. Phenicie
A fantastic read for a Sunday afternoon! The book goes into great details around Chrysler's turbine car from it's history to the people who made it possible. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Darren Moffatt
Having Always been interested in this "weird car" from the States (I live in Europe), I purchased it as a vacation read. This is actually a very nice book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RPH
The book was very interesting but a lot of repetition. All in all a very good book about the Chrysler Turbine project.Published 5 months ago by Geno Roth
An interesting insight into the development and testing of Chrysler's turbine car, the most notable aspect being the actual distribution of the car to over 200 drivers for 3-month... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Paul Kile
Interesting and well written account of the turbine saga a beacon of opportunity at the time which failed to deliver. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was an excellent book about the history of Chrysler's turbine car. Detailed meticulously and engaging, the whole history of this lost piece of automotive history is told by... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ralph C