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1964 Turbo-Sonic Is a Delta-Shaped 1,000 HP Dragster, One of George Barris’ Insane Builds

The American homeland is the place of birth or evolution for many engineering and design geniuses that have transformed the automotive industry. We’ve got people that pushed the limits of what an engine and chassis can do to new heights, but also people who have envisioned shapes and lines few others dared explore. And it is one of the best representatives of this latter group we’re here to talk about now.
1964 Turbo-Sonic 15 photos
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That would be George Barris, of course, the man that went down in history as the go-to authority for movie makers, as they were looking for the best vehicles to feature in their films. From the Lincoln-based original Batmobile to the Dragula featured in The Munsters, there’s a bit for everyone in the Barris universe.

The contraption you see here, officially called Turbo-Sonic, is also a George Barris machine, put together with help from Les Tompkins, Dick Dean and Tom Daniels at the start of the 1960s, when for some reason carmakers were trying to ride the wave of the nascent Space Age in terms of design.

The thing was conceived as a dragster for the 25th century and is animated by a Turbonique turbine engine tied to a two-speed transmission, a powerplant that is capable of developing 1,000 horsepower and could push the contraption to a top speed of up to 300 mph (482 kph) over a quarter mile.

The car is three-wheeled, with the engine mounted at the rear and constructed from aluminum and fiberglass, shaped not unlike the secret aircraft of its time. Motion is achieved by means of 10-inch steel wheels wrapped in Firestone slicks, while stopping power comes from both hardware you would normally expect on a road machine, like disc brakes, but also an offset blown parachute and four stabilizer wing flaps.

Believe it or not this thing is functional, and was test-driven back in its day, including by means of a remote. Now, it sits in the Jackie and Gary Runyon collection, from where it will sell at the beginning of next year during Mecum’s huge auction in Kissimmee, Florida, with no reserve.

We are not aware of the multi-colored contraption having set any type of records during its time on this planet and, for that matter, we are not even certain it was driven all that much.

For George Barris fans though, and also for people with a thing for the Space Age, the Turbo-Sonic might be just what the doctor prescribed, so we do expect to make quite a splash during the sale in January (there is no estimate made as to how much it may fetch). For effect, the seller throws into the mix vintage photos and postcards with the machine.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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