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Chrysler Turbine Car "Supersonic" Makeover Shows Chopped Roof in Sleek Rendering

Imagine driving a 1960s Chrysler hardtop coupe with a tachometer adding another zero to the usual rev range and sounding like it was about to take flight. This exercise only begins to describe the innovative Turbine Car the automaker built between 1963 and 1964, with the rendering we have here not only bringing the machine into the digital world, but also customizing it along the way.
Chrysler Turbine Car "Supersonic" rendering 11 photos
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The Turbine Car is only the tip of an iceberg that saw Chrysler working on such engines for about four decades. The advantages gas turbines deliver compared to reciprocating engines mostly rely on their much simpler construction, which leads to superior reliability and smooth operation - the turbine had 80% fewer parts than a typical piston engine.

Looking past airplanes, where such hardware is used to generate trust, we find gas turbines on tanks and helicopters, so why didn't the technology spread to cars? Well, in spite of Chrysler's solid and prolonged efforts, drawbacks such as the poor city driving fuel economy and emissions eventually got in the way. And, as Jay Leno aptly puts it in the video below, the fate of this automotive development is not unlike that of the Wankel engine. As such, when Chrysler ended up seeking a government loan back in 1979, the program had to be put on the back burner.

And while the automaker had offered Turbine Cars to over 200 drivers in the mid 1960s, the company took back these vehicles when the initiative ended, crushing most out them, mostly due to image-related concerns - the company didn't want people to resort to V8 swaps once they would need the spare parts that weren't there. Thus, only nine cars survived, so, obviously, one of these is found in the collection of the former The Tonight Show host.

Now, digital artist Abimelec Arellano, who is used to digitally throwing Hellcats under the hood of classic American machines, skipped the swap for this virtual build, with the proposal remaining true to the original spirit of the vehicle.


Nevertheless, the pixel master did work on the body of the vehicle. You see, given the flamboyance of the project itself, as well as the exuberance of the era, the the styling of the Turbine Car, which was signed by Italian studio Ghia, managed to steer clear of exaggerations.

After all, this car wasn't particularly quick, with Leno likening the pulling power of the thing to that of the basic Chrysler 318ci (5.2L) V8. For the record, its Gen IV Chrysler turbine engine delivered 130 horsepower at an astounding 36,000 rpm and idled at about 20,000. Maximum torque sat at 425 pound-feet (575 Nm), while this was sent to the rear wheels via a slighly modified three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, without the need of a torque convertor (a gear reduction unit was used).

As such, instead of altering the appearance of the vehicle in a way that would scream "muscle car", the artist simply decided to bring a more streamlines shape. So yes, we might've gone a bit overboard with the nickname in the title.

As such, the roof has been chopped and, as die-hard aficionados have probably noticed by now, the angle of the windshield is more aggressive.

This example sits closer to the road than the actual car, while rolling on custom goodies coming from the Detroit Steel Wheel Company.

The two-tone finish of the wheels matches the body and while the latter has kept its black top, the original Turbine Bronze hue has been removed, with the bare metal being brushed into eye candy.

Visuals aside, the sheer idea of seeing a 21-year-old artist working on an iconic Chrysler released back in the days when The Beach Boys had only been together for two years sends a powerful message.

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