ITALY’S GAS TURBINE CAR (Jun, 1955)

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ITALY’S GAS TURBINE CAR

“The first gas turbine car on the road in continental Europe,” is the claim made by Fiat engineers for this sensational automobile.

THE sleek, streamlined automobile shown here and on this month’s front cover is continental Europe’s first gas turbine car, say engineers of the famed Fiat works in Italy, who road-tested it recently after five years of development.

The auto’s power plant comprises a turbine and a set of gears for reducing the high number of revolutions of the turbine and to transmit the motion to the car’s wheels, each independently suspended, through two half-axles. It has no gear box because the generator unit and driving turbine act in a similar manner to a hydraulic torque converter.

At present, fuel consumption is about twice that of a standard piston engine and the turbine also gulps more air.

The turbine develops nearly 200 hp at 22,000 rpm. Top speed is expected to be about 155 mph. Temperature of the gases entering the generator unit is about 800 degrees C. Weight of the entire power plant is comparable to engine-clutch-gear box-rear axle of an ordinary car. Fuel feed arrangements and system of regulation were the objects of special tests. Weighing only 2,200 pounds, the rear part of the body is removable to facilitate repairs. •

11 comments
  1. Hirudinea says: May 11, 20117:48 am

    Reminds me of the Chrysler Turbine, link here…

    http://en.wikipedia.org…

    and they still don’t have jet cars today, and I want one!

  2. Anton says: May 11, 20118:49 am

    In the early or mid 1950′s I saw a demonstration of an Allison powered experimental race car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They only fired up the engine. They did not at that event drive it around the track but said they had done so and explained some of their problems. In later years, of course, actual turbines made serious runs there. http://en.wikipedia.org…

  3. TomB says: May 11, 20111:08 pm

    M1A1 uses a turbine engine – http://en.wikipedia.org…

  4. JMyint says: May 11, 20112:19 pm

    Rover produced its first turbine car in 1950.

    http://www.rover.org.nz…

  5. JMyint says: May 11, 20112:20 pm

    Rover produce its first turbine car in 1959.

    http://www.rover.org.nz…

  6. John says: May 11, 20112:34 pm

    JMyint: You can say that again!!!

  7. Greg says: May 11, 20113:38 pm

    The prototype Jaguar C-X75 was designed to use turbines, too, which I think would’ve made an already gorgeous car that little bit cooler. Apparently they’re going for a standard hybrid system in the production models, though.

  8. rick s. says: May 11, 20113:44 pm

    Hirudinea, if I remember correctly one of the many reasons turbines were not developed for consumer use is that they are terrible gas guzzlers. It was also one of the reasons that the Wankle engine was dropped by Mazda after it was introduced to consumers sometime in the 60s. And that at a time when gas was 35 to 45 cents a gallon or less.

    Rick

  9. Hirudinea says: May 11, 20115:51 pm

    @Rick – I thought the problem with Wankle (now THATS a funny name!) engines was that they had problems with the engine seals, and dosn’t Mazda still make them for some of their cars? Anyway since it seems a turbine can run on any type of combustable fuel you’ed think they would be good for a comeback, run it on SVO!

  10. Timaay says: May 11, 20116:07 pm

    Mazda continued to use the Wankel engine in the RX-7 until 2002. The problem with fuel economy was brought about because of exhaust emission regulations and their choice of a low cost solution rather than increase the cost of their cars by having a car that was both fuel efficient and met emission standards.
    http://en.wikipedia.org…

    I luv my wikipedia

  11. DrewE says: May 12, 20117:24 am

    Mazda’s current RX-8 still uses a wankel engine, actually. They might not mention it by that name in their literature, but it’s still one none the less. Fuel economy is neither exceptionally great nor exceptionally bad (for a sports car).

    http://www.mazdausa.com…

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