NOVA PBS

History's Innovative Autos

back | 1 of 9 | next

Turbine car

Jet engines
During World War II, automotive companies inspired by advances in jet engines tried to adapt the technology for use in cars. Chrysler's so-called Turbine Car (above) used a rotary fan, propelled by rapidly burning fuel, to drive the vehicle. By 1963, such experimental turbine engines could run on gasoline, jet fuel, or even vegetable oil, and like actual jet engines, they provided powerful acceleration. But they also suffered from significant problems, among them high fuel consumption. Rover's Jet-1, for instance, traveled just six miles per gallon.


Car of the Future homepage | NOVA homepage

NOVAPBS