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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Chrysler's Bronze Blowtorch, the Experimental Turbine Car, Turns 50

Posted January 29, 2013 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Called "one of the greatest publicity stunts in automotive history," the Chrysler Turbine car program certainly also ranks as one of the most unique automotive experiments, and its story continues to captivate today, 50 years later.

By the spring of 1963, Chrysler's experiments with turbine-powered cars were rather well known, not the least bit because Chrysler had over the prior decade fitted some of its products with turbine engines and driven them across the country. Of course, Chrysler wasn't the only automaker looking into the technology - GM, Ford, Fiat, Kenworth, and many others all investigated turbines, and the press of the day frequently heralded the coming of the turbine car and subsequent death of the reciprocating-piston engine - but Chrysler was the only automaker to take the next logical step and start to develop a turbine-powered car that it would make available to the public. So in May of 1963, Chrysler not only introduced the Turbine car, it also announced that it would make 50 of the cars available for three-month-long test drive.

Read the whole article on Hemmings.

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Re: Chrysler's Bronze Blowtorch, the Experimental Turbine Car, Turns 50

01/31/2013 12:25 AM

In 1967 a Turbine powered car nearly won the Indy 500. To prevent future turbine dominance the air intake was limited so that this type of power process could not compete effectively against the reciprocating power plant.

In the future it is possible we will see a resurgence of turbine automotive technology as "power averaged" hybrid processes allow for operating the turbine at a near constant output throughout the transportation cycle. This could be accomplished through series hybrid technology where the turbine charges a temporary storage device at a constant rate and the variable demand is pulled from the storage device.

Regenerative braking will assist in reducing the average demand from the prime mover.

Heat Engines are simply not very efficient. I doubt your new automobile has an efficiency of even 30 percent. The upside to this is that this low efficiency is what makes regenerative braking so attractive. Why? Because in a system where the efficiency is only 33 percent it takes 3 units of combustion energy to do 1 energy unit of work. In a 33 percent efficient process, if 1 unit of work energy can be regenerated then it saves 3 units of combustion energy.

End use efficiency is the best way to approach increased efficiency when the prime mover is a heat engine. Coal fired, grid distributed electrical energy is a great example of this. Here the efficiencies are less than 15 percent at the plug. Save one unit of work energy by higher end use efficiency or conservation and it reduces combustion demand by 6.6 combustion energy units.

Understanding this very basic truth puts a different light on a broad range of energy related issues.

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Re: Chrysler's Bronze Blowtorch, the Experimental Turbine Car, Turns 50

01/31/2013 4:34 PM

I liked your answer, except for the efficiency of coal plants. According to Wiki, the world average is 30%. Some of the older plants in the US may be that low, but the owners are are unable to build new plant, due to regulatory issues.

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Re: Chrysler's Bronze Blowtorch, the Experimental Turbine Car, Turns 50

02/01/2013 1:14 AM

The thermal efficiency of the plants themselves MAY approach 30%; but there is also substantial losses in transmission. There are also energy investment in mining and transporting the fuel stock. I will suggest that my figure may not be that far off.

I am confident that Delivered Energy / Invested Energy will be much less than the efficiency coefficient of the thermal power plant.

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