Video: Test–driving the Chrysler Turbine Ghia

Chrysler Turbine GhiaHere’s a treat: a rare factory promotional film from 1963 showing the beautiful Chrysler Turbine Ghia in action at the Chelsea Proving Grounds. Watch this. 


An original 1963 Chrysler Turbine car is a rare sight indeed. Of the 55 that were built, only nine were saved from the crusher. (Watch the infamous Turbine snuff film here.) And of this handful that survived, only a few are still capable of running under their own power. That’s a shame. The stunning Ghia coupes look their best out on the road—graceful, athletic, in command of the highway

Another neat feature of this video is the setting: Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, about an hour west of Detroit. (Watch a wonderful old Chrysler newsreel film about the construction of the Proving Grounds here.) We see the Turbine put through its paces on the big, banked, high-speed oval at Chelsea, and on the handling and off-road courses as well. And at the very start, listen to the turbine spooling up. Enjoy the film.


5 thoughts on “Video: Test–driving the Chrysler Turbine Ghia

  1. I read that consumers didn’t like them due to the scroll-up time from a stop. Had they driven them like teenagers and brake torqued them they were supposed to be quite lively. Acceptance of a new innovation in the automobile took awhile to catch on. They were really beautiful automobiles and produce a sound nearly as alluring.

    • That’s exactly the deal. Unless the turbine is kept spooled up, it’s lazy and unresponsive, even awkward to drive. Fuel economy was poor, too. But for me the aesthetics are to die for — interior, materials, everything.

  2. I’ve NEVER heard that story. It has always been my understanding that the single complaint Chrysler received was the fact that the “chosen” families were required to return the cars after the test run was over. They didn’t want to give them up!

  3. Body by Ghia but they were designed by Chrysler here in the States under the direction of an ex-Ford employee, Elwood Engle. Lots of design cues from earlier Ford concept and production cars. Definite Fantasy Garage material.

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