Chrysler’s search for a more reliable engine in the 1960s created a few priceless collectables.
In all 55 examples of Chrysler’s 1963 Turbine Car were made. To test the revolutionary cars designed to offer an alternative to the piston engines of the time, the cars were loaned out to various real-world drivers. Instead of finding that the new turbine engine powered cars were more reliable and efficient than Chrysler’s other engines of the 1960s, the project proved to be inefficient with higher emissions. Shortly after these findings, all but nine of the cars were scrapped along with the project itself.
Two remained with Chrysler, five were destined for the museum, and two others were privately held. Of course one of those privately held examples ended up in Jay Leno’s collection. While that is not really all that surprising, what is extraordinary is the journey of the other privately held example. It was at one time a part of the Harrah’s casino collection. Some time later it was purchased by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan and then legendary car historian Frank Kleptz who passed away in 2010.
For the past decade Kleptz’s car collection has been maintained by his estate but it was recently auctioned off and the 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car was sold for an unknown price to the Stahl family of Chesterfield, Michigan who donated it to the Stahl Automotive Foundation Museum. General Manager Terry Coppens described the historical Chrysler as “priceless” and said that the plan is to offer occasional demonstration drives. The museum also has a spare turbine engine for the car that was listed for $100k. For now, this car can be seen on display at the Museum.