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Leno Sighting


CarlLaFong
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I saw Jay Leno this afternoon, about 3:30, driving a gorgeous (of course) copper colored Chrysler Turbine north on the I-5 heading out of the San Fernando Valley. Leno sightings are fairly common around here. I saw him a while back in a Stanley near the Burbank airport, where he keeps his collection.

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Now that's pretty cool. I recall that some of these were sent out to various states to be used by everyday people as test cars back when new? I wondered how many were made and survive.

I had a sales brochure at one time, and I think they were handed out by the truckload.

I hope Leno moves back home to MA, so I can see some of his stuff.

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60 were made. 10 survive along with a couple of new in the crate engines. My neighbor was one of the 50 families to test drive them. I used to get up early just to hear the neighbor (Chrysler engineer) start it up. Sounded like a jet. I have a video of the government (customs) enforced crushing and burning of the 50 that were destroyed. Chrysler would have lost their butts on those custom fees for each. The bodies were made by Ghia in Italy. My dad was a supervisor at Chrysler Export/Import and gave me the lowdown. I had no idea that Jay Leno had one, but it figures...he CAN.

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My father got to drive one in Charleston, W. Va. He was the City Editor of the Charleston Daily-Mail (our evenng paper) at the time. They gave him a promo model of it which he gave to me. Not knowing that someday I would be into antique cars I gave it to a neighbor boy when I went away to college.

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The turbine powered car was doomed from the start. Americans were fascinated with the technology of the day and many thought complicated was better. Just do a search for Popular Science or Popular Mechanics of that era at the predictions of what we would be doing and using in "1984". Almost none of them came true in the way the stories predicted.

The simple fact of the matter is that a turbine engine, despite its reliability, simplicity and power to weight ratio in not an easy engine to build because of the metalurgy involved,&would never be an engine the average driver could use without causing severe damage on startup, for this is where they are the most sensitive. Even today a Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine runs from the $500,000 range to over a million depending on the HP rating, while the airframe it is used in may cost $200,000. Pilots love them for their reliability. They simply do not quit in flight.

That said, it was still a wonderful concept and a classic example of both American engineering and dreams. If ceramics are ever perfected for automotive use then this idea may yet come to fruition.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> .....could use without causing severe damage on startup...</div></div>

I would think the danger would be to people standing "behind" the vehicle. eek.gif

As far as the cost of the engine, as production figures of the engines go up, I'd guess the cost would go down. Of course down from $500,000 is a long ways! grin.gif

Wayne

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Mr. Burgess; The cost is as you say, related to the relatively low production numbers and the fact the engines I referred to were for aircraft use, but a very big factor is the metalurgy of the CT disc blades. This metal is very difficult to machine. Start up on a turbine is so critical because a turbine is an aircooled engine. When the fire is lit, if the Compressor/Turbine discs are not spinning fast enough the flames will impinge on them and melt the blades. A CT disc rebuild on a P&W PT6-34 currently runs around $50-70,000. A CT bearing is around $40,000. These components spin at a shade over 38,000RPM at normal output. Think of it this way, you are getting 600 to over 1500HP out of a spinning turbine blade that is less than 7 inches in diameter.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: R W Burgess</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> .....could use without causing severe damage on startup...</div></div>

I would think the danger would be to people standing "behind" the vehicle. eek.gif

As far as the cost of the engine, as production figures of the engines go up, I'd guess the cost would go down. Of course down from $500,000 is a long ways! grin.gif

Wayne</div></div>

There was a guy who tried to sue Chrysler for the paint melting off of the front of his car by a Turbine car. The guy was tailgating to see what kind of car it was and found out the hard way that the exhaust was very, very hot.

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Robin,

True, I know nothing about aircraft engines. It was just an economic statement.

(Oh, please, call me Wayne. smile.gif )

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The guy was tailgating to see what kind of car it was and found out the hard way that the exhaust was very, very hot.</div></div>

Ahhh, so he's the first fellow that started our current disclaimer signs on everything that moves, or doesn't? crazy.gifsmile.gif

<span style="font-weight: bold">Caution, exhaust has been known to singe eyebrows!</span> grin.gif

Wayne

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Wayne & F&J; I was not being critical in any way, just trying to state a few facts. As an Ag Pilot, I have more that a few hours behind P&W engines, both radial and turbine. The 1340 radial would average quiting in flight about once a season, usually from a dropped valve or cracked head. NASA did a study on the reliability of P&W turbines and discovered the average ag pilot flying 1200 hours a season could expect an in flight failure once every 750 years or so. The other wonderful thing about a recip vs turbine is a recip is rated at 600 HP in the case of a 1340, but this is only for 30 seconds at takeoff, at which time the power must be reduced. In reality, in flight a 1340 is putting out around 400 hp. It becomes a real dog in the hot summer. On the other hand, a turbine is like an electric motor. It will put out max hp all day long provided it is not over temped or over torqued. They both guzzle fuel though, especially at low altitude. I averaged 70 GPH on both engines. The difference is the cost of avgas vs much cheaper jet-a (basically kerosene). I love both the smell and sound of a radial recip running. Turbines running scream and the exhaust stinks.

By the way, 58 Mustang's Boss Hoss scooter is made by an ag pilot in Dyersburg, TN

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> ....would average quiting in flight about once a season...</div></div>

I'll bet that makes life interesting. No way to pull over and call a taxi! eek.gifsmile.gif

Wayne

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Wayne, it does get your attention very quickly! I never bent an airplane, but I did have to dump some loads of very expensive chemicals, as well as mow down a few hundred feet of crops when landing in a field. I have also spent a few long nights in the dark, using flashlights replacing a cylinder in the field, with either cold wind blowing or mosquitos eating me alive.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have also spent a few long nights in the dark, using flashlights replacing a cylinder in the field, with either cold wind blowing or mosquitos eating me alive. </div></div>

Robin, I used to do that stuff too. Lay in the snow on the side of the road to get those "big truck" brakes unfrozen, change brake chambers on the side of the road at 3am to get the truck rolling before the scales just up the road opened up (brought home a friendly kitten that night), or change a bad rear end at a major highway exit using the "handy" road sign as a "landing gear pad" to raise trailer (I know, I've been a bad boy. blush.gif)

But, you know Robin, as one gets older he realizes that, Heck, tomorrow's coming, let's go get a cool one! wink.gif

Wayne

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In addition to cost, the biggest problem with the turbine for automotive use is flexibility. Internal combustion engines are very flexible - they can provide usable power and torque from idle to freeway speeds with only a relatively few gears. Turbines are not intended to provide such a wide power band and are typically designed for a relatively narrow operating band. Spooling the turbine takes time (you thought boost lag was bad in your turbo cars!) and causes problems in traffic. The turbine engine really wants a constantly variable transmission, but CVT technology was not practical in the early 1960s. More conventional technology, like a torque converter, resulted in slippage, heat, and higher fuel consumption.

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Joe; You are exactly right regarding the lag trying to get a turbine to spool up. This feature makes a go around intresting when you are trying to shoe horn an ag plane into a remote 800 foot dirt strip. The only time I had to do this was when a farmer drove into my path while I was trying to land. I came within inches of creating the world's first F-250 diesel convertable P/U. I did manage to remove his roof mounted two way radio antenna with the left gear. As they say, first you say it, then you do it!

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