Cool TurboFlite consigned to crushers

The Chrysler TurboFlite was developed to convey to the public the company’s styling and engineering themes for the 1960s.

It was constructed by Ghia, in Italy, and was the last dream car, Virgil Exner, Chrysler’s Design Director, personally introduced to the public, before Chrysler’s board showed him the exit door.

Appearing in 1961 at all of the major American automotive shows, and then in Chrysler dealerships across the USA, it was resplendent in Marine Green paint.

Its main design feature was the canopy roof and attached windscreen which both automatically rose upward on two struts when the door handle was pressed.

This feature replicated a previous Exner dream car, the 1956 Norseman.

Also built by Ghia, the Norseman was never seen publically, because it was part of the cargo on the ocean liner Andrea Doria which sank off the coast of the USA.

The TurgoFlite’s windscreen wrapped around almost to the middle of the car.

The rear window’s upper edge acted as the pivot point for the canopy roof.

The cut-away fenders were an Exner trademark and gave the illusion of a floating bonnet.

The car had four headlights with the outer two lights retracting into the fenders.

The rear spoiler incorporated an aircraft like speed brake.

The rear vertical fins also contained eye-level brake lights.

The interior was completely bathed in a blue-green light emanating from the electro–luminescent door panels.

The four bucket seats were upholstered in green leather and blue cloth.

The publicity folks said that the TurboFlite’s engine was a gas turbine that produced 140bhp at 39,000rpm.

But it was really a dummy engine, so the car was not operable.

Like so many dream cars, the TurboFlite was crushed once its auto show usefulness had been served.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

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