Automotive Showplace

The Automotive Showplace is a rotating exhibit space at the Detroit Historical Museum that features rare and unique vehicles from the Detroit Historical Society’s collection, presented by Warner Norcross & Judd.


NOW OPEN in the Automotive Showplace at the entrance of America’s Motor City

1963 Chrysler Turbine

See the only example of a publicly available car to be powered by an adapted turbine jet engine! Our 1963 Chrysler Turbine is one of 10 remaining from a research test program that was conducted by Chrysler between 1964 and 1966. It is returning home after being away on loan for many years, and is now on display in the Warner, Norcross & Judd Automotive Showplace.

About the Chrysler Turbine: Chrysler had been experimenting with turbine engines as a replacement for piston-driven motors since before World War II, hoping to bring their many advantages to passenger cars. Turbine engines require 80% fewer parts than a traditional engine and are able to run on anything combustible, including gasoline, diesel, kerosene and peanut oil. They last longer and eliminate the need for tune-ups, oil changes and a cooling system.

In the 1960s, Chrysler hand-built 50 turbine-powered vehicles at their Highland Park Design Studio for an intensive two-year research test program. The identical cars featured an eye-catching “turbine bronze” metallic paint job and aircraft-inspired styling by designer Elwood Engle and Italian body fabricator Ghia. Consumers across the country were given the revolutionary cars to drive and then report their findings. When the test program concluded in 1966, the cars were rounded up and crushed. Only ten exist today. 

• Engine: A-831 Regenerative Gas Turbine
• Horsepower: 130
• MPG: 17.25
• Weight: 3,900 lbs.
• Color: Turbine Bronze
• Units Produced: 55

Supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and MotorCities National Heritage Area.