Author Topic: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi  (Read 2390 times)

DIESEL-FUMES

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1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« on: May 14, 2008, 03:23:33 PM »

When my dad still owned his trucking company. He had a GMC salesman, give him a promotional 45 rpm record, about a prototype gas turbine truck that Gm was trying to develop. The record was really goofy and hard to listen to. Reason why, it was made out of very thin plastic. which made it hard for the needle to stay on. Even with that. I still was able to play it over and over.

 On the record, There was a guy who was narrating and in the back ground, you could hear the truck going around a test track . Well , it sounded more like a jet than a truck. One of the things, I remember from the record . Was the guy saying. "Here Comes The Future of Trucking."   Then the truck came flying bye. The salesman who gave the record to Dad . Also gave him a magazine with an article on the development of it.  Now fast forward 30 some years and thanks to the Internet. I stumbled across that same article .  Sure is Pretty funny looking ride now days. But,I remember as a kid, it looked so cool.

Terry

                   " You know, I really could see Charlie trucking  down the highway in it ."  :-D












another story about it.

Built upon a mundane Chevrolet tilt cab chassis, the Turbo Titan III was Chevy’s third experiment with a gas turbine-powered truck, but the first actively shown to the public. Perhaps that’s why designers labored over its appearance. A sloped fiberglass cab teetered over the front axle, sporting large air intakes and a chiseled front fascia. Windows opened upwards, revealing twin dials in lieu of the steering wheel. Tri-beam headlamps rotated from within the air intakes, while turn signals, acting much like illuminated semaphores, protruded from the body when activated. A matching trailer with side skirts, custom-built by Fruehauf, didn’t hurt appearances, either.

But what mattered most lied within the beast itself. The engineers within GM’s Research Laboratories donated a new GT-309 gas turbine and coupled it to a customized six-speed Allison automatic (sans torque converter). The motor generated only 280 hp at 4000 rpm, but generated (as most turbines do) a whopping amount of torque at stall speed. Chevrolet claimed they measured close to 850 lb-ft at just above 0 rpm, allowing a fully-laden Titan to get up and moving with little difficulty.

Still, for something billed as the “shape of things to come,” neither the Turbo Titan III nor the gas turbine made any inroads to highway transportation. After traveling the auto show circuit between 1966 and 1967, the Titan was briefly used as a parts hauler before being scrapped. And while GM played with gas turbines in trucks until the mid 1970s, the rising cost of oil - and the poor fuel economy of the turbine - led to its abandonment.
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Gary Smith

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2008, 06:24:39 PM »
The future sure ain't what it used to be.....      :lol:
It's a Mack thing. you wouldn't understand.....

"Every highway, just beyond the high beams"

DIESEL-FUMES

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 02:18:32 AM »

       
Quote
The future sure ain't what it used to be..... 

Gary if thats a great saying!!!!   :lol:
Truck Pictures by Terry W.

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"Preserving The History of Trucking Through Photography"


LilRedDave

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2008, 03:23:31 AM »
Related to GM turbine engine, this page has some great pics and info about the Astro/Titan series with prototype turbine engines.
http://gmtblog.blogspot.com/2006/10/how-to-build-astro-95-gas-turbine.html

Pogo Stick

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2008, 06:23:33 AM »
FORD had 1 like it as well , remember seeing AD's for it  and a story about it in Popular Mechanics

Pogo Stick

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2008, 06:24:53 AM »
FORD had 1 like it as well , remember seeing AD's for it  and a story about it in Popular Mechanics

Gary Smith

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2008, 06:20:04 PM »
       
Gary if thats a great saying!!!!   :lol:

I can't take credit for that, I saw it somewhere else many years ago.

Having grown up in the 60's and 70's and remembering some of the predictions for the future, the line certainly rings true.  Right now, I'm reading a book from 1970 that I picked up used on Amazon called "Where The Winds Sleep", subtitled " "Man's future on the moon, a projected history", which goes in 5 year increments from 1975 to 2045.  In a nutshell, the reality and the projection are somewhat at odds.

Getting back to trucking, everything was going to be turbines by the mid-70's.  They didn't, of course project the rise in fuel prices.

I remember seeing the Ford turbine truck displayed at the New York World's Fair, a study in contrasts,the truck of the future running on spoke wheels.  It also struck me as ironic that as aerodynamic as the Turbo Titan III was, no one thought of putting an air deflector on top of the cab.

BTW, I recall seeing in WOT some years back that the Ford turbine tractor is still in existance, someone in NC owned it at the time and had attempted to convert it to a diesel.
It's a Mack thing. you wouldn't understand.....

"Every highway, just beyond the high beams"

Ray F

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2008, 06:38:25 PM »
That truck Kinda looks Like an RV  :lol: :lol:

Wee Willy

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 02:23:46 AM »
Cool stuff!

Back in the seventies I used to see a Kenworth COE with a turbine every once in awhile, black and red I think. :?
It was an experimental truck that delivered parts for KW.

The bunk was full of gauges and monitoring equipment, and it had a pair of 10 inch exhaust pipes on it. 
Lots of heat coming out of those babies!

It just kind of disappeared .......................... :-(
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charlie

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2008, 02:35:54 AM »
The future sure ain't what it used to be.....      :lol:

Much like everybody working a 4 day week, having soooo much more leisure time & all of us flying around in those little Jetson mobiles the future was a big disappointment in a lot of areas.  :-( Trucking was just one example.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 03:02:53 PM by charlie »

DIESEL-FUMES

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 02:30:16 PM »


 LilRedDave. Thanks for the link. Very interesting
Truck Pictures by Terry W.

http://www.thedieselgypsy.com/Sams%20page.htm

"Preserving The History of Trucking Through Photography"


charlie

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 03:19:10 PM »
Interesting discussion & links. The Mack museum in Allentown PA has a Cruiseliner with a turbine engine. Here's a link to an old post on the Forum some might have missed.

                          http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/forum01/index.php?topic=974.0

BIG JOHN

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2008, 03:37:41 PM »
Got to see that when it came to Kansas City with somthing called GM on parade. (Or somthing like that).
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Boslines

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Re: 1960's GMC Prototype Gas Turbine Semi
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2008, 06:02:17 AM »
Saw this topic and remembered an article in one of my old Overdrive's. They discussed all the players using turbines, KW,Mack, GM,Ford, and IH. Horse power from 280 to 450(w/ the Ford) CF ran a test FL with a cat turbine. Dana ran a KW with a Pratt and Whitney set up with all the KW emblems removed. The lead photo for this article shows an IH turbine with a cab design some where between a Transtar and Unistar pulling a matched set of Thunderbird Freight Lines triples in the desert.