For this awesome film we thank the Detroit Historical Society, where it has been safely preserved in the organization’s Detroit History Video Archive. Originally produced by the Chrysler Corporation in beautiful color with Hollywood-quality production values, the film tells the story of the automaker’s passenger car turbine program, from its inception in March of 1954 to the introduction of the sensational Chrysler Turbine Ghia prototypes by company president Lynn Townsend on October 29, 1963.
Narrator of the 20-minute film, gifted with the bold title Tomorrow is Today, is Art Gilmore, a familiar voice to baby boomers raised on 1960s television. The announcer on countless TV series and specials in the golden age of TV, Gilmore often served as the voice of Chrysler in the automaker’s commercial presentations. Memorable scenes in our film-to-video include:
+ A simple but functional animated tutorial on turbine engine theory and operation
+ Chrysler’s rarely filmed vice-president of design Elwood Engel sketching out the basic Turbine Ghia shape on his artist’s pad
+ A visit with the father of Chrysler’s turbine program, George J. Huebner, who was also a key participant in the Chrysler missile program
+ Beautiful footage of the Turbine Ghia in testing on the big 5.0-mile oval at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds.
+ Chrysler president Lynn Townsend introducing the 1963 turbine test program with selected consumers.
Of the 55 Ghia-bodied Chrysler Turbine cars produced (five engineering prototypes and 50 consumer test cars) only nine examples still exist, most of them in non-running condition. (Check our tag cloud on the main page for more Chrysler Turbine stories.) Here’s a choice opportunity to learn more about these rare and beautiful cars and see them in action. Video below.