First shown at the 1959 Motorama show and wearing a skin made from titanium (seriously), the Firebird III was the third of what would ultimately be six turbine-powered concept cars. Designed by the great Harvey J. Earl himself, the Firebird III looked more like a wingless jet fighter than a futuristic car with its two domed passenger cabins and seven fins/wings at the back end that made extensive use of one of GM’s earliest wind tunnels. It was what was under the hood that made the Firebird III something worth remembering though.
The Whirlfire GT-305 gas turbine engine was tapped to produce a then-impressive 225 horsepower at full-speed while delivering mediocre fuel economy (a big jump from the gas-guzzling nature of earlier turbine concepts). Also on board was a 10 horsepower two-cylinder engine to help run the accessories, and it featured numerous “cutting edge” technologies like anti-lock brakes, cruise control, and air conditioning. It also had a high-pressure air-oil suspension system that delivered a smoother ride than anything on the road.
Article courtesy of Street Legal TV, written by Chrid Demorro.