Pinwheels or Pistons?—A Progress Report on Automotive Gas Turbines 550236

FOR about five years, an exploratory project to study the application of gas turbines in automotive equipment has been conducted at the GM Research Laboratories. This paper summarizes the work thus far accomplished.
Included here are descriptions of the two models of the Whirlfire gas-turbine engine developed and some operating experience obtained with these engines installed in the Firebird turbo-powered car and the Turbo-Cruiser transit bus.
The Whirlfire installations have demonstrated that smooth, reliable operation, with very desirable power and torque characteristics, can be attained. They also indicate that future developments must be directed toward improved fuel economy, reduced acceleration time, and a suitable dynamic braking system.


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