GM Firebird III Gas Turbine Car

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To view the entire photo gallery in your choice of 2D or stereo 3D formats, click here for a Flash player or here for an HTML applet

Chrysler’s turbine program is better known, but General Motors actually started working with turbines before Chrysler, and continued R&D on those high RPM engines into the 1990s. GM’s Firebird Motorama cars were hits on the show circuit but they were also serious experimental vehicles, all with turbine power. Three time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose, who worked for GM as an engineer, worked on the Firebird program as a test driver. Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell and the rest of the GM styling staff were enthralled with rockets and jet airplanes so the first Firebird looks like a jet fighter. Firebird II, which had a titanium body, looks like a space ship. Firebird III, though it has fins and winglets like a jet or a rocket, almost looks like a real car, albeit with domed bubble canopies. The Firebird III’s “skegs”, the lower fins, directly influenced the Cadillac Cyclone show car and the 1961 Cadillac production models, which we just covered. In going through the archive, I realized that we’d never published images of the Firebird III at the General Motors Heritage Center, so here they are.

anaglyph-firebirdiiiTo view the entire photo gallery in your choice of 2D or stereo 3D formats, click here for a Flash player or here for an HTML applet

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