A brand new episode of “Jay Leno’s Storage” options an obscure piece of racing historical past. It is the Howmet TX (Turbine Experimental), a turbine-powered race automobile in-built 1968 that is nonetheless in working situation right this moment.
4 of those automobiles had been constructed by Bob McKee, whose different engineering credit vary from Can-Am race automobiles to an experimental diesel-electric hybrid powertrain for the U.S. navy. This one is now owned by enterprise capitalist Phillip Sarofim. He is one of many individuals behind the revived Meyers Manx firm, and clearly enjoys automobiles with uncommon engines. He beforehand introduced a Manx with an plane radial engine to the present.
1968 Howmet TX turbine-powered race automobile on Jay Leno’s Storage
Generators had been on development within the Sixties. Chrysler constructed a restricted run of turbine automobiles to check the engine sort’s suitably in street automobiles, and a number of other race automobiles and already been constructed by the point the Howmet TX got here alongside, together with the STP-Paxton Turbocar Indianapolis 500 racer. However the Howmet TX was the one turbine automobile to win a race, McKee notes within the video, admitting that it was “much less consequential” than Indy.
McKee was commissioned to develop the TX by driver Ray Heppenstall, who went to Howmet Company (now Howmet Aerospace) for funding. The corporate constructed elements for turbine engines, and so the race automobile challenge was pitched as a method to promote its merchandise. The chassis was designed by McKee, incorporating bits from different automobiles comparable to Can-Am racer fenders and a Porsche 906 windshield.
Generators have some benefits over typical piston engines, together with huge energy for his or her dimension, and clean, vibration-free operation. However gasoline financial system is usually poor, and there’s vital lag when getting on or off the throttle. The beginning process is a bit complicated too. Many switches have to be thrown, and the automobile wants a bit of push to maneuver away.
Whereas there have been some newer makes an attempt at turbine automobiles, together with Leno’s personal EcoJet, these points make them extra suited to the sky than the street. The Howmet TX does make an unbelievable noise, although, which will be skilled by way of the video.