Weston native knew the turbine car well 2011.06.02

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Elaine Angell always enjoyed the drive from Detroit down to Adrian to visit her family—when she was riding in a Chrysler Turbine Car, that is.

“We drove it to Lenawee County several times to visit my parents,” she said. Elaine grew up in Weston and graduated from Sand Creek High School.

“It was real interesting to drive through Adrian,” she remembers. “It got some heads snapping.”

That was back in the first half of the 1960s, when the turbine car existed, before they were all collected and destroyed.

Elaine’s late husband, Peter, was a Canadian who returned from World War II and went to school at McGill University. He graduated first in his engineering class and the Chrysler Corporation snapped him up, Elaine said.

The concept for the turbine car was already thought up when Peter was hired, but he played a role in the production of the unusual automobile.

“The gas turbine engine was a big secret to everybody for a long time,” Elaine said. “Peter was so interested in the project.”

She remembers him coming home from a 12-hour day once and soon going to sleep. Before long a telephone call came and Elaine was hesitant to awaken him, until she learned it was her husband’s boss.

Peter took the phone call, then cheerfully got up and returned to work. He put in another 12 hours—a sign of the dedication and interest in the project by those lucky enough to be involved.

The turbine car was a real smart-looking vehicle, Elaine said, styled by an Italian designer. General Motors also made a turbine car, but there’s was only for display. Only Chrysler had a working model.

“It had an interesting noise to it that drove our dog mad,” she said.

The Angells weren’t allowed to own a turbine, but Peter could bring one home now and then. He was also was part of a team that took a turbine to other cities to show it off.

“It was Chrysler’s claim that it could run on most anything,” Elaine said. 

That’s how she happened to obtain a bottle of the famous Arpège perfume. Peter returned from a showing in Paris where Arpège was used as fuel.

Not too many years passed until Chrysler decided the turbine car would no longer exist. They were rounded up and destroyed.

“I cannot for the life of me imagine why it didn’t take off,” she said. “Everyone seemed to be happy with it. It was a lovely car and I really hated to see it go to the junkyard.”

All she’s left with now are some model cars and other memorabilia. Even the models are quite valuable now.

Elaine’s son tell her that he knows exactly how many she has and that she better not get rid of any of them.

• Take a look at Elaine’s Chrysler Turbine Car memorabilia June 9 at Stair Public Library in Morenci. Michigan Notable Book author Steve Lehto will visit the library at 7 p.m. to discuss his book, “Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The rise and fall of Detroit’s coolest creation.”

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016