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GM XP-21 Firebird 1 : 1953

Filed under:  Oddball
 
Comment(s): 1
 
 
MSRP Engine HP Manufactured
n/a gas turbine 370.0 1953 - 1953
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The 1953 XP-21 Firebird 1 was the first gas turbine automobile ever to be built and tested in the United States.


gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 05.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1. (source: GM)

Designed strictly as an engineering and styling exercise, Firebird 1 was intended to determine whether the gas turbine could be used as an efficient and economical powerplant for future vehicles.

The idea for Firebird 1 originated with Harley J. Earl, the legendary GM Styling Vice President, who also designed the car's aircraft-inspired fiberglass-reinforced plastic body. The engine, termed "Whirlfire Turbo-Power," was developed under the direction of Charles L. McCuen, then general manager of GM Research Laboratories Division.

Unlike a jet airplane, which develops thrust through the action of exhaust gas through a tailcone, the Whirlfire Turbo-Power engine propelled the Firebird 1 through a power turbine acting on the rear wheels via a transmission. The engine was capable of 370 hp at a power turbine speed of 13,000 rpm.

(source: GM)


gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 01.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1. (source: GM)

gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 04.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1. (source: GM)

gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 02.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1. (source: GM)

gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 03.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1. (source: GM)

gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 08.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1. Harley Earl with Mauri Rose, Indy champion and Firebird I test driver. (source: GM)

gm xp 21 firebird 1 53 06.png

1953 GM XP-21 Firebird 1 logo. (source: GM)

gm 2

GM logo.

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