In 1967 Andy Granatelli had a novel idea to install a turboshaft in his Indy 500 race car. He was only able to run turbine-powered cars in 1967 and 1968 and both years the car broke down leading the race with a small amount of laps to go. Soon after that rule changes restricted turbine-powered cars.
Vince Granatelli decided in honor of his Father’s creative engineering by installing a turbine into a brand new 1978 Corvette. He choose a ST6B turboshaft engine similar to the one used in his father’s 1967 Indy 500 car. The Corvette was chosen because it was the only car with a long enough engine bay.
Once again the turboshaft engine proved its worth by setting a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds. The car was actually timed for that but Vince claimed it could do it in 2.5 seconds. It is incredible for the late 70’s since Corvettes during that time were needing 7-8 seconds. If you are interested in how this beast drives both a CNN and Autoblog writer gives a first-hand account.
To help keep the engine under control the Corvette had reduction gearbox to reduce the engine’s 37,500 rpm to about 6,230 rpm. The car also had a stronger driveshaft, 3.03:1 gearing, large Nascar disc brakes, and a ton of switches and gauges.
The Corvette is currently owned by Milton Verret. He purchased the car in 1982 for $550,000 and recently tried to sell it at Barrett-Jackson but didn’t receive a bid high enough.