The Shelby Turbine was one of four
open-wheel Indy cars released in 1969 as part of the new Grand Prix
During the winter of 1966-67, the Granatelli brother's STP team built a radical new race car powered by a turbine engine. At the time, such an engine was allowed under USAC rules. Parnelli Jones, 1963 Indianapolis 500 champion, was hired to drive the car. In the 1967 Indianapolis 500, Jones led 171 laps, but a $6 bearing burned out on lap 197. The STP Turbine, referred to by some as the "pregnant guppy" might have been what the Mattel designer had in mind. For 1968, the Granatellis turned to Lotus for another try with turbine engines. The designer of the original STP turbine car, Ken Wallis, approached Carroll Shelby and convinced him to build a turbine car for the 1968 Indianapolis 500. Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren were to drive the new Shelby Turbines, but they were quietly withdrawn before the race. After the 1968 pre-race crash of a Lotus Turbine that killed driver Mike Spence, Shelby announced that turbine engines were too powerful and could never be made to work safely in automobiles. However, the withdrawl of the cars likely had more to do with Shelby's discovery that a design flaw in Wallis' turbine engine left it without sufficient power. One of the Shelby Turbine cars was later used as a promotional vehicle for Paul Newman's movie "Winning".
Parnelli Jones driving the 1967 STP Turbine (L); Denny Hulme in the 1968 Shelby turbine car (R).
As with all four Indy cars, the Shelby Turbine was produced only by the Hong Kong factory. It features a blue-tinted windscreen (as do all HK cars) and a silver-painted intake vent to the side of the driver's cockpit. Shelby Turbines were painted with a variety of Spectraflame colors and included a small "Hot Wheels" decal on the right side of the car. A waterslide decal sheet with racing numbers and sponsors logos was included in the blister pack.
Most Shelby Turbines have black interiors, but occasionally tan interiors can be found. White interiors are quite rare and have only been found in red cars. Early production cars have bearing (white hub) style wheels, while later runs have cap style wheels. While the three other Indy cars had medium wheels in front and large wheels in the rear, Shelby Turbines had large wheels all around.
Above: prototype Shelby Turbines in purple and aqua (B. Rosas).
A green Shelby Turbine with prototype snap-on fuel tanks.
Proto tanks: click
here to see real deal vs. repro...
Shelby Turbine Color chart
|copper||hard to find
||hard to find
A rare light green Shelby Turbine in a cut blister pack!
A beautiful blue Shelby Turbine still in the blister pack!
Ted Gray's awesome group of Shelby Turbines!
A Shelby Turbine rainbow!