Helicopter-engined Howmet joins the ROFGO collection

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A 1968 Howmet TX powered by a prototype turbine engine is the latest machine to join the renowned ROFGO collection for Gulf-liveried cars.

Standing for Turbine eXperimental, the TX project was funded by the Howmet Corporation, which also lent its expertise in the investment casting of super alloys.

Only two of the cars were made, one being based on a 1966 Bob McKee Can-Am car while the other – this later machine – had a purpose-built chassis.

Both were powered by engines originally intended for a military helicopter project, which were leased from Continental Aviation & Engineering.

This TX would go on to be the most successful of its type and the only turbine-powered machine ever to win a race – taking two Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) race victories, the only turbine car ever to do so, and two qualifying sprint victories in one season.

The TX retired after the Howmet Corporation decided to pull the plug on funding, but it went on to set six FIA Land Speed Records for turbine-powered cars.

The new addition to the ROFGO fleet, which will be running at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, joins a list of exotics ROFGO that includes everything from a 1965 GT40 to a 1971 Porsche 917 and a 1972 McLaren M20.

Comments

jbmotorsport

Whos car was sold?One is in USA owned by Chuck Haines and the other one in France owned by Xavier Micheron.

Kind regards,Juergen

Sam Starcher

I saw and heard one of these cars run at the SCCA races in Cumberland Md. in the sixtys. There was no comparison. The wind up and whine of that turbine that could be heard across the track had no equal. It gave you cold chills every lap. Verry impressive. Just wish teh funding had not been cancelled.

rsk289

One of these was running in the 2012 Le Mans Classic, and absolutely made my weekend. I vaguely remembered reading about it as a 13-yr-old back in '68, but had forgotten all about it until we were walking around the paddock late on Friday evening and this shape came towards us in the dark, one gullwing door open and making a surreal noise. It crawled past at walking speed, and filled the air with the smell of paraffin. The penny dropped, and I was hooked again!
Loved watching it in the race. There was a tyre stop, right opposite us, the mechanics using huge spanners to flip off the giant wheel spinners. The one who ran around the back met the exhaust blast of a turbine ticking over at 20,000 rpm at head level and was physically blown back down the pit lane. When the driver stood on the throttle to rejoin, the difficulty of 'feeling' the throttle was very evident as he struggled to keep the back end behind the front.
If only we still had oddballs like this in motor racing...

Caterhamfan

Didn't this appear at the Festival of Speed a few years ago? I seem to remember seeing it somewhere and being very impressed by the turbine noise and lack of fuss as it shot off :)

ElanSprint72

How many Howmet cars were there? I have recently read that there were three made by  McKee in 1968 (one as a "spare") and that another was built in 2000 with an Allison engine).

Which car has been sold and by whom?

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