This Is How Awesome The Early Days Of Turbocharging Looked
Credit where credit’s due, General Motors did introduce the world’s first turbocharged production car in 1962 in the Chevrolet Corvair Spyder Turbo and Oldsmobile Turbo Jetfire. Their names were inspired, but both were marketed without the big hair, loud vinyl stickers, and laser effects that helped sell turbos in the ’70s and ’80s.
That’s an absolute shame, because when other automakers introduced their turbocharged vehicles, it often included an insane amount of futuristic anything, be it clothing, computer graphics, or hi-fi stereo components. Turbos couldn’t just be a novel way to make our engines more powerful and efficient, no—they had to rocket people into the future, ideally on some turbo-inspired wheels.
After General Motors, Porsche introduced its 930 Turbo, a 911 comprehensively re-engineered to maximise the new technology. Saab then gave us the 99 Turbo…and then the floodgates opened. Soon, the French did turbocharged hatchbacks, Bentley added turbos to its stately massive luxury cars, and even Ferrari found a use for snails next to its engines.
The mainstream, however, is what graced us with liveried “normal” cars, with the five letters in “turbo” splayed out in vinyl stickers all over the bodywork. Was it always tasteful? Definitely not…but at least you knew it had a turbo.
Images via wheelsage.org