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VIDEO: Coal-Powered Turbine Engine Oldsmobile

Back in 1982, GM was worried about rising oil prices, so they started toying with the idea of car that ran on coal dust. This 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88 was converted to a turbine engine that burned powered coal — and MotorWeek was there with their cameras to review the COALdsmobile.

Back before auto makers saw the potential in hybrids and electric cars, they were doing some strange things for the sake of innovation, but it would be a while until they got there. The COALdsmobile was one of those examples of GM’s hand at alternative energy, and it was a major failure.

This Oldsmobile looks normal enough, until you pop the hood. Similar to an aircraft engine, this engine is powered by micro powered coal, stored under the hood in a tank. The super fine powder is blown by a turbine into the engine. GM carried over the jet theme to the interior, and that’s probably the worst part about it. Check out the video to take it in.

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