My all time favourite ride, the Turbo, was manufactured by Chance in 1970 in collaboration with Gerry Barber who had earlier designed the Radar. Chance manufactured 23 Turbo’s before production ceased in 1976.
Turbo is now extremely rare with very few working units found only in USA and Australia. At the time of Turbo’s premiere it sold for around USD$75,000 but as with many other rides who had ‘earned their money back’ all but 3 of the 23 built are now neglected piles of rust in sheds and backyards.
The Turbo is superb to watch and even better to ride. The ride consists of two giant wheels resembling spider web structures. On each of these wheels are 10 circular cages attached at a slight angle. (each cage holds 2 adults or 3 children). Each wheel turns while both rotate around the base of the ride in the opposite direction. The result of these combined movements is a thrill seeker’s dream. The cages randomly spin around at varied angles flipping upside down, sideways or swooping riders face-down towards the ground - just inches away from it. The ride moves with smooth, random (and very fast) style unmatched by any other in my opinion.
Ingeniously, the whole ride fits on two 40ft trailers - one for the cages, the second for the entire tower and wheel structure. Inside the base is an arched trailer (wheels included) that is hinged hydraulically bearing the two spider web wheels that fold out like umbrellas .
The ride can be set up in roughly 6 hours with two people.
Until ten years ago Australia had 3 working versions of the ride; all travelling, in very good condition. Unfortunately one was in a freight train accident in 1996 where some of the cages were smashed beyond repair; another was sold to China while the third is a work-in-progress set to re-appear in 2011. The remaining idle units can be found only in North America, and as of November 2010, one of these is being refurbished by USA Showman, Jerry Baque.
Have you seen or ridden a Turbo? Please share your memories below or join the Facebook Turbo Amusement Ride Fan Club