Turbo

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

97 Responses to “Turbo”

  1. I rode one of these when I was around 6 yrs old (~1972). There used to be one at Springlake Amusement Park near Oklahoma City. I remember being very frightened because it was the first “upside down” ride I had ever been on. I have wondered why I haven’t seen this ride since.

    Gary - October 20th, 2010 at 7:52 am

  2. Does anyone remember this ride at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Aust around 90-91? There were a few rides down there for a few years before all those nightclubs and restaurants were built. I was too small to ride it at the time but I remember it well…blue and yellow colours..also the UFO was there and the Tumble bug from Luna Park..

    Christy - October 21st, 2010 at 2:59 am

  3. I rode the turbo a couple of times during the ’70’s at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, KS. The Turbo was with the Royal American Carnivals. I miss that ride. Chance should bring it back!

    Gary - November 14th, 2010 at 11:57 am

  4. I remember watching this ride in action in 1974 in Melbourne, Australia when I was six. My older siblings were allowed to ride it but I was too little at the time. When I was 13 I rode it 8 times in a row, and many times in later years. Absolutely loved it. There is no way I would ever go on it now! I always associated thie ride with the Zipper. They came to Aus at the same time. There are plenty of Zippers around, but hardly any turbos. It’s not even on Wikipedia. I am going to make a page in its honour! There was one at the Royal Melbourne Show a few years ago, but have not seen one since. We canNOT let this ride become extinct!

    Todd - December 20th, 2010 at 12:06 am

  5. i would love to ride that!

    Angel - December 21st, 2010 at 6:33 am

  6. I am rebuilding the turbo ride right now every nut and bolt and pin on it

    Elwin bell - December 27th, 2010 at 11:57 am

  7. Good on you Elwin. Knowing how well you present your other rides,it will surely be an immaculate restoration. We can hardly wait for it to be on the road again!

    Derek - December 29th, 2010 at 1:47 am

  8. When can we expect this back on the road in Oz? It’s been SO long since we’ve seen it!!!

    Jim - December 30th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

  9. Hey all. I am in the process. Of constructing a version of this ride and I need you help. Colors. If you have ideas email me at mneininger@gmail.com

    mike - January 5th, 2011 at 8:22 am

  10. What do you mean you are re-constructing it? making another turbo or a new version? or you mean a model one?

    Christy - January 10th, 2011 at 12:27 am

  11. Hey i saw the turbo the other day in west sydney…it was being tested it looked like. Only one wheel was painted and the other was white. Looks like they are re-vamping it or something. Looked like it was going really fast. Its good they are finally starting it again! Probably getting ready for this years easter show i would say!!

    Taryn - January 10th, 2011 at 12:31 am

  12. Hi Taryn, Did you get any photos? if not, GO BACK AN TAKE SOME PLEASE LOL. Email them to me joshy_41@hotmail.com and i’ll get them up on the site! THANKS :)

    tom - January 12th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

  13. back in the mid 70’s,there were 2 turbos operating a few blocks apart on the wildwood(NJ)boardwalk

    denny - February 3rd, 2011 at 1:32 pm

  14. Hi didnt get any fotos yet but yeh the Turbo is currently working and in Windsor..just north west of sydney… its currenly beautiful and in a blue theme of colours..also the name has been changed from turbo to charged up!!! cant wait till it goes to the easter show this year..hopefully!!!

    Taryn - February 18th, 2011 at 10:00 am

  15. Reithoffer shows had a turbo in the early seventies. I remember one teardown when the tower got stuck coming down. It was a very cool ride to set up and tear down.

    Steve A - February 19th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

  16. I Rode this Turbo at the San Mateo County Fair back in the 70’s.It was the best ride. Me and my best friend saved up money all year so when the fair came we would ride the turbo as much as we could.

    Laura - March 8th, 2011 at 8:53 am

  17. I remember the Turbo from the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto back in the 1970’s. It was definitely the best ride at the fair. I have a cousin (15 or so at the time) who could not be scared by ANY ride. But when she rode the Turbo she screamed and cried for mercy! It was amazing how the angles changed as the ride operated. I can still remember being face down seemingly inches from the ground against the grate and then shooting straight up into the air. The ride was also great to watch from the sidelines – seemed lik cages were going all over the space – very nice.

    Bill - April 15th, 2011 at 7:49 am

  18. The turbo here is australia only weeks till its out and about on the road. Mildura Victoria may be its first show. then doing dandenong, taralgon if not. it will be at there 2011/2012 christmas carnival.

    Bruce Bell - May 1st, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  19. Hay thats great news was this the one that was over in nz about 12 years ago could you put up some photos thanks

    bruce - May 3rd, 2011 at 5:51 pm

  20. HI I set up and tore down a turbo for Sam Johnston for three years Back in the 1990. They had one of the first one made. It is in Los Angles beening redone. They sold it to a show their. Will look for any old pictures.

    Rick Larson - May 17th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  21. I rememember riding The Turbo at the Boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ in 1976-1977. It was a memorable ride- there were no belts in the cages- just a padded bar that you could cling to if you were strong enough. I would love to ride it again.

    ROBERT ANDREWS - June 13th, 2011 at 11:51 am

  22. The Turbo was at the Anderson, Indiana Free Fair in the 1970’s. Degeller’s Magic Midway had the midway contract throughout the 60’s and 70’s and ususally setup about 20 big rides as well as many kiddie rides. If I remember correctly they contracted the Turbo from Reithoffer Shows for that season. The Turbo was the wildest and most fun ride I ever rode and I wish they were still around.

    Bob Armstrong - July 17th, 2011 at 6:47 am

  23. I loved this ride, my family owned a carnival growing up. I was always on this ride

    Michelle - July 31st, 2011 at 5:07 pm

  24. anyone who knows where can i buy 10 turbo cages???

    ioannis - September 26th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

  25. This ride needs too come to Miami Florida, Dade County Youth Fair

    dEMETRIOUS - January 15th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  26. Wow, cool to find this page. I got to ride a Turbo only a couple times, mid-late 70s at the Marin County Fair. Not much action on this page, anyone got an update if there’s any Turbo actually running or will be this Summer? Thanks

    AC - March 6th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

  27. I remember my first ride on the turbo I was about 10 Years old in 1977 in Wildwood New Jersey Spent my summers down there from a baby to my adulthood and rode it every summer time until they took it down Which was only a couple years and then I found the zipper and started riding that Oh the memories Now they were well built rides

    Carlo D - September 8th, 2013 at 11:46 pm

  28. the show I work for owns a radar it is no longer in service though

    will - September 25th, 2013 at 11:39 am

  29. OMG!! My sister and I road the Turbo, screamed our heads off to let us off, and were sick for 2 days!! I remember my sister saying I looked like a “Boiled Owl” while we were on it LOL!! I can’t say I am a fan, but it is for sure a Wildwood memory that I will NEVER forget :-)

    Myra Dougherty - September 29th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

  30. I have seen this ride,TURBO, at the New Mexico State Fair in 1971 & 1972.

    calvin j.h. - October 28th, 2013 at 11:21 pm

  31. I have recently talked with bells, regarding the Australian turbo. Hopefully it will be ready to go very soon! Keep your eyes out for this one, and ride one of the best rides ever made!

    Les - November 27th, 2013 at 8:37 pm

  32. I ran the Turbo on Marine Pier in Wildwood during the summer of 1976; the following summer Marine Pier became Mariners Landing. I was 19 years old at the time and lived with two other fellas from Pittsburgh. I made a $100 in extra money from all the change that fell from people’s pockets. We filled the gaps between the boards with rope so that we captured all the change. I worked with an retired gentleman named Ted. Our favorite trick was to offer to hold people’s cameras when they were on the ride. We would then take a photo of each other giving the finger to the camera. Imagine the laughs when these people developed their film a few weeks later when they returned home to Bayonne, Camden or Philly. Boy was it fun!

    Patrick - April 29th, 2014 at 1:16 pm

  33. I wouldn’t ride or let any one ride the turbo this ride killed my dad at the Sydney royal Easter show

    Danial - May 2nd, 2014 at 7:30 pm

  34. MYFIRSTRIDEINTHETURBOWASATRYRUNINPUERTORICOTHEOPERSTORHAVEAGOODLAFTTHANKSTOCOMMANDOANDCHAINSAW1979AMUSSPECTACULAIRERULE

    flolaverdiere - May 16th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

  35. iw realy not sure about the comment before but wthati was talking about was that my firstride intheche turbo happen in sanjuan portorico merci commando et chainsaw amusspectaculaire rule

    flolaverdiere - May 16th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

  36. By the time Bells get it ready and operating ill be 90. When will they start to move quicker. I cant wait anymore for the Turbo!!

    Caspian - July 7th, 2014 at 2:12 am

  37. I remember seeing a TURBO at the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock, AR, back in the early 1970’s ( probably 1972 ). The ride fascinated me and glad to see there are others out there that remember this ride.

    Mark - July 13th, 2014 at 7:06 am

  38. the ex australian turbo just sold on used rides – currently in china- does anyone know where its going?? back to OZ???

    les - November 15th, 2014 at 11:52 am

  39. Reithoffer Shows still has there old turbo at one of there winter quarters in Abbeville S.C.

    Mark - November 30th, 2014 at 12:56 am

  40. The Turbo in China was sold to Playland in Vancouver BC; slated for a 2016 debut

    Mark Hackett - December 4th, 2014 at 2:17 am

  41. The China Turbo that got sold to Playland was ultimately scrapped later, can’t remember when, Bell’s turbo in Australia is almost ready to run, it’s going through aesthetic phases, and a few more tubs are needed.

    Lewie - January 15th, 2015 at 1:24 am

  42. What about the rotor ride it is the original hellhole I seen one in existence in my 28 years doing carnivals ????

    Robert Donnelly - May 7th, 2015 at 2:22 am

  43. With Chance starting to make Zippers again, I wonder how long it will be until we see the turbo make a comeback?

    U306 - March 26th, 2016 at 2:28 pm

  44. I saw one of these back in the mid-80’s in Oklahoma City when I was 13. It was in the parking lot of a strip mall at SW 74th & Penn; one of those traveling carnivals. I’ll never forget it. Sadly, I didn’t get to attend the carnival so I never got the chance to ride the infamous Turbo!

    Greg Bennett - April 6th, 2016 at 10:09 am

  45. There’s one in operation in Delicias, Chihuahua in Mexico. At a park called DIF. I contacted a carnival company here in Mexico that used to operate one of these in the mid 90s to ask what they did to it. They told me they sold it in 2000 but sadly after that it was involved in an accident and didnt operate until 2009 when it was restored. I have a photo to prove it. Anyway the owner of the company informed me of this other turbo still operating in a park so I’ll inb stagnate more cause that would make 5 turbos fully operational from the 23 manufactured. Oh and by the way, some guy posted a coment on YouTube on a video of a turbo in operation he said he owns one but doesn’t knows how to assemble it and was asking for a user manual but the account that posted the coment has been deleted and there’s. O way to contact him.

    Eric - May 6th, 2016 at 3:26 pm

  46. Found memories of the turbo I’d love to see and running

    Dave - January 1st, 2017 at 2:14 pm

  47. still don’t get why they got rid of this ride

    Terra Verso - October 22nd, 2017 at 6:50 pm

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