THE IDEA of increasing an engine’s power output by forcing air into its combustion chambers, rather than having the engine draw in the air itself, is as old as the internal combustion engine. Indeed, Gottlieb Daimler, the automobile’s ‘father’, patented a gear-driven air compressor (or supercharger as we know it today) as early as 1885.
The first turbocharger, or exhaustgas-driven air compressor, was patented in 1905, but the idea wasn’t put into practice until World War I, where turbos started to appear on military aircraft engines.
Turbos first appeared in passenger cars in 1962, when General Motors produced both the Oldsmobile Cutlass Jetfire and the far more controversial rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder for the USA market.
For various reasons neither car was a success, but the future of turbocharged road cars became assured when BMW launched its 2002 Turbo in 1973 and Porsche its 911 Turbo the following year.
The H9 shares many features with the Prado, but it has a smaller engine. Doesn’t seem to bother it, though.