• Oct 31st 2006 at 3:18AM
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Unforgettable cars associated with the Leno name include the Tank Car and the twin turbo Toronado. After Monday night, we can add the EcoJet to that list. Designed and produced in collaboration with Leno, his Big Dog team of mechanics and GM's Design Studio in North Hollywood, the EcoJet is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine producing 650 horsepower and 400 ft-lbs. of torque on bio-diesel. It rides on a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with additional aluminum and magnesium chassis components. The skin: 100% pure carbon fiber over Kevlar. The EcoJet's shape is a mix of Cadillac's current design language and cues taken from F1 racers and aeronautical craft.

The EcoJet was introduced at a shindig thrown by GM last night in Las Vegas at the SEMA show, and Autoblog's Mike Magda was in attendance. Unfortunately his hotel lacks the wi-fi, so we'll bring you some additional shots of this shocker later today.

You can still check out GM's press release after the jump, though.

[Source: GM]


Turbine-Powered Ecojet Concept Began With Meeting, Sketches On A Napkin
Jay Leno, GM Advanced Design Studio Collaborated on 650-Horsepower Supercar That Runs on Bio-Diesel

LAS VEGAS - What would keep a group of automotive designers up all night? "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, for starters, but not by his monologue or parade of Hollywood guests. This time it's because the late-night talk show host invited the General Motors Advanced Design Studio to help design a mid-engine, turbine-powered supercar called EcoJet. Leno and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the car today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

EcoJet's genesis goes back to a discussion between Leno, an avid car enthusiast and collector, and Bernard Juchli, the chief mechanic and caretaker of Leno's collection. Leno then turned to Welburn for design direction.

"A couple of paper napkins later, Ed had begun to capture the essence of the car," said Leno. "I've admired the work of GM's Design Studio in North Hollywood, Calif., and asked Ed if the studio's director, Frank Saucedo, and his guys could continue the design study," Welburn agreed, and a two-week sketching frenzy commenced as GM's designers began working after-hours with Leno's team on the project.

"EcoJet's esthetics were driven by aeronautical and jet-age influences," said Welburn. "It's a purpose-driven design that conveys power, capability and even danger, with a hint of Cadillac's sophisticated design vocabulary."

Borrowing design cues from jet aircraft and Formula One racecars, the supercar began to take shape under the watchful eyes of Leno and Welburn. A concurrent engineering program defined the vehicle's proportions and mechanics.

Leno relied on Juchli and the entire Big Dog team at his garage to turn the EcoJet vision into a reality.

"We thought we pushed the creative envelope with the '66 twin turbo Toronado project with GM, but this turbine-powered monster is a whole new level of complexity," said Juchli, who constructed the car at Leno's facility.

The 650-horsepower (400 lb.-ft. of torque) Leno original is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine that runs on bio-diesel fuel. The engine sits in a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. The vehicle's shell is an advanced construction of carbon fiber over Kevlar.

EcoJet project partners
  • GM Advanced Design Studio, North Hollywood, Calif. - conceptual and build design, engineering, digital design and fabrication support
  • Alcoa - chassis and wheel engineering
  • Metalcrafters - body engineering and construction
  • Honeywell - engine supplier
  • Intermountain Turbine - engine builders
  • Dana - chassis supplier
  • BASF - paint and finishing supplies
  • GE Plastics - Lexan windows
  • Viper Technologies - wheel construction
Vehicle description: mid-engine, turbine-powered, two-seat supercar
Wheelbase (in / mm): 110 / 2795
Engine: Honeywell LT-101
Horsepower @ % turbine speed): 650 @ 70
Torque (lb-ft @ % turbine speed): 400 @ 70
Fuel type: bio-diesel
Wheels: 20 x 10-in front_22 x 12-in rear
Tires: 255/35R20 front_305/30R22 rear
Track (in / mm): 66.9 / 1698 front_66.6 / 1692 rear
Overall length (in / mm): 184 / 4674
Overall width ( in / mm): 79.4 / 2024
Overall height (in / mm): 46.5 / 1180

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      It reminds of the Chrysler Crossfire show car on super steriods.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How American looking... It looks horrible.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "6. It may be a supercar, but they could have done better in the design department, this car looks terrible. Looks like a bunch of steel sheets hand-molded, welded and painted."

      Come on folks, can't you see that it designed to look like Jay Leno's CHIN?

      Anyway, turbines have long been considered a great alternative to piston style engines for many reasons (like unlimited torque and ability to run on almost any combustible liquid), but were never able to achieve suitable fuel mileage to be financially viable. Now that gas, and especially diesel, prices are staying realtively high, turbines may become more desireable.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Caddie in the front, Koenigsegg cockpit.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Dude, the press release says it's a purpose-driven design. It wasn't made to look sleek or pretty, but to work."

      Ummm purpose-driven.. where have i heard that before? Oh the McLaren F1, the Bugatti Veyron, the Elise, the F430 etc. Every super car has a purpose-driven design incorporating sundry shapes and underbody work to facilitate handling, cooling, etc. So to single this car out as being ugly due to a 'purpose-driven design' is a poor excuse in our world filled with dozens and dozens of purpose driven designed supercars. It warms my heart to see someone take marketing jive seriously.
      • 8 Years Ago
      yes, but the mopar cars did not look like that and they did not handle like that car will. the mopar cars looked like any other 60's car with "turbine" lights and bits added on to make it look futureistic.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Turbines in cars aren't new...Chrysler played with them in the '60s and late 70's
      • 8 Years Ago
      To me it is one of the great design concepts of all time. Haunches like a big cat. Air intake up top way cool. Doors sculptured. Killer headlight cluster. Sweet ass hood and grille. 10 out of 10.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So someone got their hands on 3D Studios Max for the first time, and this is the first polygonal mess he made. Voila.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It looks like an robot not like a car.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Dear Mr. Fantasy - Traffic
      Wild One - Thin Lizzy
      Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Traffic
      While My Guitar Gently Weeps - Todd Rundgren
      Tunnel of Love - Dire Straits
      Can't Find My Way Home - Blind Faith
      The Weight - The Band
      Train in Vain - The Clash
      I Am the Highway - Audioslave
      Chloe Dancer-Crown of Thorns - Mother Love Bone
      By the Way - Red Hot Chili Peppers
      Gold Dust Woman - Sister Hazel
      The Rain Song - Led Zeppelin
      • 8 Years Ago
      Interesting that this isn't the only turbine powered car at SEMA. Marine Turbine Technologies http://www.marineturbine.com also has a booth at SEMA, and they have a tubine powered S-10, tubine powered Mini, and the turbine powered MTT Superbike. Leno bought and owns one of the turbine powered Superbikes. Hopefully AutoBlog.com will take some pictures of those vehicles also.
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