Jay Leno may have made fun of corn farmers and the Toyota Prius, but he unveiled a stunning mid-engine supercar that is environmentally friendly and hopefully an inspiration to young car enthusiasts. The covers were pulled off Leno's EcoJet on Monday at a late-night ceremony in the Wynn's Hotel in Las Vegas where the car will be displayed at the SEMA Show.
"I drive it, wait for the harvest, get some corn and drive it some more," quipped Leno, who told Autoblog that he is also converting his shop to solar power in an effort to be more environmentally conscious.
Leno said he originally wanted a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle but time constraints killed that idea. Bio-diesel was the backup plan, so Leno sought out a 650-horsepower Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine, mated to a Corvette automatic transaxle. Much of the vehicle platform is based on the C6 Corvette, including a special aluminum frame, brakes and suspension components. What was the targeted top speed for the 2,400-pound car? "How much fun can you have with it," answered Leno, noting the exhaust sounds like "a jet engine taking off."
Designer from the GM Advanced Design Studio worked with sketches Leno originally made on a napkin. Leno said there were no constraints placed on the design, like where the golf clubs would go. The idea was built to be a fast, fun vehicle with design cues pulled from Formula 1 and various aircraft. Perhaps the most eye-catching and innovative design elements are the turbine-inspired, Alcoa-built wheels (20x10 front, 22x12 rear) and the massive exhaust slots -- one for each side of the engine. The water-born paint is from BASF and the interior isn't finished, but Leno promises it will be "cruelty free," so Pam Anderson of PETA fame will take a drive with him.