Monterey 2008: Leno's Tank Car storms Pebble Beach

Click above for high-res gallery of Jay's Tank Car in Monterey

We were as surprised as anyone to see Jay Leno's name on the entry list for this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Then we saw that he would be arriving in a 1953 Chrysler. As nice as 1953 Chryslers may be, Jay's is pretty special. It's an imposing custom hot rod that is powered by a 28.4-liter Chrysler built tank engine. Most people call it the Tank Car, and last year this time it was on display across the country at the Woodward Dream Cruise. The heart of the Tank Car is the 1792 cid V-12 Continental-designed, Chrsyler-built tank engine that in turbocharged form puts out something like 1,600 hp and 3,000 ft-lbs. of torque. The engine alone weighs 2,000 lbs and easily qualifies Jay's car in this year's featured 20+ liter class.

While performance isn't this car's main goal, it can scoot along pretty well with all of that power being routed through an Allison 6-speed transmission. Switching from the original 3-speed trans doubled Leno's gas mileage, which now stands at around 5 mpg. As bad as that might seem, it comes across as almost reasonable when you hear it guzzles 80 quarts of oil every time Jay swings through a Jiffy Lube. We have to admit that we were among the many fans who rushed to see the car as Jay entered the Pebble Beach fairway. It's really a spectacular sight, even at an event that is known to stop even seasoned auto afficianados in their tracks every few seconds.

View 12 Photos

Photos Copyright ©2008 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

Share This Photo X