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The EcoJet: Jay Leno's New GM-Outsourced Supercar

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Yes, that's Jay Leno, comedian and talk show host. Yes, that's Ed Welburn, GM's veep of Global Design. But the silver bullet with the Grateful Dead-looking logo in between them is what I came to see at the Wynn Casino late last night, mere hours before SEMA's official starting gun fires. It's the 650 hp (400 lb.-ft. of torque), bio-diesel monster supercar named the EcoJet. The mid-engined beast, originally sketched by Leno and Ed on the back of a napkin, shares design cues with everything from jet aircraft and Formular One racecars, and even, it would appear, the nose of a Cadillac STS. The Leno-Welburn love child is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine running in a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. The shell's composed of a carbon fiber over Kevlar skin. We've got the full press release after the jump, but check out the gallery via the link below to see the real goods in person.

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[Jay Leno's EcoJet Gallery]

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

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM operates one of the world's leading finance companies, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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DISCUSSION

(My last post, cleaned up a little...)

You the Car King... And I've got the Ultimate Car for you...

...When In was 15 and 7-months, a history prof gave me his deceased wife's 1940's Olds Rocket.. in PRIME condition... He said that the car was his wife's favorite possession.. and he figured that she must have put some of her into the car when she died... Because every time he drove it, and left it, it was like he was losing her all over again.. like she had just died that day... He said it was driving him nuts.. and he just couldn't take it anymore.. so he figured he would give the car to someone he could trust to treat it properly... I paid a buck for it...

The next day, I washed her twice... And the next day I polished her twice...

And the third day I polished her again...

After the second shine was complete, I stood back ten feet to admire my work...

I don't know what possessed me to up and kiss the right fender.. but I did... And to my surprise and Shock!.. the fender formed lips that were kissing me back... I was so stunned that I walked backwards till I tripped in the gravel, and fell on my bum...

Where I sat, I softly ran my fingers over my lips.. where there was still sensory memory of feeling the car's lips on mine...

That evening I sat in the car from 6::PM till 10:PM, picking lint from the royal blue velvet interior, with pointy tweezers, in candle light.. till I couldn't find a single piece of lint crossing the glistening velvet points.. which looked like a starry sky, from the candle light flickering brightly on deep-blue velvet tips...

I was exhausted.... I sat back in the driver seat.. and melted into the seat, as I closed my eyes, and drifted toward sleep...

Not asleep yet.. but pretty close.. I sensed movement at the backs of my sides... It felt like my sweater was tightening a little, just under my arms... I raised my arms a little, and glanced down, to see two petite female arms gently wrap themselves around my chest, and hold me in a tight loving warm embrace...

After the huge Rush dissipated some... I thought... "Jim said she left part of her in the car... The fender kissed me... And now the arms...

I pondered the possibilities.. ""Hah! I has a ghost of my very own... and if I plays it right, I'm bets I can get my car to do BJ's... But does this mean I'll have to plastic-cover the driver's seat, or not..??"

Next day, I gets a bottle from the bootlegger.. and sets it up that me and my girlfriend will make love in the car this Saturday at midnight, and invite the ghost to share in our moment...

_____________________________

I'm bets this car is in some collector's forgotten pile of junk..

Deal is.. I give you the particulars... You track the car down... I reanimates the ghost... You gets a car that gives good head whilst you're driving... (which is gonna make it Very difficult to drive safely)...

All I want out of it.. is to meet her touch again, give her a real kiss, and give the lady a good home...

Too bad the prof didn't understand that she had put all herself in the car, just to continue loving and protecting him... I suppose it was a little too-much Reality for him to grasp...

The other thing I hope to get out of it, is a little more data on, "how the h she managed to transfer her whole entity into a car, that Much.. so much that she could make metal animate... which just might mean that metal "is alive" somehow..?

Bottomline: there is a good chance that I have what it takes to transfer that ghost from the rocket, into your new Supercar...