GM & Jay Leno's EcoJet:
Channel Staff - 3/Nov/2006
GM and Jay Leno team up for the EcoJet
Jay Leno's EcoJet turbine supercar has a
Cadillac-inspired front cowling is very fast
America — What
would keep a group of automotive designers up all night? America's
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.
and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the
car at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
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.
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, California, and asked Ed if the studio's director,
Frank Saucedo, and his guys could continue the design study,"
agreed, and a two-week sketching frenzy commenced as GM's designers
began working after-hours with Leno's team on the project.
aesthetics 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
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.
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
The 650 horsepower (484kW) vehicle also develops
553Nm (400 lb.-ft.) of torque, and 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, California (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)
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