Honeywell LT-101 turbine
(from General Motors
Press Release) 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
“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
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
EcoJet project partners
* GM Advanced Design Studio, North Hollywood, Calif. – conceptual
and build design, engineering, digital design and fabrication
* 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.