Tag Archives: Jay Leno

Pasadena Design Center Show

2013 Design Ctr  (129) Always an eclectic mix of cars, designer Peter Brock was there as well as Tom Peters,  part of the design team for the new Corvette.  Pete was very instrumental in the early days of the Corvette racing team and did a bit of work behind the scenes to make the designs possible.  He current has his own company in Las Vegas.  GM let out the Mako Shark Corvette for the event as well. (Many thanks !)

Here is the link:


Beyond Jay Leno, who helped with QA sessions, if you check a couple of the later shots in the set, Steve Perry, former front man for Journey was also in attendance.

Inspired Design – Art Center Weekend Part 2 (or How Jay Leno comes to the Party)

Jay Leno sure knows how to make an entrance (and exit).  At this past weekend’s Art Center Design event for Automotive Design, Jay turned heads has he parked his GM Ecojet concept car on campus.  The car has a 650-horsepower (400 lb.-ft. of torque) 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.

While I didn’t see it come in, I was next to the Ecojet departed the event after Jay emceed the life-time achievement award to Ron Hill, one of the creative guru at GM back in day.  After climbing over the significant door sill, he secured the three point seat harness (with a little help).  Next, Jay spooled the motor up for a minute with a large puff of smoke over the back, as the jet screamed to life. It doesn’t win any prizes for being noise-efficient, but it was certainly an attention-getter; probably what Jay (and GM) had in mind.  It was great fun to be there to see this one off vehicle.

Jay Leno getting his new McLaren

I was fortunate to see the new McLaren prototype at the last year at the Pasadena Design Center; now Jay is getting his.  Jay, can you adopt me?



Jay Leno: Anything McLaren builds, I like. I’ve got one of the original McLaren F1s, so I was anxious to place my order for an MP4-12C, the latest supercar out of Woking.

I was amazed how easy the process was. Buying a supercar usually involves dealing with ridiculous salesmen who tell you the car is sold out or otherwise unavailable. This is especially true of Italian supercars. The idea of just calling McLaren and ordering my car was refreshing. They told me the list price and I paid it.

But what I found most fascinating when dealing with McLaren representatives was their honesty.


For example, McLaren wants the car to be as light as possible. That’s the mantra behind McLaren.They’re like Colin Chapman that way. So I figured I’d spec the carbon fiber brakes.

“What are you going to use the car for?” the McLaren guy asked.

“Mostly road use,” I said. “I don’t think I’m going to do any track work with it.”

“Well, the steel brakes are lighter, and they’re cheaper,” he said.

“Oh, so you’re recommending the steel brakes?” I asked.

“Yeah. Unless you’re using it for track work and you’re really hard on the brakes, you don’t need the added expense,” he said.

So I said, “OK, I can save some money there, fine.”

As we went through the options, he suggested the carbon fiber kit.

“Oh, OK, the carbon fiber trim,” I said. “Does that save any weight?”

“No,” the McLaren guy replied. “It’s just decorative.”

“So I don’t need that?” No, came the reply, I don’t really need it. So I didn’t get it. And I got exactly what I wanted for a little less than I expected to pay. That’s what I find satisfying and endearing about buying this McLaren as opposed to some other cars I’ve bought over the years.

I feel a strong connection to the MP4-12C. I got a preview of the car during a visit to the UK in 2009, and I got a ride in it around the Top Gear track. I essentially placed my order then. About six weeks ago I officially went through the option list and configured the car McLaren is building for me.

I’ve gone for McLaren orange because to my eye, that’s the color. That’s the one that really makes the car pop. Unlike a lot of people, I like the styling of the MP4-12C. I like the understatedness of it. TheMcLaren F1 is a fantastic looking car, but if you don’t know cars that’s all it is — a fantastic looking car. If you know cars, you know exactly what it is. It doesn’t need to scream it from the rooftops. The MP4-12C is the kind of car that becomes beautiful once you see how well it gets the job done. To me it’s a bit like the bookish woman who takes her glasses off and lets her hair down and you realize she’s stunningly attractive.

Whenever I go to restaurants in Beverly Hills I always see people who want their Ferrari parked right in front of the valet. First of all, you don’t give a car like this to a valet. I don’t believe any McLaren owner would hand the key over to some kid. And I think that, if you’re buying a McLaren, you really don’t care if it’s parked in front of a restaurant. It’s whole different mindset.

Anyone who knows cars knows McLaren and what it stands for. I didn’t buy it to make a statement. I’m still with my first wife. I’m not driving around with a trophy wife who has a fake tan and fake boobs. I like to drive, I like the look and the feel of this car. That’s why I bought it.

Some reviewer said the MP4-12C could be mistaken for a Lotus. Anyone who makes that mistake is not a car person. Frankly, I don’t understand why people would be upset about the styling. To me, it’s styled that way because it works best that way. It’s not like someone just picked up a pen and drew something they thought was outrageous. In terms of airflow and dynamics and all that kind of stuff, that’s why it looks the way it does. Ten years from now it will still be a good-looking car. The McLaren F1 is 20 years old. Even now, people ask me if it’s the new this or the new that. And I always say no, it’s a McLaren F1, and it was built in 1994. People are always surprised. But when a car looks right, it looks right and it always looks right.

I remember when the F1 came out, before McLaren dominated Le Mans. People read the road tests and thought, “No car can be that good.” And it was a million dollars. That was crazy. So McLaren sold just 106 of them. If they built it today, I think they’d sell 300 or 400, maybe 500. Back then, there were so many supercars that didn’t quite make the grade. People weren’t happy with the Jaguar XJ220, for example, and there were a number of other supercars that left people thinking, “Yeah, yeah, it’s just another supercar.” People didn’t realize the level of engineering and passion that went into the F1. But McLaren has the name and reputation to sell a lot more cars now.

I think the MP4-12C will be much easier to own than the F1. That’s part of the idea behind the car. The F1 was a pet project, a bunch of guys doing it piecemeal on the side. There’s an old joke about the British that goes, “They can make one of anything. But when you say, ‘This is fantastic! I need two more!’ they say, ‘F–k.’”