We just heard Jay Leno say, “I’m the president of the more money the brains club”– and we’ve got sound-bites to prove it. With that said, we have to give him a light round of applause because we think endorsing a vehicle like the one we saw a preview of tonight is a nice gesture toward the future. Leno, eco-friendly, jet engines and GM weren’t words we ever imagined being in the same sentence at once– even though we knew Leno to be a big-time car addict. These shots are from the unveiling of his new brain child, the Eco Jet: 650 horsies, 583 lbs of torque, a Honeywell LTS-101 jet engine found in coast guard helicopters– all fueled by bio-diesel. In jest, Leno mentioned that you would only be able to drive this toy during peak harvest season in Kansas with bio-diesel availability where it currently stands; nevertheless, it is a concerted effort toward solid, environmentally sound design for GM– one of the foremost American car manufacturers. We had high expectations for what GM would unveil tonight (or else we wouldn’t have come to Vegas), but we were truly pleased with the array of crafty details that made this car stand out– from environmentally sustainable paint to a classic design nod at vintage F1 race cars. Jay presented the car alongside Ed Welburn, GM’s Chief of Design (interview with him forthcoming). Jay said, “We live in an era where liking cars and liking the environment don’t really seem to fit– especially high performance cars.” He not only wanted to disprove that, but wanted to inspire America’s youth to explore the possibilities and follow their dreams– this car for Leno started as a pipe dream, “and went from zero to here in seven months.” Although the Eco Jet was not designed to be a production car — and we may never see it for sale — after a few good conversations with folks at GM, we’re confident they understand innovations like these are crucial.

With all that said, we don’t want you to think we are gloating for GM– they have a long way to go. Seeing this unveiling and speaking to the GM executives and designers makes us wish that this transition towards eco-friendly performance vehicles could happen on a mass-market level sooner than late (before the ice caps melt). More candid shots after the jump…