The Blastolene Special, also known as the "Tank Car", is a unique, specially built car, designed and built by Randy Grubb and currently owned by the entertainer Jay Leno. Created from a military tank engine and a custom-made aluminium body, it produces 810 bhp (600 kW) (@2800 rpm) and 1,560 pound force-feet (2,120 N·m) (@2400 rpm) of torque. The car weighs 9,500 pounds (4,300 kg) which is 1/11th the weight of the original tank from which the engine was used.
In 2001 a glass artist named Randy Grubb made the Blastolene Special with a Continental AV1790-5B(A huge engine that weighs the same as a Volkswagen Beetle) used in a 51-ton M47 Patton Tank back in the 1950s, a Greyhound bus transmission and metal for the body. The glass blower figured he made about US$125,000 selling it to Jay Leno to put into the extensive collection of cars he owns (84 cars and 73 motorcycles as of April 11, 2006). The car was built at Grubb's shop in Grants Pass, Oregon.
After purchasing the car, Jay Leno made numerous enhancements to the roadworthiness of the vehicle including new gearbox (six speed Allison automatic), new rear brakes, new electrical system, and chassis work. Recently, the engine has been upgraded with fuel injection and twin turbochargers from Gale Banks and his company, Gale Banks Engineering, estimated to produce 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) and 3,000 lbf·ft (4,100 N·m) of torque.
- Introduced as "The Jay Leno Tank Car" on Gran Turismo 4, it ended up in the game "by accident" when the game development team visited Jay's garage for some engine noises. They noticed the car and were so amazed they put it in the game.
- During one of the first freeway test drives an unsuitable oil line blew and dumped the entire 17 gallons of oil onto the road
- The car gets 5 miles per gallon (up from the original performance of 2–3 miles per gallon, after the transmission was replaced.)
- The engine red-lines at 2,900 rpm.
- Jay Leno brought the car on his show when interviewing Arnold Schwarzenegger and introduced it as "The Terminator car".
- Jay Leno had a tuning company, Gale Banks Engineering, add twin turbochargers to the engine, not for higher power but to get more miles per gallon.
Blastolene has since made a similar car styled after a 1950s era Indy Car called the Blastolene Indy Special.
- Weight - 4,300 kg (9500 lb)
- Length - 640 centimetres (252 in)
- Transmission - 6-speed Allison automatic
- Quarter Mile - 14.7 seconds @ 93 mph (150 km/h)
- Top Speed – 140 mph+
- 810 horsepower (600 kW) and 1,590 pound force-feet (2,160 N·m) of torque
- Cost - US$250,000 (estimate)
- Blastolene Special official site URL accessed 17 October 2013
- Car and Driver article URL accessed 17 October 2013
- Popular Mechanic article URL accessed 25 February 2007
- theFabricator article on Jay Leno's cars
- Channel4 Interview with Jay Leno on "The Tank Car" URL accessed 25 February 2007
- Car and Driver Blastolene Special Specifications