Blastolene Special

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The Blastolene Special, also known as the "Tank Car", is a unique, specially built car, designed built by American master craftsman Randy Grubb. The car is currently owned by American entertainer Jay Leno, who regularly drives it on public streets, and also has the car on display at various car shows and meets (such as cars and coffee events for example) in the greater Los Angeles area, and the Californian car culture enthusiast scene. Created from an American military tank engine and a custom-made aluminium body,[1] it originally produced 810 bhp (600 kW) at 2800 rpm and 1,560 pound-feet (2,120 N·m) of torque at 2400 rpm.[2] 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.[3]


In 2001 Blastolene Special - constructed by master craftsman Randy Grubb with a Continental AV1790-5B[2] — a huge engine that weighs as much as a Volkswagen Beetle — used in a 51-ton M47 Patton Tank in the 1950s, with a Greyhound bus transmission and sheet metal body. Jay Leno put it into the extensive collection of cars he owns —84 cars and 73 motorcycles as of April 2006.[4] 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 six-speed Allison automatic gearbox, new rear brakes, new electrical system, and chassis work.[3] The engine was later 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.

Interesting facts[edit]

  • 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.[5]
  • During one of the first freeway test drives an unsuitable oil line ruptured and dumped the entire 17 gallons of oil onto the road[5]
  • The car gets 5 miles per gallon (up from the original performance of 2–3 miles per gallon, after the transmission was replaced.)[2]
  • 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".[3]
  • Jay Leno had a tuning company, Gale Banks Engineering, add twin turbochargers to the engine, not for higher power but to get better fuel economy.

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 — 6.40 metres (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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blastolene Special official site URL accessed 17 October 2013
  2. ^ a b c Car and Driver article URL accessed 17 October 2013
  3. ^ a b c Popular Mechanic article Archived February 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. URL accessed 25 February 2007
  4. ^ theFabricator article on Jay Leno's cars
  5. ^ a b Channel4 Interview with Jay Leno on "The Tank Car" URL accessed 25 February 2007
  6. ^ Car and Driver Blastolene Special Specifications Archived January 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]