Checking in on Jay Leno’s website the other day I came across the Rocket from the Light Car Company, which is very, very cool. The car was produced, starting in 1992 by the partnership of race driver Chris Craft and Gordon Murray who designed another nifty car you may have heard of, the McLaren F1. The idea was to build an extreme road car with excellent handling. This was no kit car, it was carefully hand built and there were only about 48 made.
Jay has a pretty good video describing the car which is powered by a 1000cc 5 valve Yamaha Genesis engine and runs the stock Yamaha gearbox which then drives another gearbox, by the same designer who created the one used in the McLaren, giving the car 6 speeds in low range, 6 speeds in high range and 6 speeds in reverse. In fact, Jay mentions a friend of his who set a speed record in one of these going 149 mph backwards! It weighs just shy of 800 pounds due to carbon fiber and other lightweight materials, has 147 horsepower and tops out about 150 mph. It has two seats in tandem, the rear seat can be covered by a body panel when not used. Headlights are on a very neat articulated arm assembly that pops up when needed.
The video shows Leno on the street and out on the freeway and it sounds absolutely great, just what you would expect a liter bike to sound like, except of course, this is a car.
The car has been out of production for 15 years but Chris Craft’s son Luke, has cleaned up the design with plans to restart production using a 220 horsepower supercharged engine. Considering the power to weight ratio, you’re looking at a pretty impressive machine with a very high grin factor. No one mentions price, but Jay Leno will probably own one of the new ones, too, so figure it out. I could make a spot for one of these, … I wish.