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Jay Leno Takes Neil deGrasse Tyson for a Ride in His Jet Car

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Jay Leno and Neil deGrasse Tyson by the EcoJet

Not everyone loved Jay Leno when he was host of The Tonight Show on NBC, but we definitely aren’t getting tired of the car-related shenanigans he keeps getting involved in ever since he retired.

Jay Leno’s Garage is more than just a web series: it’s also a real, physical garage full of exotic European cars, American muscle cars, seemingly mundane sedans and everything in between. In fact, Leno reportedly owns nearly 300 vehicles, including more than 100 motorcycles—but perhaps none stand out quite as much as the EcoJet.

Leno collaborated with GM himself to get the EcoJet made for the SEMA show last year, and while it’s easy to get distracted by the outrageous Cadillac-based bodywork, the most interesting part of the car by far is under the hood, where resides a fully-functional Honeywell gas turbine—in other words, a jet engine.

It’s not just a jet engine, though, because the goal was the make the EcoJet, well, eco-friendly. To accomplish this, GM and Leno had the turbine run purely on biodiesel—but don’t worry, it still makes 650 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque.

One thing is for certain: Leno may look like a goofy grandpa but he sure knows how to have fun. What wasn’t for certain, however, was how fast the EcoJet could go; so to find out, Leno invited popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for a ride—and then things got even more interesting.

At 130 mph, the driver’s side window blew out of the car completely. Amazingly, neither Leno nor Tyson were fazed. “Lost a window,” Leno declared nonchalantly. “It’s aerodynamic enough,” added Tyson.

Ultimately, they were able to push the car to 165 mph, though Leno says it could go much faster. Looks like they’ll need a bigger runway next time…and sturdier windows.