Jay Leno Likes It - 2014 SLP Panther Camaro Long-Term Road Test

2014 SLP Panther Camaro Long-Term Road Test

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2014 SLP Panther Camaro: Jay Leno Likes It

December 19, 2013

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

If you spend enough time hanging out at the top of Mulholland Highway (a.k.a The Snake), you're bound to come across talk show host, Jay Leno. Whether he's driving his McLaren F1, cruising in his 1937 Bugatti Type C or riding on his turbine-powered-250-mph motorcycle, Jay is always motoring in something interesting.

Recently, I took our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro on a Sunday cruise, and just as I arrived at the Mulholland Lookout, Jay pulled up. He was in a large-displacement, forced-induction-powered automobile, too.

The Tank Car Jay pulled up in is powered by an 800-horsepower twin-turbo AV-1790-5B engine that originally lived in an M-47 Patton Tank. Sure, he's got more power, but the wheelbase on that thing probably kills the cornering ability.

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

Each oil change calls for 17 gallons of oil and each of the Garrett turbochargers look like they would devour small children if the air filters weren't in the way. The Blastonlene-built Tank Car is long, loud, shiny and ostentatious, and everyone seemed to love it. The Panther went largely unnoticed until two late-model Camaro owners gave me the thumbs up on their way to meet Jay.

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

Another local gearhead (and /DRIVE host) Matt Farah was also out enjoying the cool Southern California weather in his newly restored DMC Delorean.

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

Matt and I spent a few minutes asking Jay about the car, pausing occasionally as he posed for photos with fans.

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

I took my own photo with Jay, thanked him for his time and hopped back in the SLP. Before I could pull away Jay leaned over at my driver-side window to ask about the Panther. He complimented the supercharged Camaro and suggested we connect our cars with a tow-rope and compete in a tug-of-war. There's a 200-horsepower gap between the two, but it would certainly be fun to watch. This modified Chevy has my seal of approval after my first weekend in it, and Jay Leno likes it, too.

Travis Langness, Associate Editor


  • evodad evodad Posts:

    in the company of the delorean and leno's tank car, the camaro seems so meh.

  • bryan__t bryan__t Posts:

    I saw Leno driving around in his Countach a few years ago. Even though the car has some of the stingiest side-windows imaginable, Leno's hair and chin were visible from miles away.

  • For those who have Gran Turismo 5 or Gran Turismo 6, you can virtually drive Jay's Tank Car.

  • marmotking marmotking Posts:

    Apparently the 800 hp figure is pre-turbocharging and EFI. According to Wikipedia: "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." No citations in the article, but a video on Gale Banks Engineering site shows Jay Leno giving the power as 1600hp. Also Mr. Banks gives some details on the EFI install. Also on the same page is a video of the car on a dyno. All very interesting, but I doubt the drive tires would stand up to full application of power with more resistance than the weight of the car, so a tug-of-war is probably contraindicated. Though the AV1790 is a Continental design, Banks' site says this particular example was built by Chrysler. So any pulling contest would boil down to Chevy vs. Mopar.

  • marmotking marmotking Posts:

    Incredible disappearing paragraph breaks...

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Awesome. Leno is at the top of my list of car-guys-I'd-like-to-talk-to.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Very cool to know about the Banks connection. My Father-in-law knows him and his shop is a few miles from where I live. He gave us a tour once. Very cool guy and very interesting projects. Wouldn't mind working there when I'm done with school.

  • Leno giving the SLP props is a big deal seeing he can have, and has, anything out there.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Great name-drop orgy, Scott Oldham-class.

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