lcc rocket
YouTube: Jay Leno's Garage

The Lightweight and Uniquely Designed LCC Rocket Was Decades Ahead of Its Time

Founded by Formula One race car designer Gordon Murray and racing driver Chris Craft, the Light Car Company was a British automobile manufacturer responsible for the extremely unique LCC Rocket. Weighing only 850 pounds and boasting a top speed of 150 MPH, the Light Car Company Rocket pretty much lived up to its name. It could damn near fly. I mean, technically, this thing was a sports car, but it was nothing like what Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini were putting out. Think less exotic supercar and more something you'd see in an old Le Mans race.

As the sole car manufactured by the Light Car Company (only 55 were actually produced), the LCC Rocket is the first production car ever powered by a bike engine. In the below clip from a 1992 Top Gear episode, we get to watch a Philips screwdriver unlatch the trunk panel on an LCC Rocket to reveal a 1000cc Yamaha motorcycle engine.

Note the hood opening to display the Rocket's intricate frame and suspension geometry. Its dashboard was pulled from the same Yamaha motorcycle that provided the 5-valve engine. With a transmission available in a 5- or 6-speed sequential gearbox, the LCC Rocket had a 12,000 RPM redline and low-slung seating position, which created the driving experience similar to an F1 car.

Murray, who is best known for designing the iconic McLaren F1 road car, supplied the design for the Rocket and gave it that iconic Grand Prix racer look.

Back in 1992, the idea of a car with 770 lb-ft of torque and 127 horsepower presented odd numbers, but with a 0-60 time of sub-4 seconds and a 30 mpg fuel economy, the lightweight Rocket wouldn't be entirely out of place on the road today.

As comedian and automotive aficionado Jay Leno once said about his Rocket, "I took Tom Cruise for a ride, and he loved it!"

Can you imagine how fun this thing would be to take on a test drive? Well, it looks like it'd be fun anyway. I guess we'll just have to take Jay Leno and Tom Cruise's word for it.

This post was originally published on February 4, 2019.

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