From what I know, the original ecotec design was engineered by saab, while under GM ownership - after the original design GM took more control of the project. I think the original architecture was for a v6 as well.... This is a gen2 ecotec, they were put in pretty much every vehicle under the GM umbrella. Gen3 is coming out soon.
As for the leather seats... one side bolster on the driver seat has a golf ball sized chunk taken out of it. I'm looking to get new sport seats, possibly recovering, or retrofitting some other seats...
Just yesterday I started on the tear down of my front suspension... the control arms suck... the inner ball joint is impossible to get to.