Daydream Rich: Jay Leno’s Garage
For our second installment of Daydream rich we bring you Jay Leno’s garage - the epitome of a car junky’s daydream. His garage’s contents are so impressive that he has four “babysitters” hired to take care of his collection and presumably to wipe the drool off after visitors leave. His collection is housed in three football field-sized warehouses and hold in the neighborhood of 80 cars and 80 motorcycles.
While Jay definitely has his share of luxury cars, many of his vehicles are appreciated for their uniqueness rather than their price tag. His extreme success on The Tonight Show, and wealth garnered from it, has not influenced him to purchase cars based only on status. Like a true gearhead, Jay personally enjoys all of his cars by customizing them and taking them out for drives regularly. Here are but a few of Jay’s awe inspiring rides.
Although this looks like a stock photo, this actually is Jay’s Roadmaster. He often shows his vehicles off at auto shows and allows them to be photographed in magazines. This was the very first car in Jay’s collection, and he bought it in 1972 for only $350. At the time it served as his transportation, housing, and was the car he drove his wife in on their very first date.
Iconic obviously because of its doors that raise directly up, the Gullwing also gained notoriety because of its racing success. Honoring this history, Jay has mechanically restored his Gullwing but aesthetically changed nothing.
Favored by Lawrence of Arabia as well as Jay, this bike is now so rare that when it comes up for auction they sell for around $250,000. The kicker - when Jay bought this bike almost 30 years ago he only paid $5,500.
1941 American LaFrance Fire Truck
Proving that the money hasn’t made Jay forget his childhood fantasies, he owns a fire truck - every little boy’s fantasy. The truck was actually given to him for free, but it was in absolutely terrible condition. After restoration, removal of the giant water tank, and installation of a hydraulic lift he now uses it to haul motorcycles. Don’t think he got rid of the best part, he kept the syren and still uses it to beat traffic.
Jay attributes this car as the spark that started his passion for cars. He said when he was 9 years old he was riding his bike and came across a man polishing his Jaguar 120. When Jay approached him, the man allowed jay to sit in the driver’s seat. Jay adopted this tradition in the hopes of inspiring future generations of car enthusiasts.
The Steamer, with its 2-cylinder, 20-horsepower engine, is definitely not about power. It’s also not the car you want for a quick getaway as it can take more than thirty minutes to get running. Jay’s love for it comes from the fact that it still runs after 100 years and it does so totally on steam.
At the time the Indian Four came out, 4-cylinder bikes were considered luxury items. They were much more expensive than single and twin-cylinder bikes because they offered a great deal more power and speed. This is why they were usually only ridden by the rich and police who needed to run down slower bikes.
An important claim to most collectors is the title of first. The ‘69 Muira S is the first car to coin the term “supercar” - so, of course, Jay had to have one. Of his many Lamborghinis, Jay says the curves of this one make it look the most feminine, like a “beautiful woman.”
The Ariel Atom is basically a superbike that happens to have four wheels and two seats. The unbelievable acceleration from the 300 horsepower engine is enough to put the fear of death in the bravest of souls. While Jay’s is street legal, the real fun to be had is on the racetrack where it can get to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds.
The Model 38 was the first car with an electric starter instead of a crank start. It also has electric headlights when just a year before cars still had gas lamps. Jay completely restored his and decided to give it a twist by giving it chocolate paint and interior instead of traditional black.
Blastolene Special (aka Tank Car)
Some cars gain a nickname just based off of appearance. Admittedly, the Blastolene Special appears as formidable as a tank, but the moniker “tank car” is because it actually has a tank engine! - an M47 Patton tank to be exact. When Jay first got this beast it was still nowhere near street legal, but he knew he couldn’t keep it caged up for long. After having it updated to meet legal standards and supercharged for even more power, he is now able to take it out and terrorize the locals.
The Legendary J2X is one of the rarest vintage competition roadsters to find today. Only 83 total were produced between 1951 and 1954. It became the most successful racer of the Allard collection and was raced by movie star, Steve McQueen.
Obviously not a car, the Phantom Bike is still a cool toy residing in Jay’s garage. Like a moped, it can be pedalled or driven, and can go up to 35 mph. In order to keep its light weight it was only given a half-gallon engine - fortunately, it gets 140 miles to the gallon. There is a slightly larger touring model with a 1 and a half gallon engine, so you could go feasibly go more than 200 miles without stopping for gas.
This concept car was originally a collaboration between Jay and GM to make and eco-friendly car that still had speed and looks. It was first unveiled at the 2006 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show, but did not have a working engine. Jay’s team later installed the environmentally-friendly bio-diesel engine.
The F1 topped the speed charts for nearly 15 years at 243 mph and wasn’t surpassed until the Bugatti Veyron was released in 2005. Besides its neck breaking speeds the F1 is unique in that it seats three with the driver in the middle like a cockpit. Oh, and if it wasn’t expensive enough to manufacture already, the engine bay is lined with gold because it works as the best heat reflector.