Jay Leno has described his car collection & decisions as “what any car guy would do with a lot of money”.
His collection of over 100 cars and nearly 100 motorcycles runs the gamut from turn of the century marvels to the most modern supercars of 2014.
While I have yet to walk inside the doors of the Big Dog garage (I am still hopeful that this will happen one day) I am a regular watcher of Jay Leno’s Garage and have done a lot of research about his collection. I also have been fortunate enough to have several conversations with him at both Supercar Sunday in Woodland Hills and after his weekly shows at the Hermosa Beach Comedy & Magic Club. Based on what I do know, I have selected my choices for the top 10 vehicles in his collection.
10) Lamborghini Countach: An excellent example of the iconic 1980s Lamborghini flagship. Pretty bare (no rear spoiler) and with over 70,000 miles being logged over 5yrs as this was Jay’s daily driver, this is a true classic. Oh, and a gated shifter is always cool.
9) Porsche Carrera GT: This car is timeless. The sound that the Carrera GT makes is unlike anything else I have ever heard. It is like a symphony. Jay bought this new in 2005 and still drives it regularly around Los Angeles. Convertible, V10, and a proper 3-pedal transmission. The scream this engine makes is something to experience.
8) Ford Shogun: Now we get into some of the more quirky cars of the famous funnyman. Take a Ford Festiva, add a Taurus SHO 220hp motor in the back and pepper it up with a Nitrous Oxide System and you have a 300+ hp sleepercar. Oh, and it has a rollcage & rear wheel drive too!
7) 1915 Hispano Suiza: This is a 100 year old car that is a complete badass! An 18 litre V8 WWI airplane motor is the powerplant here with massive torque and surprisingly impressive performance for a car that was built the same year Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental phone call!
6) LCC Rocket: A Gordon Murray brainchild much like the McClaren F1, the Light Car Company Rocket lives up to the company name with it’s svelte 816lb curb weight. Needing just 143hp to make this a dangerously quick and fun toy, The Rocket has a 5 speed manual gearbox and is capable of a (what I can only assume) terrifying 150mph. With a 10,500rpm redline, this is a car that is all about fun.
5) Oldsmobile Toronado: A unique car of the time due to the use of front wheel drive, Jay chose to eliminate that which made this car unique, while also adding a 1076hp twin turbo V8. This car a monster. I have seen this around town as it ominously chugs down the road sounding like he is gently pushing on the throttle like there is an egg sitting on the pedal. This is a fully customized and one-of-a-kind beast of a car that can be used as a mild daily driver.
4) McLaren P1: Taking delivery of the first one on American soil, Jay is a huge McLaren fanatic and didn’t seem to hesitate to plop down over a mil for the hypercar that is currently on top of the automotive performance car heap. The car is the “next generation” of supercar (along with the 918 & LaFerrari) that utilizes a hybrid system to produce over 900hp and performance stats that are nothing short of incredible. He has been seen driving it all over the area, proving that he truly enjoys this outrageously awesome automobile.
3) Shelby Cobra replica: While it isn’t an original, Jay’s cobra may be even better. The reason I say that is it has all of the parts of the original including the hammered aluminum body, but is powered by the legendary 427 SOHC motor that we blogged about a while back. Also, since a true Cobra fan values the few examples still left in the world, the thought of driving them on the road & risking an accident can take away from the joy of driving. Even if you have a lot of money, the idea of losing another example is stressful. This is especially true for Leno who drives often on the notoriously horrible streets of Los Angeles. The Cobra is the original “big engine, small car” toy that aligns perfectly with Jay’s automobile tastes.
2) Y2K Motorcycle: This is the reason why it is “Top 10 Vehicles” and not “cars”. This is also the second example to have an aeronautics engine in it. While it doesn’t look much different than a typical Japanese crotch rocket, it is about 10 times the price. The reason is a Rolls Royce Jet-Turbine motor from a Bell Ranger Helicopter powers this motorcycle. At just 500lbs, the bike produces 320 hp @ 52000 rpm which leads to acceleration that Jay describes as “feeling like God’s hand is pushing you on the back”.
1)McLaren F1: Jay was on board with the McLaren F1 from the start. He is the original owner of this example and is his favorite car that he owns. I agree with him. This is, and always will be the best performance car ever made. Today you could not legally replicate this and that is why they are going for over $10,000,000 at auctions. Center driving position, lightweight (2,500lbs) powerful (627 naturally aspirated horsepower), rear wheel drive, no radio, no power brakes, no power steering, and a 6 speed manual gearbox help to make this the greatest automobile ever, and Jay Leno has one. To top that off, he has a black one, which is menacing to say the least.