The former host of “The Tonight Show” is said to have a collection of more than 180 cars and 160 motorcycles, ranging from steam cars, to firetrucks, to high-end sports cars.
DuPont Registry, the worldwide luxury marketplace for exotic cars, luxury cars, supercars, and sports cars, values Leno’s collection at $52 million. His collection isn’t just for looks — Leno makes sure the cars are always ready to cruise.
New vs. vintage
Growing up in Massachusetts, Leno tinkered with cars from a young age. He bought his first car in 1964 when he was 14, paying $350 for a 30-year-old Ford truck that didn’t run. That’s when he learned to fix cars. Later, he got his driver’s license.
“You hear ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to,’ thank God!’’ Leno said with a laugh.
He says while older cars are pretty simple and logical, they require a lot of maintenance. He jokes that when you have an older vehicle, you spend half the time on the road and the rest of the time fixing your ride.
In comparison with contemporary cars, “It’s all electronic.” Leno said when something breaks in a modern car, it gets replaced, not repaired.
The comedian, who still performs standup across the country, has been hosting his current show “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC since 2015.
The show and companion website, lenosgarage.com, offers car enthusiasts an inside look at the auto industry, including videos of Leno’s cars, trips to the racetrack, plus car care & detailing supplies developed at the garage. There Jay’s team shares their knowledge on everything automotive along with care & detailing tips plus product reviews
Leno predicts alternative vehicles, especially electric cars, are the future. According to Forbes, 1 million electric vehicles were sold in the United States in 2018.
“A kid born today will probably ride in a gas car as often as people now ride in a car with a stick shift,” Leno said.
The comedian said he sees lots of electric cars on the road, especially in California. He said these alternative vehicles will “last forever.”
Today’s vehicles are built to last.
“Cars are better built now,” said Leno, who’s impressed by all the technology being used. “Precision is an art form that’s at almost unbelievable levels.”
Innovations in design keep getting better and even the little things are improving. For example, these days, most cars don’t come with a spare tire anymore because most tires are so well made, they won’t need to be replaced for a long time.
“One of the myths about cars is that they’re worn out at 50,000 to 60,000 miles,” he said. “I have a ‘68 Mercedes that has 326,000 miles and it runs fine.”
Leno says people nowadays get rid of cars because they don’t fit their lifestyle, not because the vehicles don’t run anymore.
Leno is 69, but he and his passion for cars aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Fans often see him driving his classic and exotic cars around Los Angeles. Honk and he’ll wave.