Jay Leno is not only one of the most successful talk show hosts in the history of network television; he is also an avid car collector. He maintains a garage in Southern California housing over 200 fine collector cars and motorcycles. Leno has a passion for automobiles and does not simply house them as museum pieces; you can catch him tooling around the So Cal area in a different car, every day of the week.
Leno’s “Big Dog” garage spans approximately 17,000 square feet, which is quite large for a personal garage. It features its own machine shop which is equipped to fabricate parts for all of Leno’s rare automobiles. Jay employs a tight three-man team, featuring an expert mechanic, an engineer who makes most of the parts in the machine shop, and a skilled body man to keep his cars in tip-top shape. There is also a gourmet kitchen at the garage where Leno can be found honing his culinary skills in his off time from the Tonight Show.
Big Dog houses a variety of certified classics from Jaguar, Fiat, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Buick, Saab, Benz and many other notable brands, and the collection spans 100 years of automotive history. It includes early steam cars including 1906 and 1909 Stanley Steamers, and vintage offerings such as a 1925 Ford Model T, and a 1913 Packard Model 38. It also features a good selection of rare 1920s and ‘30s Bugattis and Duesenbergs, and a wide range of Bentleys ranging from a 1924 Twin Turbo to a 2010 Continental Supersports.
Jay also has a penchant for speed as evidenced by his sizable collection of sports cars from Aston Martin, Dodge, Delorean, Lotus, Porsche, Shelby, Lamborghini, Mazda, Monteverdi, and other notable brands. Fans of American muscle cars will also find something to gawk at the Big Dog garage; it houses an original 1970 Hemi Cuda, multiple 1970 Dodge Challengers, and a 1966 Dodge Hemi Coronet 500. You can even find a nice selection of electric and hybrid cars at the garage, including historic 1913 and 1916 Owen Magnetics.
You can’t forget the two-wheelers, as Leno houses a massive motorcycle collection dating back to the early 1900s, featuring Harleys, Hondas, BMWs, Ducatis, Suzukis and more. Jay’s collection even extends to the realm of aviation, as he owns several vintage World War II-era bombers.
Although he now owns one of the finest assemblages of automobiles collected under one roof, Leno will always stay true to his roots. His most prized car of all is his 1955 Buick; it was the first car he ever bought, and the car he drove to Los Angeles to pursue his career as a budding comedian. In his early days as a starving artist, he used to sleep in the car in between comedy gigs, at small Los Angeles clubs. Jay recently gave his old stand-by the royal treatment, having his team outfit it with a big-block engine, a high-powered motor, and Corvette suspension.