Jay Leno’s garage is a duo of purposefully nondescript warehouse buildings alongside Burbank Airport. The drab buildings, devoid of signs or markings, belie the colorful and magnificent automotive treasures within, and the only hint you’re in the right spot is a vintage traffic light hung outside the building on the left. Call the garage to have the gate opened and Leno himself answers the phone, buzzes you in and even ambles out to show you where to park. How’s that for a greeting?
“C’mon in,” he beckons, holding the door to his workshop open. Inside the familiar and welcoming garage smells envelop you. Every tool and piece of machinery is in here, from CNC mills to laser cutters to two paint booths and everything in between. A dozen project cars are in various corners of the expansive space, all in various forms of completion, though an early Brough Superior, disassembled in the middle, is getting the most attention from a quartet of mechanics.
Incredulity at the sheer magnitude of Leno’s operation isn’t easy to hide, though Leno’s likely used to see many a gob-smacked face pass through his doors. He takes note, chuckles, and steers you to the adjacent building and opening the garage door. This is where his collection is housed and entering is like walking into the Promised Land.
All his greatest hits are here. Immediately visible are his McLaren F1 and his two Lamborghini Miuras. “This just came in,” he says, dragging a finger down the side of a 2016 Acura NSX. Around the corner, his M47 Patton tank-engine car, across from his American LaFrance fire truck. Down the hall, half a dozen Duesenbergs. The Ford Festiva Shogun sits in another corner, near a room reserved exclusively for his Bugattis. His GT350R glimmers between a GT500 and an ’05 GT. Will he get the new Ford GT? “I think so. I didn’t get a rejection letter yet,” he quips.
While touring his garage, Leno’s quick to tell you a story about anything you point to. Aim at the GMC Syclone and learn that this was purchased after buying a Christmas tree with the missus and learning their home was out of the delivery zone. Leno spied the Syclone across the street, marched over, paid cash and chucked the tree in.
He’s also ready to razz you a smidgen. Motion to his Dodge Challenger Hellcat and mention that a recent tester version was a disappointment and a coy smile creeps across his face. “Well, maybe you just don’t know how to drive it properly.” And he's not wrong.
It’s possible to spend an hour inside Leno’s garage and only get through only one room. And there are ten gargantuan rooms in total, with two more under construction to accommodate overflow. With so many incredible options, it was hard to winnow down to just a few that we wanted to explore more, but we landed on asking Leno to walk us through his favorite examples of American muscle and the backstory for each. Above, the resulting video, shot by 0484CREATIVE, edited by Erica Lourd and produced by Cait Knoll. Enjoy.
Jay Leno’s Garage returns to CNBC on November 9th and 10pm EST.