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If there’s one thing most people know about former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, it’s that Jay Leno loves cars. In fact, he loves them so much he has a prime-time show on CNBC about all things cars, “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
Given Jay’s predilection for all things wheels, it’s no surprise he frequently attends the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the world’s most respected classic car show. But when we asked him about the cars he was most excited to see, it was the unknown that intrigued him most.
“The fun part is you don’t know what’s going to show up,” he says in the attached video. It’s the surprise of just popping onto the lawn and encountering the cars at first blush that Leno craves. “No matter what you think you know about cars, there’s always something here I’ve never seen or heard of,” he notes. “People bring these cars from all over the world. They come from Germany, Finland, and every other place. So that’s what’s kind of fun about it.”
One car that Jay Leno does know, and owns himself, is the Lamborghini Miura. At the time the car was built, which was 50 years ago, the Bertone-designed Miura was considered the most beautiful supercar. This year the Pebble Beach Concours will celebrat the Miura in its own special class.
Leno’s version of the car, which he jokes is now worth a “gazillion” dollars, has quite a backstory. “Dean Martin bought [Leno’s Miura] new, his kid blew it up, a friend who was a schoolteacher at the time bought it, thinking he could fix it,” he recalls.
Because of the prohibitive cost of fixing the car, the schoolteacher’s wife suggested that her husband “just give it to Leno, he likes cars.” So he took it, fixed it up, and now it’s one of his favorite cars (as depicted in a recent YouTube episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage”).
Leno’s advice to anyone looking to get into the classic car game is, like Socrates, know that you know nothing. “You don’t know what’s going to be valuable. If you go back 30 years, the Shelby Mustangs, I saw one for $600,” he says. “This is all fairly new — the idea that that all this stuff has just become crazy valuable,” he says, slightly incredulous. “I mean look at Porsche, 911s used to be what, $3,000?”