Jay Leno Prefers The Stories Even More Than The Cars

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Jay Leno, Star of ‘The Tonight Show’ is well-known for its interest in automobiles, but just like the rest of us enjoys the back story is much as the cars themselves.

“They are not all valuable cars,” he insists. “I’m a huge Corvair enthusiast. I love Corvairs. It’s the most European car ever made, and you can buy them for $1,500. So it’s not like it’s all Lamborghinis and Ferraris. I don’t even own a Ferrari. It’s not that. It’s just interesting.”

One such story from Leno is from the 93-year-old man, who asked him to look at his 1967 Chrysler Imperial.

“So I go to his house, it’s a long driveway. It’s like William Holden, like the movie (‘Sunset Boulevard’). And I pull in. And he’s 93, and he’s outside. And he’s got on a smoking jacket and an ascot. And he’s got with him a guy about 70 with white hair, who is his mechanic, who’s serviced his car at his house every month since 1967.

“And it turns out he was a movie producer. And he made African-American films for African-American audiences. And he had, like, the black James Bond, the black Gene Autry. And he was married to a starlet, who was a starlet back in the ’40s. And, of course, I went into the house. And she won’t come out because she’s a starlet. So she’s in the bedroom. I’m talking to her through the wall. I mean, it’s hilarious.

“So, then, I go, ‘Well, show me your ’67 Chrysler Imperial.’ So he opens the garage door, and it’s a brand new ’67 Chrysler Imperial. And he said, ‘Jay, I was so afraid if I had an accident with this car, I wouldn’t be able to get parts.’ And he opens the other two garage doors, and he had bought every part —new bumpers, new fenders, new windshield, in case he ever had an accident, he had all of these extra parts. But he never had an accident.

“Well, now I HAVE to buy the car. I mean, it’s a great story, old-time movie producer, ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ So I bought the car. So that’s another case where you buy the story more than you buy the car.”

Another great tale comes in the form of a 1906 Stanley Steamer.
“I was driving a 1906 Stanley Steamer on the 405, and it’s on fire. And I was going 76, and a cop (pulls me over) … He was OK. He let me go. But the Stanley Steamer is hilarious, because sometimes it catches fire. And it says in the manual, ‘Increase speed until flames blow out.'” So if you go a little faster, it finally blew the flame out, and it was OK. So I mean, there’s a lot more to driving older cars than there is modern cars.”

All this means that it’s not just about the monetary value of a car or its rarity. It’s the back story and the more interesting, the better.

Original source

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