Fiesta stunt driving and Jay Leno’s garage
IT’S a couple of hours from Los Angeles into the Mojave Desert, where we plan to audition the Fiesta with the help of the Hollywood Stunt School instructors at Willow Springs Raceway.
But there’s an extra surprise in the lanky form of stunt legend Jim Wilkey — Dark Knight semi-trailer flipper and
Inception train plougher, among other famed gigs — who is also on the cards for the next Mad Max movie.
Figuring they might still be looking for Max’s next car, we hand the Fiesta keys to Wilkey for an assessment of whether it can follow an act such as the Ford HB GT Interceptor.
After punishing the Fiesta’s 15-inch tyres with handbrake turns and reverse spins, he declares that while the little car looks great, its arsenal of anti-skid, traction and safety controls means it just won’t make the cut. Don’t call us, we’ll call you, then.
He might have been more enthusiastic about many of the cars at our next stop, Jay Leno’s garage. When somebody owns more than 200 cars and bikes spread out over four huge garages, there is bound to be a fast one or two among them. And we’re not disappointed, with stars including a jetpowered coupe and bike, McLaren F1, Porsches and every other marque that goes fast. And slow. There is also a large number of vintage and veteran beauties, including a century-old electric Baker in which Leno takes me for a spin around the collection.
But he also rolls out a kissing cousin to our Fiesta twins — a mid-engined, nitrous oxide-injected Fiesta Shogun with steroid-pumped rear-wheel arches the only real hint of what is lurking under the cargo blind.
‘‘My Fiesta gets funny comments from kids at the lights,’’ Leno says.
‘‘They’ll call out, ‘Hey, mister, you’ve got big wheels at the back’. And I just say well, what do I know about cars — and then blow them away when it goes green.’’
Leno is generous with his time, and spends a couple of hours showing us around. But then yet another car is