Fi­esta stunt driv­ing and Jay Leno’s garage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story -

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

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