Meet the man who owns the ultimate dream garage - Jay Leno. His collection of vehicles will leave you green...
In a non-descript industrial estate on the fringes of Burbank in Los Angeles, California, is the garage to beat all garages – that of former TV host Jay Leno.
In fact, the word ‘garage’ simply doesn’t remotely do the place justice. ‘Empire’, however, gets close.
Begun by multi-millionaire petrolhead Leno in 1990 and repeatedly expanded since to take in a whole complex of neighbouring buildings, the ‘garage’ is a collection of cars, motorcycles and memorabilia like no other.
Today it comprises over 180 cars, 80 ( yes, EIGHTY) bikes, has three full time staff and is considered one of the finest collections in the US. As such, although only open to the public by special invitation, it’s now the subject of a popular TV show, has its own Facebook and Twitter feeds and is the envy of the car and bike world.
But it’s the vehicles that are the true stars. All maintained as runners rather than museum pieces by Leno’s staff (there’s a huge, full-time workshop onsite as well) the car collection, including innumerable Bugattis, American muscle cars and oddballs such as the Top Gear-featured, Spitfire-engined V12 Bentley, is impressive enough.
But for bike fans there’s just as much to be amazed by. How about not one, but TEN classic Vincents including two examples of the ultra-rare, faired Black Prince? Or pristine examples of the equally rare Ducati MHR900, 1974 Norton Commando JPS, Triumph T120R racer or the Guzzi V7 Sport? There are plenty of oddballs as well: Suzuki RE5 and Hercules rotaries; a 1988 Ducati 750 Paso (in US market white) and a Munch Mammut. The list goes on…
Nor are they all just exclusive, expensive classics. There’s a pair of virtually new Aprilia RSV4S, a K1600GTL, a S1000RR and a Hayabusa, all plugged into trickle chargers, ready to go. There’s a humble Aprilia Shiver 750 and a Vespa GTS scoot to zip around town on. Or, when Leno fancies something relatively classic and Italian, there’s an 851 Duke and a Mark III Le Mans.
But the highlight of them all, though, is his Brough Superior collection – and that’s right, I used the word ‘collection’. For Leno, who’s a huge fan of the Nottingham-built ‘Rolls-royce of motorcycles’, hasn’t just one of the ultraexclusive, £100,000-plus machines, nor has he two or three. He has 26 in what is the largest Brough collection in the world with a dedicated room of their own. The great man even arrives for our privileged viewing on one. Yes, Leno’s ‘daily driver’ is a Brough…
“Right now I’m in my motorcycle phase,” the 66-year-old tells MCN, he says as he shows us his collection. “I like Brough Superiors. The one I ride every day I’ve put Michelins on so you can lean it over a little bit. Of course, the front brakes don’t work and, well, the rear only works a little, but they’re fantastic.”
And he continues: “That’s how bikes have changed the most, not with speed because this Brough’s still 100-mph fast, and in the 1930s that must have been really fast – but in brakes, tyres, handling and so on. With a bit of luck I reckon I’ve another 10 years or so in me before a crash finishes me off!”
If you think you’ve got a dream garage you might as well give up now….
“With a bit of luck I reckon I’ve another 10 years or so in me before a crash finishes me off!”
Leno is a real two-wheeled geek and knows everything about his bikes It’s not a museum, all of the bikes are ready to be ridden Just a small selection of Leno’s 80plus bike collection Bikes as far as the eye can see. And beyond that are over 180 cars and
Dear santa, you’re cool, just pass on by big man