MARCH 6, 2009: (APRIL 2009)-IS JAY LENO A REAL CAR GUY?

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Welcome to the first editorial of the first edition of mystarcollectorcar.com.

We decided to take on a sacred cow by asking this question-is Jay Leno a real car guy?

We are a magazine dedicated to the concept of the average car guy. Why would we give a multi-billionaire talk show host a chance to get past the ropes and into this average car guy nightclub?

Isn’t he just like every other multi-billionaire?

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You know the type-collects Ferraris or Gull Wing Mercedes like we used to collect Hot Wheel toy cars. Giant ego guys driven by the acquisition gene so Hemi-Cuda means as much to them as cabbage futures or Manhattan real estate.

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These guys don’t even show up at the auction-some flunky with a cell phone handles that role. The car is just a number on a page to that kind of guy. It just happens to have a huge upside-appreciation wise.

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Usually the only Detroit iron guys like that want is the stuff they drive up to insane prices like the Shelby Cobras, the COPO Camaros, rare Corvettes-it’s almost too boring to talk about.

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So why is Jay Leno not one of those guys?

First, he’s not a multi-billionaire (if you don’t count his car crop).

Second, he still has that 1955 Buick from his poverty days. Not many guys have the kind of crystal ball that tells them‚”Jay, hang on to this old brute because some day you’re going to replace Johnny Carson and end up being paid more than the GDP of 15 African countries and then you can fix the old girl up“.

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Jay Leno would still have that old Buick even if he’d dropped out of comedy and become a lifer at Safeway. Maybe it wouldn’t have that killer drive train or Corvette-like handling but he’d still have it.

The old car would be parked outside a mobile home and rustier than a freshly divorced 52-year-old insurance broker’s pickup lines but Jay would still own that ’55 Buick.

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That’s a real car guy.

Admit it, who wouldn’t do those incredible resto-modifications to the ‘55 Buick or that 1966 Toronado if you could? We get to live through Leno because when he makes a giant state of the art rear-wheel drive touring car out of a ‘66 Toronado he’s actually striking a blow for average guys all over the globe.

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Be honest. Wouldn’t you do the same thing?

One more thing about Leno-he drives the wheels off his cars. Whether it’s 50 feet long and tank powered he drives the hell out of them. There’s a great video showing Leno pounding on his ’66 Dodge Hemi Coronet-the one where there’s pure joy on his face.

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And not the show biz “between the drugs and the alcohol I’m so fried all I can do is hold a loopy grin look”. This is a goofy-looking guy who gets to thrash a 60’s car icon that he could only dream about in his former life.

The other thing is that if that Hemi or Stanley Steamer breaks down there’s a pretty good chance Leno can jump out and fix it-or at least get it to limp home.

He’s a lot like you.

The biggest argument in Jay’s favor is that “he never, under any circumstances gets rid of a car”. He might lend his name to a charity deal but ask him to sell part of his family and you’ll probably get some working knowledge on Jay Leno security-the kind that puts head-sized dents in garage doors.

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Leno has what my late brother Bruce called ‘the sickness‘. The sickness is where a guy can’t go by an old car without being drawn in.

It’s like a cosmic black hole.

The pull is too strong for guys like Leno so eventually they end up one “divorce car“away from marital oblivion. Sure they can hide one, two, maybe three or more but once those old cars take over you’re going to need marital counseling, legal affidavits and 2 sections of land that the bride doesn’t know about.

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So the only time you’re going to see Leno cars for sale is at an estate auction or divorce sale. These aren’t mere commodities to a guy like that-they are his reason for living.

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He has the sickness.He’s one of us.

Jay Leno, the real car guy.

Jerry Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com

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