40 Cars Jay Leno Could Drop From His Collection

40 Cars Jay Leno Could Drop From His Collection

Jay Leno’s career made him one of the most recognizable late-night hosts and entertainers in the world. He channeled that success into his eclectic taste for cars, amassing one of the most impressive, valuable and diverse collections in the world. Quantity doesn’t always mean quality, though, and some of his choices are seriously over the top. Read on for an exercise in nit-picking as we look at 40 cars Jay Leno might consider moving on from. 

File:Jay Leno (211281690).jpgAlan Light via Wikicommons

40. 2009 Aston Martin DBS

This is an iconic sports car that has been featured in loads of films and practically defines good design. However, it’s comparatively plain compared to his array of supercars and one-of-a-kind vehicles. There’s nothing wrong with it – there’s just not a whole lot worth getting excited about.

File:2009 silver Aston Martin DBS front.JPGBroken Sphere via Wikicommons

38. 1941 American LaFrance Series 600 Pumper V-12 Firetruck

Speaking of a piece of history, this firetruck is a total flashback. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of vehicle design that evolved into the powerful, iconic firefighting vehicles we know today. Our only criticism is that it doesn’t need to occupy quite the place of pride that it does – Leno still brings this out for parade duty in Los Angeles, and we think this position could be swapped out more regularly.

Very rare 1945 American LaFrance Type 600 V12 US NavyPhoto via Milweb.net

37. 1904 Advance Steam Traction Engine

There is the kind of car you drive, and then there’s the kind you simply admire as an art piece and a testament to its moment in history. Leno’s collection is a mishmash of the two, and it can become hectic and bloated. Leno is a fan of early steam engine vehicles, and it’s not hard to see why – it’s a marvel of engineering and a turning point in car history. Nevertheless, this car would belong more in a gallery than a garage.

Fowler 18 nhp steam ploughing engine, 1889 - MAAS CollectionPhoto via Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

34. 289 AC Cobra

Another Shelby design, this sports car tucks a fun engine under a highly impractical shell. It’s an uncomfortable 2-seater with no hard-top option. It’s unique, but not necessarily in a good way. 

File:Ac cobra 289 roadster 1964 -aa.jpgEric Manesse via Wikicommons


33. Ford F-150 Lightning

Leno is a real Ford fan and his collection demonstrates that. During the 90s, Ford needed a high-performance truck to compete with GM’s 454 SS, and this was the result. It’s super simple and supercharged, but time and truck design have moved on from the Lightning to other, more enjoyable rides.

File:1993FordLightning.jpgRurik via Wikicommons

30. 2006 EcoJet

This turbine-powered is actually one of Leno’s own creation, developed in collaboration with GM. Leno envisioned a car that could provide exceptional speed while using biofuel, and sure enough, this prototype ended up setting quite a few land speed records. However, it has no practical application as a driving vehicle, and is better suited to the Smithsonian than to the streets.

The EcoJet, A Jet Engine-Powered Concept Car Designed To Run On Biodiesel FuelPhoto via Siamagazine.com

29. Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita

The Trevita was touted as the world’s fastest car on its release, and in a time trial that’s certainly true. Unfortunately, that’s about all it was ever suited for, since it’s not at all street legal and absolutely hasn’t been designed or engineered for practical drivability. It’s an expensive, outdated failure of a supercar, and it’s just not worth the space or the energy to maintain.

File:Koenigsegg CCXR SE, CCXR Trevita, and Enzo Ferrari (20031267116).jpgAxion23 via Wikicommons

28. 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400

Lamborghini was notoriously going through an identity crisis in the design of this car, and many of the features mimic Porsche. It didn’t bring much to the table, it pushed no envelopes, and it changed no faces. Leno has loads of Lambos and this awkward one doesn’t need to be in the mix.

File:Wolfsburg Jun 2012 121 (Autostadt - 1967 Lamborghini Miura).JPGMichael Barera via Wikicommons

27. 1939 Lagonda V12

As far as classic cars go, this one is overall kind of… medium. Produced dead center of the Lagonda V12 production run (1938-1940), pleasant but unremarkable, stylish but shallow. It’s pretty, but even as a piece of automotive history there are better examples of this design era in his collection already.

File:1939 Lagonda V12 de Ville no. 16032 at Thiesen.jpgMr. Choppers via Wikicommons

24. Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren

This was a highly recognizable fixture on the LA roads for years, and has been one of Leno’s most coveted models. It was fast and fun, but 10 years later the Mercedes design is showing its age. No car should look this much like the Batmobile and still be basically boring.

File:Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster AMI.JPGThomas Doerfer via Wikicommons


22. 1963 Chrysler Turbine

For some reason, Leno has a major passion for turbine cars. This particular piece looks like a Thunderbird with a rocketship backpack. It’s likely to never get used and Leno’s collection is already massive.

File:1963 Chrysler Turbine (6251510473).jpgGreg Gjerdingen via Wikicommons

18. 1986 Lamgorghini Countach

The 80’s were when Leno really exploded onto the professional comedy scene so it’s no doubt he is nostalgic for the era. This Lambo is an icon of its time and symbolized success, flash, wealth and style. It isn’t especially noteworthy in terms of performance, though, and with the benefit of hindsight there are better cars from that decade that he could be focusing on. 

File:1986 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV, Bianco Polo Park white, front right.jpgMr. Choppers via Wikicommons

17. 1906 Stanley Steamer Vanderbilt Cup Racer

This one belongs in the category of art pieces, not driving cars. It is a precious and eye-catching piece of history, to be sure. We admire Leno’s dedication to novelty and the classics, but a car that’s hardly drivable isn’t much of a car at all. 


16. 2011 Audi R8 Spyder

Audi returned to the supercar arena with this elegant little speedster. It’s got the swooping lines and characteristic style of its generation. However, under the hood, it’s got little to set it apart from the middle of the pack, and since Audi is pushing to get a new R8 on the market soon, Leno might want to make some room.

File:Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro.JPGThomas Doerfer via Wikicommons

14. 1965 Buick Riviera

This handsome devil knows how to catch the discerning eye. It was a real captivator of its time, but since the 60s, more and better cars have been based on the same platform to greater success. It’s still undeniably stylish, but there are better contenders in Leno’s collection for an iconic ride. 

File:1965 Buick Riviera (29740926476).jpgGreg Gjerdingen via Wikicommons

13. 1970 Monteverdi High Speed 375S

This obscure sports car was the design result of a fight with Enzo Ferrari, and it’s a rare find from abroad. Unfortunately, its obscurity has made it generally overelooked by the buying public. It doesn’t have the name appeal that Leno might have hoped for, and it’s likely just going to depreciate. 

File:Monteverdi-High Speed-375-S-Frua.jpgMatthias Elbe via Wikicommons


12. Shelby GT500 Powered 1968 Ford Bronco

This is a confusing combination. The Bronco is a practical, hard-driving SUV; the GT500 is a pure track engine that, in the Bronco, feels like a carnival ride (and not in a good way). It’s a fun idea but, in execution, it fails to make use of the best features of either of its parts. 

File:Ford Bronco 1966 Convertible RSide Lake Mirror Cassic 16Oct2010 (14874803014).jpgValder137 via Wikicommons

11. Johnny Carson’s 1939 Chrysler Royal

This beautiful and stylish memento has sentimental value to Leno – it was a gift from mentor and friend Johnny Carson. As a piece of art and history, it’s irreplaceable. However, as a pure vehicle, there’s little to write home about. This should probably be retired from the road.

File:1939 Chrysler Royal (5854762389).jpgDave 7 via Wikicommons

10. 1993 Dodge Viper

Another piece of Leno’s personal history, this was one of the first expensive cars that Leno bought after he hit the talk show host circuit and achieved his peak popularity. It was pure racer, minimalist and stylish, but with absolutely no practical features. It doesn’t even lock. It’s too uncomfortable to be a regular road car and too impractical to stay in a well-curated collection.

File:SC06 1993 Dodge Viper.jpgBrett Weinstein via Wikicommons

9. 2006 Pratt & Miller Corvette

This is a completely refabricated Corvette made by Pratt & Miller, who specialize in race car technology. It is amazingly fast and astonishingly light, made mostly out of carbon fiber and retaining that supercharged C6 power. There’s nothing wrong with this car except that, on balance, it’s just not especially exciting or different or fun, at least compared to some of Leno’s other treasures. 

File:2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.jpgSfoskett via Wikicommons

8. 1949 Citroen Traction Avant

Definitely this piece deserves to be considered art. It’s almost impossible to repair or find parts for, and despite its luxurious design, it’s almost too rare to risk on the road. Though it’s a distinct and nostalgic silhouette, if you have to keep it under glass it’s hardly worth the effort.

File:Citroen - Flickr - mick - Lumix.jpgMick via Wikicommons

7. 1932 Bugatti Type 49

Speaking of distinct silhouettes, this classic roadster is from a completely different era altogether. The legendary Bugatti brand can always be relied on for a fun-driving, unique and exciting car. However, for all its nostalgia value, this particular model is hard to maintain and doesn’t have as much going for it on the road as many of Leno’s other models. 

File:Bugatti Esders Roadster Royale.jpgPalauenc5 via Wikicommons


6. 1955 Packard Caribbean

This is one of the last independent American-made convertibles, before the market was overwhelmed by the Big 3 automakers. It’s got innovative features for its period, including an automated suspension and a powerful engine. It’s dated now but it is definitely a piece of history.

File:1955 Packard Caribbean convert VA f.jpgCZMarlin via Wikicommons

5. 1972 Citroen SM

This vehicle practically defined the luxury car before it ever took hold of the American market. It’s one of the earliest winners of the Motor Trend Car of the Year title, and its distinct look and smooth ride make it a true legend. It lives in the corner of Jay’s garage and seems to rarely see the road at all any more.

File:1972 Citroën SM Frua.jpgEl Guy via Wikicommons

4. 1930 Duesenberg LeBaron Barrelside

We can’t imagine taking this beauty out onto the road, despite its style and speed. It boasts one of the most advanced engines of its day, the Model J, but nowadays replacement parts are so hard to find that only the most dedicated collectors seem to have any. It’s unique and beautiful, but unlikely to see on the road any time soon. 

File:1930 Duesenberg J Hibbard & Darrin Victoria convertible 3828668475.jpgCraig Howell via Wikicommons

3. 1922 Wills Sainte Claire

Those big bright wheels and that convertible top instantly recall the first few generations of motor cars. However, far from a crank engine, this two-door coupe is a civilized vehicle with a luxurious interior. That being said, it doesn’t have the kind of speed that keeps it very drivable on today’s highways.

File:1922 Wills Sainte Claire V-8 (2370483020).jpgBill McChesney via Wikicommons

2. 2011 Pagani Huayra

The exotic of all exotics, this Pagani is a beloved supercar with a ridiculous 700 HP and over 800 lb-ft of torque. With its gullwing doors and extended side mirrors, it looks almost alien on the road, and we mean that in the most complimentary possible way. Leno rarely talks about this elite speed demon, but maybe there’s no need for words here. 

File:Pagani Huayra (5488845286).jpgPagani Hauyra via Wikicommons

1. 1996 Dodge Viper GTS

This is a track-ready sports car that, even at 25 years old, still makes the most of its design and power. It is modern, with chrome and racing stripe detailing that scream “speed”. Revolutionary at its time, the 96 Viper isn’t encumbered by any features or comforts whatsoever – it wants one thing only, and that’s to chew up the road and spit it back out. 

File:Dodge Viper GTS (32548098991).jpgFalcon Photography via Wikicommons