Like most celebrities, Jay Leno has learned to smile politely and pen a quick autograph, but if you want to really get his attention, ask him about his car collection.
The lantern-jawed comedian’s vast assemblage fills two hangars at the Burbank Airport and the new home he’s building, in Orange County, has a garage as large as some corporate office buildings. So, while the 59-year-old Leno may be giving up his seat on the set of the Tonight Show with this evening’s special farewell, he’ll likely only spend more time tinkering on a collection that includes everything from Duesenbergs to Lamborghinis to a jet-powered motorcycle and a tank-engined 30-foot hot rod.
A regular – and repeat winner – at tony events like the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the NBC host has gotten an offer he can’t refuse. Leno will receive the “La Bella Macchina’ award at the 24thAnnual Italian Celebration of Style. It’s part of the Concorso Italiano, which helps kick off the “Pebble Beach weekend,” which draws some of the world’s top cars and collectors.
“Jay is the international face of the ultimate car guy and has been an enthusiastic ambassador for the hobby for more than 30 years,” says Concorso owner, Tom McDowell. “Jay’s eclectic taste knows no boundaries, other than making sure it has four wheels and a great history. He’s a hands-on, passionate guy who’s not afraid to get a little dirt under his fingernails and he has everything we look for in an honoree. He’s the car guy’s car guy.” (more…)