Fortune Magazine reported that Jay Leno "has generated close to $1 billion in profits for NBC" since he took over for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show in 1992, making him TV’s "MVP-its Most Valuable Performer." Since his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1977, many would say that Leno was destined for success. What most do not know is that up until that time, Jay Leno worked 300 gigs a year doing stand up. His thinking was that other comedians take vacations. When they do, he would be there to fill in.

That work ethic obviously paid off, and it hasn’t changed since he became the top late night star. Leno’s typical routine is to arise at 7:30 am, work out with trainers for over an hour, meet with staff, tape a show at 5 pm, and then go out after the show. At home, he works on jokes until the early hours of the morning. Leno gets by on four or five hours of sleep per night.

With such a rigorous schedule, it is no wonder why the late night master needs a hobby to relax with. He has a passion for collecting cars and motorcycles.

"It is cheaper to have 35 cars and one woman than one car and 35 women," is the one-liner Leno uses when asked about his collection.

Leno’s collection occupies three football-field size warehouses, whose walls and ceilings are decorated with period car, oil company and race posters and billboards. He employs four people to care for his babies.

The multi-million-dollar collection includes several Stanley Steamers from the early 1900s, Lamborghinis, Bughattis, muscle cars from the 1950s and ’60s, a 427 Cobra, several Bentleys, a two-cylinder 1916 Auto Car, a 1932 Packard Twin Six 12-cylinder coupe; a 1913 Mercer; a 1909 Baker Electric, a chain-driven, two-cylinder Morgan, a 200-mph McLaren F1 Supercar, Jaguars, Deusenbergs, a 1955 Buick Roadmaster coupe and many more. His first vehicle? A 1934 Ford pickup.

The McLaren Supercar is valued at more than $1 million, and some Duesenbergs, which originally sold for $20,000-$25,000, are now worth about $1 million. The McLaren features a 627-horsepower engine, and it will do 60 in 3.4 seconds.

Jay Leno also owns another super fast vehicle: a Y2K Turbine Superbike. The Y2K is powered by a 320-horsepower engine that was designed for a 10,000-pound Bell helicopter. Its top speed is around 260 mph. Leno purchased the second one on the market, which listed at $150,000 at the time. They’re much higher now.

And for the kid in him, Leno has a fire truck in his collection that he was given for free. The 1941

American-LaFrance with a 754-cubic-inch engine was first owned by Warner Bros. When it was no longer needed, the studio donated it to the City of Burbank. It sat in the sun for 20 years at the end of the city’s airport runway before the City’s Fire Chief offered it to Leno for free. The tires were flat, the upholstery and gauges were cracked, the paint was faded and it had to be towed away. Leno and his team had it up and running after 10 days of hard work, so they drove it to the Burbank Fire Department.

So what’s ahead for the famous Chin? Probably more classic cars for the collection and the sale of some that he has now. Leno feels that he doesn’t really own the cars; he’s just getting them ready for the next caretaker. As for his career, considering that Johnny Carson put in 30 years on The Tonight Show, who could expect less from NBC’s billion dollar man?

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: