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How Did Jay Leno Become Obsessed With Cars?

It seems like even the most responsible celebrities who don’t flaunt their money all have that one thing they like to splurge on. For comedian Jay Leno, that one thing is cars. Ranging from the classics to the just-plain-cool, Leno has been adding to his car collection since he could feasibly do so without going broke. Now with close to 200 cars, Leno is easily considered a car expert by anyone’s standards. How did he get to be so into car collecting?

Jay Leno wasn’t always in the world of expensive cars

When Leno moved out to Los Angeles after college, he was thrown in the back of a police car twice for vagrancy. The now-famous comedian was homeless at the time and didn’t have anywhere to go. He used the opportunity for an audience to try out jokes on the police officers from the back seat.

Slowly, he made his name known among the local comedy clubs until he got his break as a guest host with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and ultimately took over the hosting duties.

Leno ended up being the host of the late-night talk show for over 20 years. He retired from The Tonight Show in 2014 and, while most people would take a break from working, he instead started a web series called Jay Leno’s Garage.

It has since become a weekly show on CNBC. During the show, Leno takes viewers through some of his favorite cars, detailing what he loves about them and their history.

Where does Jay Leno’s interest in cars come from?

Leno told Yahoo! Finance about growing up in rural Massachusetts and how his activities as a kid formed the basis of his love of cars.

“There were always broken tractors, lawn mowers, vehicles you had to fix. I remember somebody had abandoned an old Renault in a field when we were about 11 or 12. We would drive it around the backyard… It taught you how to fix cars and get things running.”

That knowledge of how vehicles worked stayed with him into his adult years. He says that he never sought out car collecting, he just found himself buying things that he liked. And what he liked was cars. Since then, Leno has collected almost 200 cars and about 160 motorcycles. Talk about the perfect premise for a show like Jay Leno’s Garage.

A collection that would make anyone jealous

Leno has some truly great gems in his personal car collection. He owns one of 375 2014 McLaren P1s, which cost him the hefty price of $1.35 million.

This is the ultimate sports car. It can go from 0-60 mph in three seconds flat and has simply looks like one of the coolest cars around. Another speedster in his collection is his 1994 McLaren F1. This is one of only 106 models produced, making it even more exclusive than the P1. He nabbed it for $970,000. This supercar has a top speed of 243 mph and was once considered to be the fastest car in the world.

For fans of the classics, Leno has something for you too. His 1909 Stanley Steamer is perfectly vintage, since he refurbished it and brought it back to its original glory. This oldie (but definitely a goodie!) runs on steam. It’s not the most convenient vehicle in his collection by any means, as it takes about 30 minutes to get it running enough to use, but he does drive it on occasion. Leno is clearly one of the most ultimate car collectors in the world, and we don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.