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Jay Leno is a standup comedian, retired Tonight Show host, and the patron celebrity of car collectors. Leno made headlines recently when he suffered burns during a vintage car fire, followed by a bone-breaking motorcycle crash. Luckily, he’s expected to make a full recovery. So while Jay convalesces, here’s a look at the value of his car collection and his net worth. This comedian is famous for having over 300 unique and collectible cars and motorcycles in his massive collection. So you might be surprised to learn just how little of Leno’s net worth is actually tied up in cars.

What is Jay Leno’s net worth?

Jay Leno has had a long, successful TV career. What’s more, he continues to sell out standup comedy shows. It’s no surprise, therefore, that The Sun estimates Leno’s net worth at $450 million.

Jay Leno stands on a stage before a comedy show, the audience chairs visible behind him.
Jay Leno | Getty Images

Leno’s annual income is reported to stay consistent between $10 million and $15 million dollars. What’s interesting is that Leno hardly needs to keep making that much money, and continues to perform for the love of comedy. The comedian has revealed that he never actually spent a dollar of the tens of millions NBC paid him for his long run as the host of The Tonight Show. Even while he had that gig, he lived off his income as a standup comedian and car collector.

Perhaps Leno spent so little of his television star money because he has simple taste. Born in Andover, Massachusetts, one of Leno’s early jobs was a humble gig as an exotic car dealership’s “lot boy.” He claims this was what got him hooked on cars.

How much is Jay Leno’s car collection worth?

In July 2022, Dupont Registry estimated that Leno’s collection of 180+ cars and 160+ motorcycles is worth $52 million. But considering that some of Leno’s car investments have appreciated to over $10 million, we expect his collection is worth much more. Other estimates range from $90-100 million.

Jay Leno in a suit stands before two of the cars in his collection, which are only worth a fraction of his net worth.
Jay Leno | Paul Harris, PacificCoastNews via Getty Images

For example, Leno’s 1934 Duesenberg Walker Coupe is an ultra-rare vintage car probably worth $20 million today. His 1994 McLaren F1 supercar is just as smart an investment. At less than 30 years old, it has already appreciated to around $12 million.

Slash Gear totaled up the 12 most valuable cars in Leno’s collection and found them to be worth at least $40 million. It is highly likely that his collection is worth more than $52 million. That said, it is very hard to price high-end vintage cars. Appraisers might try to guess what they’re worth, but no one knows until they go to auction. A car as rare as a 1934 Duesenberg Walker Coupe is worth however much the two richest collectors are willing to pay for it.

Take, for example, the one-of-a-kind jet car Leno collaborated with General Motors to build. He lent a hand designing it, taking inspiration from the infamous 1963 Chrysler Turbine. The result is completely unique. How much is it worth? Well, GM gave it to Leno for free and until it goes up for auction, there’s really no way to know.

The folks at VIN Wiki put the collection’s value at around $90 million, but they say that Jay Leno’s name on these cars and motorcycles adds another $10 million to the collection’s total value. See more in the video below:

Are vintage cars a good investment?

Some investors have made a trunkload of cash buying and selling vintage cars. But keeping an old car in good shape takes a sizable investment in infrastructure and mechanical work. Choosing something that will appreciate also requires knowledge and a bit of luck.

Jay Leno flashes a thumbs up while driving a classic collector's car.
Jay Leno | Paul Harris BWP Media USA via Getty Images

Making money on vintage cars is also easier for someone with Leno’s resources. For instance, when someone told him about a Maserati 3500 GTI barn find advertised for around $20k, he jumped on the opportunity and wrote a check immediately. What’s more, he was able to pay one of his specialists over $20k to spend a year restoring the car’s complex fuel injection system. His reward? Hemmings puts this make and model’s value at around $220k today.

It also helps your investment if you can afford to put your vintage car into a huge climate-controlled facility–such as Leno’s Big Dog Garage in Burbank, California–and daily drive something else. Despite owning a warehouse full of beautiful classics, Jay Leno daily drives an electric car.

Next, see a full tour of Jay Leno’s garage in this final video:


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