Jay Leno is one of the most famous car collectors in the world. Born in New Rochelle, New York in 1950, Leno grew up tinkering on abandoned vehicles in rural Andover, Massachusetts. His first car was a sensible choice for New England winters: a 1934 Ford pickup truck he bought when he was sixteen. These first cars ignited a lifelong passion for automobiles. Leno became a standup comedian and won a job hosting The Tonight Show from 1992 through 2014. His income allowed him to amass a collection of over 180 cars and 160 motorcycles. Car fans have begun to wonder why Jay Leno doesn’t own a single Ferrari.
Leno loves vintage cars, race cars, and Italian cars. He owns Lamborghini supercars, Grand-Prix-winning Bugattis, and even a rare Maserati grand tourer. Leno seeks out unique and quirky automobiles from as many brands as possible. Only one major brand is conspicuously absent from Leno’s collection: Ferrari.
After retiring from The Tonight Show, Jay Leno began hosting a show called Jay Leno’s Garage, full-time. He often invites Ferraris and their owners on his show. He is always interested in the cars and friendly with the owners. So the question remains: Why doesn’t Jay Leno own a single Ferrari?
A Ferrari Owner Interviewed Jay Leno
Nobody is more confused by Jay Leno’s disinterest in the Ferrari brand than Ferrari owners. In 2001, the members of the Ferrari Chat forum started a thread to debate why Jay Leno doesn’t own a Ferrari. One owner told an interesting story.
The Ferrari 348 owner, who identifies himself only as Ernie, said he had met Leno personally. According to Ernie, he was in the automotive section of his local newsstand when he bumped into Jay Leno himself. As Ernie remembered it, Leno was amiable and signed autographs for any passerby’s who recognized him.
Ernie introduced himself to Leno as a “fellow car buff,” and the two of them began a conversation.
Ernie asked Leno, “Why don’t you own any Ferrari’s?”
Leno said, “‘Cause they are a pain in the a–!”
Ernie, whose Ferrari 348 has required two engine-out services, had to agree.
Leno specified, “Don’t get me wrong I like Ferraris and think they are a great car. But every time I go into a dealership they automatically slap more money on the price. That’s just b—s—.”
Ernie may not have realized some exotic car dealerships take advantage of celebrities, but agreed that being hassled that way would be frustrating.
“The other thing,” Leno continued, “is that if I walk into a Porsche dealer, these guys go out of their way to help me. They give me little books, pamphlets, mail me info, show me the cars. But if I walk into a Ferrari dealership looking for a Daytona, I don’t get the same treatment. I would like to get one, but there is too much b—s— involved.”
Jay Leno Won Over A Ferrari Owner
By the end of their conversation, Leno had guessed that Ernie was a Ferrari owner. He politely asked what kind of Ferrari Ernie drove and when Ernie said: “A 348.”
They went back to talking about cars, not dealerships. Ernie decided he had nothing but respect for one of the world’s biggest car buffs. He realized why Jay Leno doesn’t own a single Ferrari and is not happy with the marque. Ernie’s final message to Ferrari: “Change your song and start treating people better.”
Jay Leno is worth approximately $450 million. Obviously, if he wanted a Ferrari, he could have found a way to buy one by now. At this point, he is just sticking to his principals. We do not know if we are more impressed that Leno has so many amazing cars that he does not even need a Ferrari, or that he is so charming he managed to win a Ferrari owner over to his side.
Jay Leno Appreciates Other People’s Ferraris
Jay Leno does not let his own frustrations with Ferrari salespeople prevent him from enjoying Ferrari’s cars. He has hosted many Ferraris–both new and classic–on his show, including a 2021 SF90, a 2021 812 GTS, a 1990 F40, a 1967 275 GTB4, a 1985 288 GTO, a 1984 308 GTB, a 2003 Enzo, a 1955 500 Mondial Series II, a 1952 Barchetta, and a 1993 Conciso.
Maybe someday, a Ferrari salesman will bump into Jay Leno at a newsstand, treat this multimillionaire like any other human being, and convince him to add something from Maranello to his legendary Scuderia. In the meantime, Jay Leno will have to amuse himself with his dozens of other priceless classics and supercars and his rare motorcycles. Somehow, we suspect he will get along fine.