Mention Jay Leno to most people, and their minds will immediately go to The Tonight Show. But to automotive buffs, Leno is known and admired as a serious gearhead. He worked at a dealership as a mechanic while honing his stand-up career and loves cars of all types—a passion that he put to use in his TV show Jay Leno’s Garage, which features Leno talking to car experts and showing his terrific knowledge.
However, Leno's not merely a TV personality; over the years, he has amassed one of the largest and most impressive car collections in America. He owns over 150 unique cars and is always on the lookout for more. They run the gamut from early 20th century vehicles to modern supercars, with a few standing out from the pack. Leno himself will cite these as his ten favorite cars in that collection to show how great automobiles will always be his true love.
10 2006 EcoJet
Of all the cars in Leno’s garage, the EcoJet may be the most unique. It lives up to its name with the jet engine design along with a futuristic frame, making it look like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It can gain 650 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque, and the “eco” part is no lie as it was built from environmentally-friendly materials. Leno tends to use biodiesel on the twin tanks and can complain about how tricky it is to get into it. But given he helped General Motors in the concept design, it’s no surprise Leno has a soft spot for the EcoJet and thus will likely always be in his garage for a long time to come.
9 1963 Jaguar XK-E
While Leno owns no Ferraris, he does agree with Enzo Ferrari’s opinion. Enzo declared the 1963 Jaguar XK-E “the most beautiful car” he’d ever seen, and a pristine white hardtop also has a spot in Jay Leno's garage.
Able to hit 150 mph in a time when getting over 100 was impressive, the XK-E is also utterly gorgeous and a classic among collectors. Leno is one of them as he bought it in near pristine condition with just a minor paint job needed. He enjoys showing it off as even with so many Jaguars, the XK-E is a special one for the host.
8 1968 Lamborghini Countach
Only Leno could call a Lamborghini his “everyday car.” It has only 70,000 miles on the clock, but as the poster child for the company’s efforts, the 1968 Countach remains a brilliant machine.
Leno did make a major alteration of getting rid of the rear wing, which he openly called “stupid” for robbing the Countach of aerodynamic power to enhance the speed. However, he didn’t do much to alter the V12 that can still gain 370 hp and feel far faster. While he can be hit-and-miss with some Lamborghinis, Leno does enjoy this Countach as a regular ride.
7 2014 McLaren P1
When you’re the first person to get a certain car, it’s obvious that this car is going to be special to you. That’s how Leno feels, as he was the first person to take the 2014 McLaren P1 for a spin and gushed on its power. His rave review helped it sell, and so little wonder McLaren delivered the first private model to him.
It bears a hefty price of $1.4 million, but it's worth every penny with the twin-turbocharged V8 and a hybrid power delivery system capable of 217 mph. Leno put a thousand miles on it fast, and despite a 2018 accident, still counts it as one of his best automobiles.
Related: Here Are The Most Expensive Cars In Jay Leno's Collection
6 1932 Morgan Three-Wheeler
Among his various TV guest roles, Leno popped up in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer finds a Morgan Three-Wheeler when cleaning the garage and takes it for a spin. Leno happens to be visiting Springfield, sees him, and buys the car on the spot.
Leno does own a real version and loves how the five-speed gearbox works like a Miata. It’s not a powerful car (a 2.0-liter S&S V-twin for 82 hp) and loves to tell the story of how he thought he was cruising at 60 mph only for a cop to say he was only doing 37. It’s a quirky car, but it’s still one of Leno’s favorites.
Related: 10 Cool Cars Jay Leno Wishes He Owned
5 1963 Corvette Stingray Split-Window
Usually, Leno is choosy about his cars, putting a lot of research into them before plunking down cash. But when he heard a 1963 Corvette Stingray was for sale, he bought it sight unseen.
He admitted later it needed a lot of work, but it was still important for him to own one of the best Corvettes ever made. The split window is a standout design, with Leno admitting he loved it since seeing one as a kid. Backed by its incredible speed, this is one impulse buy he’s happy about until today.
4 1994 McLaren F1
On his show, Leno calls the 1994 McLaren F1 “the greatest car ever made.” He’s not alone, as the F1 is considered a gold standard in supercars. Leno noted he paid $800,000 for this black one and has had offers of up to $17 million for it.
Besides the fantastic speeds, it also looks gorgeous, like it rolled right off the factory belt. The centered driver’s seat aids the balance, which enhances the speed, and given just over a hundred were made, it’s no wonder Leno resists money offers to sell it rather than own automotive history.
Related: 10 Absolute Coolest Cars Owned By Jay Leno
3 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor
Despite its rough reputation, Leno has cited the 1972 Mercedes-Benz Kompressor as possibly his favorite car. The most expensive production car of its time, the Kompressor caught Leno’s eye when he worked at a Mercedes-Benz dealership.
It took a while for him to be able to afford one, but he set about restoring it to top condition with a non-factory supercharger, which boosts power from the 6.3-liter V8 up to 525 horsepower. He also gave it a new paint job yet kept the fun style to it that makes the Kompressor a gem in his collection.
2 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing Coupe
It took years, but at last, in 2010, Leno got his hands on one of the most exclusive Mercedes-Benz models ever made. The 300SL Gullwing Coupe is famous for those gorgeous gullwing doors that have been replicated but never quite duplicated for a car.
After buying it, Leno restored the car to its former glory and has been seen racing it. He even got a chance to drive the oldest 300SL Gullwing ever made on a special track. While that one is out of reach, Leno is more than happy to have at least one of these exclusive models in his sizable collection.
1 1955 Buick Roadmaster
Leno loves this baby, openly calling it his “Rosebud.” It’s one of his first cars, having bought it in 1972 when he was still a struggling comedian working as a mechanic to pay the bills. It was also the car he used to pick up his future wife on their first date and to top it off, drove it to his first appearance on The Tonight Show.
Leno has altered the car, giving it cutting-edge Corvette suspension and an engine, but he still loves its original feel. So while his garage may be packed with some beauties that would fetch a fortune in an auction, Leno will never part with a car whose personal value is priceless.