Jay Leno is one of the most well-known classic car collectors in the world. Over the years he’s amassed an armada of vehicles that he’s regularly shown off on Jay Leno’s Garage. Leno has a particular love for British classic cars, as seen from a recent interview. Leno’s love for British cars comes from his background, as his mother was born in Scotland. In his own words “America and England share a common language, thus making the history and stories more accessible.”
Based on the interview, we’re listing four of Leno’s favourite British cars.
Leno has stated that this is the first British car that got him hooked. “The neighbour who saw me staring at it from across the street near my childhood home in New England invited me over to sit in it, starting a love affair that has endured to this day. My own XK120 was one of the first cars I bought.”
Given how beautiful the XK120 is, we aren’t surprised that Leno was drawn in. With a sleek, aluminium body and powerful 3.4-litre straight-6 XK engine, the XK120 was a game-changing kind of vehicle.
Leno admitted that it took him a while to warm to the Lotus Elan, but once he was behind the wheel he changed his opinion. “I could never understand why anyone would buy a Lotus Elan with a four-cylinder engine that made about 125 horsepower, when for the same money you could get a V8 Corvette or a Mustang, which did well over 300. Until I drove one.”
The Lotus Elan earned a reputation for its handling, performance and comfort. It was the first Lotus car to have a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. It personified Colin Chapman’s philosophy of a lightweight car, weighing around 1500 lbs.
Aston Martin DB5
There are James Bond fans all over the world and Leno is one of them. He admitted to feeling “heartbroken” about seeing the car destroyed on screen in Skyfall. The DB5 is certainly one of the most iconic cars of all time. Standard equipment included electric windows, reclining seats, wool pile carpets and a magnesium-alloy body.
Ferret Mark ⅔ Scout
This car is one of Leno’s most recent purchases and among his most unusual cars. It comes with a Rolls-Royce six-cylinder engine, five-speed gearbox, armoured body and a Browning 30-calibre machine gun.
According to Leno “it’s still big enough to be intimidating. It rides on four enormous rubber tyres and has lights, turn signals and everything else you need to make it road legal. It has a top speed of around 60 mph and it’s perfect for LA’s pothole-ridden streets. Yet it’s still small enough for the drive-thru at any one of LA’s In-N-Out burger stands. When other motorists see that machine gun sticking out of the turret, road rage becomes a thing of the past.”