Where Does America’s Biggest Car Nut Go When He Visits Newport?

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Jay Leno pops into Newport for an amazing automotive experience.

Jay Leno is famous for three things: being the host of The Tonight Show for two decades, his chin and his love of all things automobile. Most comedians never become car enthusiasts because they can’t afford a car, let alone to start a collections of exotics. For example, one of our local comics, Doug Key, organizer of next weekend’s Rogue Island Comedy Festival, is known more as a “bus enthusiast”.



But Jay Leno is different. Hosting The Tonight Show gave him more money than pretty much every other comic in America, save noted Jewish Porsche enthusiast Jerry Seinfeld, and he seems to have blow most of it on rare and obscure cars. If young boys are putting posters of a car on their bedroom walls, chances are he actually owned or owns that car.

Tonight, Leno is performing at URI’s Ryan Center as part of the University’s Family Weekend. That show starts at 8pm and there might be some tickets still available. Having some time to kill before that show, Leno made it a point to come to Newport and check out the Audrain Automobile Museum, who were more than happy to have him.


The fun thing about guys like Jay Leno and Adam Carolla is that these a guys who got to meet their heroes. They went out and bought the cars they’d dreamed of owning since they were 10 years old. As such, they got to spend a lot of time discovering the warts that come with a car produced by a limited-production facility by engineers working in their off-hours at a time when the world’s “normal” car was the Volkswagen Beetle with a whopping 65 bhp.

So when a car geek sees one of these they think, “That’s a Lamborghini Miura.”

When a real car nerd sees one they think “3.9 liter V-12. 360 bhp. 0-60 in 6.7 seconds.”

When a Jay Leno sees one, they think “You really have to make sure you keep that thing fueled up because the tank is in the front and when it gets close to E, the lack of weight will make it start understeering like a Motherf******.”

But that’s what defines love. It’s not about infatuation from afar. It’s about learning about the object of your desire’s imperfections and finding them endearing.

Which is why it’s probably a good thing that Leno came by during the “Classic & Fantastic” display of cars from 1945-65. The Tucker 48 the Audrain Museum is showing now is probably of more interest to him than the Bugatti Veyron in the last supercar display.

After all, Leno drives a Tank Car. Unique and quirky trump ultimate performance or luxury.

We’re sure Mr. Leno had a great time at the Audrain Auto Museum and we hope he comes back for the next display which will be Brass Era & Pre-War Automobiles, starting November 11th.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Automotive Correspondent


Tristan’s just this guy, ya know?