What seems like a very long time ago, when I was in Milwaukee, I met a guy called Jim, an independent TV and Film producer / director. He is into British motorbikes and we met at a meeting of the British Biking Cooperative. Jim told me about a film he is making about a drag bike called the Hogslayer and I wrote briefly about it on my my blog post about Milwaukee.
I told him of my tour plans and my route and he offered something very special to me....
Jim said he could arrange for me to see Jay Leno’s private car and bike collection. As he said it, there was a simultaneous loud clunk – that was my jaw hitting the floor.
Well, if you know about these things, you will know that this collection is getting to be very famous and I couldn’t wait to see it. The weeks went by and I wondered if Jim would be able to arrange this for me and a short while ago I contacted him with my dates for when I would be in the LA area. As good as gold, Jim got back to me very quickly and on Monday I rode to Jay’s Garage and had a two and a half hour tour of this very special collection of cars and bikes.
Jay doesn’t permit photos to be taken of the collection and so I had to leave my camera behind, but believe me, this collection is stunning and it spans over 100 year of automotive history. There are cars there that would make your eyes water, some wonderfully restored and others untouched since they were built. There are wonderful bikes, including some of the most iconic ever made. Some of the bikes and cars are very rare indeed and it was a privilege to see them. I was pleased to see that for one of the cars in his collection, I have exactly the same car!
I was taking around by Bob, who has worked with Jay for a long time and he knew the details of just about every car and bike there. His knowledge was incredible.
What really surprised me was after seeing the collection, I was taken into the workshop, which I didn’t even know existed. This place would rival many commercial workshops, with CNC machines, water jets, a paint booth and just about everything else you could imagine could be found in a workshop. I chatted with the team there who are all very enthusiastic car and bike people.
Jay is obviously very into vehicles of all kinds and I understand he goes to his garage almost every day, but sadly he was not there when I was. I would have loved to have met him.
As a real bonus, Jim had also arranged for me to get a VIP ticket for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which I went to on Monday. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the main guest talking about how he feels as he nears the end as his term as Governor of California. It was very interesting seeing the show recorded and I was surprised at how technical the show is and how stressful for everyone involved, especially Jay. He was getting briefings from a person who was either the producer or his assistant (I don’t know) during the commercial breaks and the pace was certainly fast. No wonder Jay has grey hair!
Overall, it was a FANTASTIC day and one I will remember for a long time.
Jim, thank you very much for arranging everything – you are a real star.
Jim is going to visit the UK soon. Jim, make sure you get touch with me and I will arrange some things for you in return – nothing on the scale of what you did for me, but I will do my best!
I am one seriously lucky guy!