Watching Jay Leno's Garage--Where does he get all that money?

He still does some standup, but does that pay enough to finance that huge operation? I guess it does because Jeff Dunham, a freaking ventriloquist who never was the regular host of the Tonight show, is turning into Jay, Jr with his own car collection. But really, WTF!?!

I shoulda taken up Shelley Berman’s invitation to send him five minutes because he was going on tour and needed an opening act, even though I have never done standup.

That is Jay Leno 's Garage. Mods, if you could fix that.

Well, based on some brief Googling, Jay was making up to $30 million a year as the host of the Tonight Show and has a net worth around $400 million. Add to that whatever he pulls down from standup. He’s not hurting for cash, that’s for sure.

He made around $30 mil a year from the Tonight show. And he said he never spent any of that TV money, he lived off of other money he made doing standup, etc. He lives a pretty frugal life apart from the cars. He has no kids and he has had the same wife since 1980. The cars are the one thing he spends money on. He has a separate building to store them all but he does keep a few at home . He was offered to be the host of the US version of Top Gear but turned it down.

He likely gets paid for at least some of the interviews he does about the cars as well. I’m sure it’s a net loss overall, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could buy a new one every 5 or 10 years just with what he brings in showing them off.

a couple years back he got a new 647 horsepower Ford GT which costs around $450k. They only make 250 of those per year. That might be his most valuable car , at least of cars that are not old. Maybe he got a discount for putting the car on his show.

For a while, he was writing for Popular Mechanics and that’s magazine money. ChaChing!

Fixed title.

His garage is a combination of his passion and, quite literally, somewhere to park some of his money. From what I can tell it’s an eclectic, informed and important collection - he has a very good eye and appreciation of history. It’s not like he’s constantly buying the latest Italian trinket aimed at Russian oligarchs and Saudi princelings.

Okay, then explain Jeff Dunham. The beginnings of a nice collection, expensive restorations and staff, and he’s but a ventriloquist.

Dunham is one of the most successful comedians right now. Dude is making serious bank.

A ventriloquist who sells out arenas worldwide.

Emphasis mine.

I’m not quite sure what this is supposed to mean. Are you trying to say that it’s the most valuable car he owns, except for the ones that might be more valuable?

And even if we exclude the “old” cars in his collection that are likely worth more than half a million dollars, he has other “new” cars that cost as much as or more than the Ford GT. His 2014 McLaren P1 retailed for $1.15 million. He also has a 2010 Mercedes SLR McLaren which, I believe, went for about $500,000 when new. His 2005 Porsche Carrera GT cost about $450K new, and would fetch more than that now. Then there’s his 1994 McLaren F1, which would get somewhere north of $15 million, and possibly $20 million, if he put it up for sale.

For that matter, earlier this year Leno said in an interview he still does 200+ standup gigs per year.

The guy literally does nothing but work and play with cars with the money he makes.

This, exactly. He’s been in the top tier of touring comedians for over a decade, and he’s also very good at marketing his “brand.”

From what a little bit of googling shows me, the dude makes $15M-$30M a year. He can afford a couple nice cars here and there.

I have a picture of leno’s Ford GT somewhere. Though I’m thinking it was a phone or two ago. He drives around Burbank all the time in his cars. His Stanley steamer was cool as hell.

Carson got cleaned out several times after messy divorces.

Jay hasn’t made that mistake. It’s amazing how show biz money piles up if you aren’t giving it to divorce attorneys.

Jay is a frugal person. Car’s is his only costly hobby. He can afford several hundred more.

I’m in awe that he employs his own mechanics to work on his cars and restore them. It’s my understanding they are some of the best & most experienced available.

He sounds like a serious collector.

Whether they are collecting cars, fine art or Pez dispensers serious collectors understand how to curate their collections so their value increases. Just because a car is worth U$X bajillion does not mean he bought it for that or would want to buy it because it was the latest buzz. He’d have an eye for inherent value rather than the price-tag, and would stay away from bidding wars with cashed-up sheiks on EBay. With the resources to employ good mechanics he’s more likely to obtain better value cheaper cars, and invest the time to really understand his subject.

I’m not sure his hobby is even costly. I would guess that every car he has is worth far more now than when he bought it. He puts his own sweat into every one, and restores them lovingly into perfect condition.

Being Jay Leno, he gets first crack at some really rare cars, because the people that sell them to him know that they will be taken care of, and that they will be driven and displayed. And also, his reputation for care and proper vetting of rare cars means that a car probably goes up in value the day he buys it. ‘Once owned by Jay Leno’ has cachet in car circles, and helps build provenance for cars because he documents them meticulously.

Also, ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ is a media property in its own right with serious income and brand value.

I’m a big fan. I love a Hollywood star who would rather spend his days in blue jeans with a wrench than swanning around the cocktail circuit or flying in a Gulfstream to the latest trendy celebrity hot-spot.

His car collection is better thought of as an investment portfolio he gets to play with.