Jay Leno Surprises Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis with Private Garage Tour

Jay Leno and "Lay-Z-Boy" Richard Neider mug for the camera.

Jay Leno and “Lay-Z-Boy” Richard Neider mug for the camera.

The journey to Sturgis hasn’t even officially begun yet but participants in the 2017 Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis got an unexpected surprise when Jay Leno came cruising down the street on a 1934 Indian Scout and invited the group in for a private tour of legendary Jay Leno’s Garage. Unbeknownst to the group of veterans, VCR founder Dave Frey and business partner Robert Manciero had secretly arranged for the visit as an added bonus to the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis experience.

The group entered Leno’s Garage with wide-eyed wonder as hallway after hallway of incredible cars, motorcycles and memorabilia spread out before them, a collective giddiness overtaking some of the most hardened combat veterans around. Considering their backgrounds ranged from a helicopter mechanic to combat engineer to convoy vehicle operators, Leno enjoyed the rapport with a group who had a similar level of knowledge and appreciation for all things mechanical.

Leno was eager to “fire thing’s up” starting with the “World’s Fastest Bar Stool.” When it didn’t have enough juice to crank Jay understated “We’ve got some cooler stuff.”

Josh Stein with the Patton Tank-powered roadster in Jay Leno's Garage

Josh Stein was ready to take this M47 Patton Tank-powered, twin turbo roadster home with him.

He pointed out the famous roadster with the M47 Patton tank engine to the group, adding “We put Bosch fuel injection and twin turbos on it” then quoted some mind-numbing horsepower numbers when they ran it on the dyno.

Entering the section of his garage that houses his motorcycle collection he said matter-of-factly “That’s the oldest Brough in the world right there, 1920-21, they only built three or four that year. The fastest is the SS 100 over here.” Leno added that in all he owns 26 Brough Superiors.

Jay Leno talks about a Brough Superior

Jay Leno goes over some of the specifics of a Brough Superior for the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis group.

Jay Leno's World's Oldest Brough Superior

The rarest of rare Brough Superiors in Jay Leno’s collection.

Heading into his Big Dog Garage, Leno fired up the Turbine Chrysler first, then prepped and primed the stubborn Christie Front Drive Fire Engine which eventually cranked after about the fifth try, then the Autocar was hand-cranked to life much to the delight of the group.

The piece de resistance was when Leno flipped the switch on a Merlin V 1650 airplane engine. The immaculate V-12 had to be hauled out of his garage via a forklift before the firing sequence was initiated. The Merlin V 1650’s claim to fame was its use as the vaunted engine of P-51 Mustang fighter planes during World War II.

Jay Leno goes over some of the specifics of the Merlin V 1650 airplane engine.

Jay Leno fires up the Merlin V 1650

Jay Leno fires up the Merlin V 1650 for the group participating in this year’s Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis.

Before the group departed, Leno amicably took photographs, signed autographs, and gave a hearty handshake to veterans as a genuine display of his gratitude for their service.

To learn more about the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis, check out our American Iron Magazine Joining the Veterans Ride to Sturgis article.