Driving in to the office the other morning, I was listening to a comedian on the radio. His name is Adam Corolla and much to my pleasant surprise he was riffing on having just come back from competing at the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion. When asked about the race he described how all these fabulously rare and expensive collector cars were battling it out on track. When the DJs asked in disbelief how anyone could put a multi-million dollar car at such risk, Corolla quipped that not unlike wearing a wristwatch fashioned from a gold nugget, it was the ultimate expression of “having arrived.” For this and a number of more poignant barbs, he had me laughing, but perhaps even more than usual, due to the novelty of having the jokes turned on something so close and familiar, i.e., the collector car hobby. Of course, another reason that Corolla’s jokes cut so sharply is the fact that, as a collector and historic racer himself, he knows right where our exposed, tender underbelly lies.
Listening to essentially a stand-up routine built around the collector car hobby got me thinking of the surprisingly strong connection between car collecting and comedians. Is it a coincidence that so many comedians are prominent collectors? Certainly one of the most prominent collectors is Jay Leno. Leno can be regularly seen on the lawn at Pebble Beach, roaming the paddock at Laguna Seca or driving around the streets of Burbank, California, in one of his many vintage vehicles. Leno’s automotive tastes span the full spectrum of automotive history; from the unusual like the Eastern Bloc Tatra to the sublime such as the Walker-bodied Duesenberg that we featured on these pages back in May. A good friend of the magazine and the consummate enthusiast, Leno’s collection is so diverse and expansive that if we featured two of his cars, every month, we wouldn’t be able to cover his entire collection before I die of old age!
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