“Jay Leno’s Garage” returns May 20 on CNBC (10 p.m.) — with all-new episodes, celebrities and wild car rides.
Guests include Adam Carolla, Matt LeBlanc, Rob Riggle, Tim Allen, Fabio and Elon Musk — who took Leno for a drive he won’t soon forget.
“He was terrific,” Leno tells The Post about Musk, the billionaire behind the Tesla electric car (among other trailblazing pursuits). “I’m a big fan. We drove the Tesla Cybertruck and he’s got a boring machine which makes tunnels. He says, ‘You want to see a tunnel?’ So he drives the [Cybertruck] into the tunnel, we’ve got about a quarter-inch on each side and we’re 60 feet underground. We get to the end of the tunnel and there’s an elevator, so we drive into the elevator and go up 6 or 7 stories and come up in a guy’s backyard in El Segundo.
“He says, ‘This as far as we got with tunnel, and this guy is letting us use his backyard.’ As we come up [from the tunnel] I see a gas grill in one corner and a broken bicycle in another. It was just the funniest thing.”
Leno, 70, is in his fifth season hosting “Jay Leno’s Garage,” in which he blends his broad knowledge of cars — and his vast automobile collection — with celebrities of all stripes as they tool around and discuss their shared enthusiasm and personal connections to vehicles of various models and vintages.
“I always say [to the celebs], ‘I don’t care about your cocaine bust, your divorce, or that your movie bombed — but what did your dad drive?,’” says Leno. “[The late billionaire] Paul Allen came down and his dream car was a 1973 Buick Electra because his dad used to take him for ice cream and to ballgames in one when he was a kid. It was like his ‘Rosebud’ sled — here’s one of the richest guys in the world but all he’s looking for is a ’73 Buick Electra. And we’re talking maybe $12,000 for the best one in the world.”
The series, which also airs overseas, has won Leno his share of international fans.
“Sweden is huge for American cars, especially the ’50s kind of giant Chryslers. They love those over there,” he says. “I hear a lot from German viewers. The thing is, it’s not about politics — it’s just escapism, just cars and anything that rolls and explodes and makes noise.”
Future episodes of “Jay Leno’s Garage” will see Leno teaching comedian Norm Macdonald how to drive — “He’s one of my favorite comics but he’s such an odd duck, and the fact that he lives in LA and doesn’t drive a car is amazing to me” — and meeting up with ’90s-era model Fabio, a frequent guest of Leno’s when he hosted “The Tonight Show.”
“Fabio was great,” he says. “He’s a real car guy and he’s fascinating. He did quite well for himself and lives in a beautiful home — the kind of home where you think Fabio would live. He’s legit and made a huge amount of money modeling and selling jeans and clothing companies.
“And he’s got a great sense of humor about himself,” he says. “He doesn’t take himself seriously.”
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