Jay Leno

Inducted 2020/2021

1950 -

Jay Leno has used his celebrity status to heighten interest in the history of all things automotive in his Emmy Award winning television show, “Jay Leno’s Garage.” The show highlights Leno’s passion and depth of knowledge while exploring our global cultural obsession with motor vehicles.

Leno launched his comedy career while a student at Emerson College studying speech therapy. Following graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to work as a writer and comedian, making regular appearances on “The Tonight Show.” His big break came when he was named host of “The Tonight Show” in 1992. “Jay Leno’s Garage” followed his “Tonight Show” stint. It first premiered as a web series for NBC.com in 2013. CNBC picked the show up in 2014.

Each one-hour episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” features a mix of stunts, challenges, reviews, and celebrity interviews that showcases the rich and vibrant history of the automotive industry. Whether he’s exploring the story of an iconic brand, road-testing the newest supercar, or investigating the latest automotive innovations, Leno leaves no stone unturned. From classic cars to supercars and everything in between, Leno hits the road to discover exciting, weird, and wonderful vehicles.

Leno’s passion is evidenced in his car collection – one of the largest in the world. The collection includes vehicles representing the birth of the industry, including a 1912 Stanley Steamer, a 1913 Mercer Raceabout, and a 1918 Stutz Bearcat. Others in the collection include favorites such as:

  • 1963 Jaguar XK-E
  • 1994 McLaren F1
  • 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing Coupe
  • 2006 EcoJet
  • Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita
  • McLaren P1
  • 1963 Corevette Stingray Split-Window
  • 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
  • 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400
  • 2017 Ford GT

Leno’s work pulls the unconvinced into the fold of the car obsessed, opening up the marvels of historic innovation to new audiences. He has inspired people to enjoy automobiles, from the most prosaic to the most exotic. There’s something in every machine that draws his interest, and he knows the stories of the people who built them as well. Leno is a global automotive ambassador.

Expand to
read more


Born in New Rochelle, NY


Graduated from high school in Andover, MA


Graduated from Emerson College


Started a comedy club


Played a minor role in the movie "J.J. in Trouble"


Made his first appearance on "The Tonight Show"


Married Mavis Nicholson


Played a starring role in the movie "Collision Course"


Became the host of "The Tonight Show"


Received a Primetime Emmy Award


Inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame


Won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Late Night TV Show Host


Announced his retirement as host of "The Tonight Show"


Hosted his final episode of "The Tonight Show"


Aired the first episode of "Jay Leno’s Garage"


Inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame

Expand to
read more

Learn More

Class of 2020/2021

Sign up for our mailing list