By on September 9, 2009

I like Jay Leno. Who doesn’t like Jay Leno? Everyone likes Jay Leno. But Jay Leno is not an automotive journalist. He’s a comedian who makes so much money he could buy the entire first year’s production run of the McLaren MP4-12C and still have enough cash to maintain the 4,356 other rare and important (and just plain dumb) vehicles stacked in his airplane hangars like relics in King Tut’s tomb. Yes, yes, he drives them all. He’s a humble, knowledgeable and passionate collector—who’s as far from acerbic on the subject of cars as you can get without working for Motor Trend. Like I said, everyone loves Jay. But the enthusiast is sucking all the oxygen out of the car review business, getting access to shit I can’t even dream about test driving, never mind owning. In other words, PR flack James Nichols, we’ll run this item. But you had better come across with that interview with Leno stat or I’m going to go all Marvin the Martian on him. And you don’t want that.

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15 Comments on “Jay Leno “Tests” McLaren MP4-12C. Of Course....”

  • avatar

    After decades of being a “Hollywood Politician”, expect Jay to offer precisely No serious criticism of anything.

  • avatar

    I don’t like Jay Leno, that who!

  • avatar

    Leno is not just an automotively amateur comedian millionaire. If you have seen his bio, before he became a comedy icon, he workes in various aspects of the auto business, even as a MEchanic, I believe. And there are few automotive journalists that are as technically literate, and, more importantly, as “hands on” literate as Jay is.

    I do like Jay, although I found Letterman funnier, and I will watch his excellently timed 10 PM Show (too inconvenient to watch him at 11:35 on workdays for those who take their work seriously), esp. if there are a ton of cars featured there.

    I also strongly recommend you all visit “Jay’s Garage” on the web and watch videos of all kinds of classic and modern cars, Jay does an excellent job of extolling their virtues and weaknesses.

  • avatar

    I like Jay Leno too. You can’t not like Jay Leno. But your reference to Motor Trend isn’t completely out of place here.

    An automobile manufacturer for which I formerly worked found that Jay was perfectly happy to say anything they wanted him to say about their car. They just had to give him one. I guess it’s how the rich stay rich.

  • avatar

    I appreciate the jealousy aspect, but do we really need objective journalism when it comes to million-dollar supercars? I’m never going to own one, so it doesn’t really matter if the climate control knob comes off when you touch it.

    There’s a place for puppy-dog enthusiasm about automobiles. Embrace it.

  • avatar

    “And you don’t want that”.

    Was that an obscure reference to Snap, “I got the Power”? Perhaps my mind is wandering, but I seem to remember an equally obsucure reference to Spice Girls last week…

  • avatar

    I think he’s smart enough to recognize that there’s a market for entertaining car stuff. Top Gear owns most of that market now in terms of video, but I think Jay is carving out a niche for himself too, as the non-snarky regular guy alternative to the Brits, with Jay’s Garage. I wouldn’t be surprised if his new show has a car feature.

    In any case, Jay’s not nearly as bad as all those shows on Speed that are essentially infomercials about whatever components they are using for the project or build. The same goes for Overhaulin, Pimp My Ride, American Chopper and the like.

    None of us would look a gift horse in the mouth. If a car company came to any of us and said, we’ll give you a free car if you say nice things about us, how many of us couldn’t think of something nice to say?

    I’ll agree with Farago that Leno’s operating in a gray area between entertainment, journalism and advertising, but then the lines between those three have been blurred for a while. Katie Couric and Thomas Friedman are wealthy celebrities with their own brands.

    Money doesn’t talk, it swears.
    – Bob Dylan

  • avatar

    I’d take Jay Leno over 99% of auto journalists any day.

  • avatar

    “I’d take Jay Leno over 99% of auto journalists any day.”

    I second this 100%.

    And for those who complain that Leno never says anything negative about the cars he reviews, I’m not surprised. Not only are they HIS cars, so he must have liked them to begin with, but that is how Leno acts in every occasion, not just when he talks about cars.

    On the contrary, it is shows like Motorweek that never, ever say anything remotely negative about the cars they test, even when they are total POS Kias, or, back in the 80s, far worse than that (Renault Alliances and Chrysler K-cars!)

  • avatar

    “I like Jay Leno. Who doesn’t like Jay Leno? Everyone likes Jay Leno. But Jay Leno is not an automotive journalist.” Bring on Jamie Kitman then. Give a little East Coast ballast to California Dreamin.

  • avatar

    I think he just wouldn’t waste time on cars he doesn’t like.

    He probably does sincerely like the MP4-12C. Sure sounds like he’ll buy one. I’m sure he will have to pay for it, too, since McLaren can’t afford to give away free cars in the way, say, Ford or Toyota could – there are just not enough of them made.

    I really enjoyed his review of the Tesla a year or so back.


  • avatar

    Jay Leno has achieved a rare status in automotive journalism – one I expect Jermey Clarkson could see after top gear if his career continues.

    That is, they don’t actually review cars they don’t want to. And they only really want to review the interesting or cool ones.

    Reviews and Previews like this generate interest in a site, or show, or magazine. That generates ad revenue. I would imagine that every “review” of the new Mercedes generates enough income on its own to pay for whatever happens to be carrying it.

    Leno – keep rocking.

  • avatar

    Check out this interview with Jay about his own cars. He is very knowledgeable about cars, and is a true car guy. This article gives you a rare listen into the stories behind some of his cars. It’s digital so there is actual audio!

  • avatar

    I still prefer Jeremy Clarkson…

  • avatar

    It’s rough to be Jay. What a life!

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