(Today seems to be the day for exotic cars shot on the go. Cohort poster T-Bar-Bear caught this Mazda Cosmo in traffic, and quickly realized who was behind the wheel. Well, who else would be driving a Cosmo in that part of LA? I’ll let him tell you about his encounter)
We have actually seen him five times in parts of his very amazing car collection, driving around our neighborhood. I never have a chance to snap photos but today I did due to light traffic on the street.
Today he was driving one of my all time favorite cars ever, a 1968 Mazda Cosmo. youtu.be/0bUUzDKnPhc Holy crap! He was wearing the same clothes driving it as in this interview!
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_Cosmo with the Wankel engine. This car is GORGEOUS! I first saw it in Car and Driver magazine in 1988 and immediately fell in love with it.
In my opinion, one of the most beautiful Japanese cars ever made. Sadly, it was never exported to the US and very few were made. In the video posted, Jay said that they are only three specimens of this car in the US! WOW! what luck to have seen it! I never in my craziest dreams would have expected to see one on the street in use!
I have to admit, the car is gorgeous as I mentioned but the engine didn’t sound so great, it was running very rich and could hardly keep up with the light traffic mentioned before. I still love that car though! 🙂 Jay gave me a salute, and I gave him a thumbs up.
Postscript: Sadly, I don’t have the time to do a full write up on this delightful little car. I’ve been a fan of them since it came out, but never saw one in the flesh until the Paris Auto Show in 2010. It surprised just how small and delicate it is, about the size of an old Miata.
According to Wikipedia, Jay Leno’s Cosmo is a 1970, and has had its engine replaced with a 12a from from an RX-7.
Ateupwithmotor has an in depth look at this car and Mazda’s other early rotary-engined cars here: RX-Rated: Mazda’s Early Rotary Cars, Part 1
There’s a lttle of that Cosmo in the last gen T-Bird, no?
As to the duds, Jay never seens to wear anything but denim if he can get away with it.
Just like Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear) right?
yeah exactly jeremy clarkson
Other than the suits he wore every night while hosting the Tonight Show for 20 years, everything else he must own has to be denim, he is president of the Denim Dan Club.
On THIS we can agree.
Today seems to be the day for rare cars being driven in regular traffic. I saw Jay with his motorcycle when I was riding Mulholland Drive around 1980. He was hanging out at The Rock Store mingling with the other riders. Looking forward to his new show featuring his collection. Great find, what a cool looking car. Does have that 55-57 T-Bird vibe.
Wonderfully styled cars, I saw one a few years ago at the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach and was stunned at how small and low it was. How Leno crams himself in there I have no idea, even if the TV camera does add 10 pounds…
Those Japanese sports cars of the 60s were really built for Japanese-sized people.
There’s a clip of Jay on YouTube squeezing into the Toyota 2000GT convertible from the James Bond movie — it’s a VERY tight fit.
Mazda USA has a Cosmo in the basement of their HQ in Irvine, I wonder where the third car is.
The only reason 2000GT was made into a roadster was because Connery couldn’t fit in it with a roof!
The Cosmo Registry shows eight cars in the US, including Leno’s and Mazda’s. Myron Vernis owns a dark blue one for a ninth. The registry may be a bit out of date here and there, but somewhere between about six and ten cars in the US seems about right.
Leno, a tall fellow, looks like a snug fit in there.
See his Stanley Steamer video, it’s more entertaining than the Tonight Show.
I’m getting the T-bird vibe too. Hopefully Jay gets a lot of enjoyment from people excited to see him in a cool/rare/old/unusual car.
Hmmmm. Maybe not so rare, but here you go. The pixels are still wet – shot it ten minutes ago.
Very nice Spider Quadrifoglio! You certainly don’t see many of the optional hard tops anymore. Good find as well.
Even rarer, one driving upside-down! 🙂
(I really didn’t shoot it upside down!)
I thought that was the rare 0 G option on the Spider?
For a minute I thought it must have been posted by either KiwiBryce, Don Andreina or NZSkyliner…
What I am thankful for is that Jay, who was not an instant gazillionair and probably did some commercials and other projects that he would like to forget. Once money became less of a problem he started collecting cars instead of things like gold bullion and items that sit in a vault or some such thing. True it may not make the same as other investments but it is keeping a good return. How much fun it must be to go to the bank and starring at your gemstones. Fortunately with his collection he loves to drive them and put up with cameras pointing at him and smiles.He is a true car guy. And so helping our vintage car information. MyGod he has a Chrysler turbine car that is running great, I think there are 5 that escaped the crusher, the rest(around fifty) were crushed and burned due to stupid managers who were worried about liability and and bullshit like that. I hope that car is still in a museum still in running condition.
Thank you Jay.
Richard in Miami
That’s nice ;
The photo was taken on Sherman Way , Mr. Leno often drives his vehicles from his Burbank facility West on Sherman Way to the 170 North Hollywood Freeway , goes right past my old shop and he’d wave when he saw me in my daily driver oldies .
I love this car ! .
If you got it, flaunt it. Good on him.
The name “Cosmo” is pretty appropriate; that car looks like something out of a 1950s sci-fi movie. Of course, with Leno’s money, he can afford to import a car from the future.
Jay is so cool. Thanks, Mr. Leno, for perpetuating rare, beautiful CCs! 🙂
Doing a quick mental tally, there are six Series Is and six Series IIs in the States that I can account for right off, with another on the way.
A fellow collector and I were both after L10B-10704 (Leno’s car) before Leno bought it from Milner and likewise with L10A-10220 (Mazda NA’s car) when it was up on eBay many years ago, before it went through two more owners before landing at Mazda NA. That one was more historically significant as it was one of the three Curtiss-Wright cars.
Myron is a friend, and while his Series II is slightly modified from new, it is a very nice car that he loves- he had been wanting one for many years.