Jay Leno Welcomes Self-Driving Cars—Just Don't Ever Wash Them
Jay Leno may love classic cars—he owns hundreds of them, and he can drive pretty much anything. But if driver-less cars eventually take the road, he's ready. Heck, that could stand to happen sooner rather than later, Leno said Wednesday on a phone call from Buffalo, N.Y.
“I’m all for self-piloting cars. Half the cars on the road now are 'autonomous' anyway, with people reading or putting on lipstick,” he said with a laugh. “So if we had cars like that, at least something will be paying attention.”
Jokes aside, the longtime comedian and television show host isn't worried about real driving machines ever really going away. They’ll just remain relegated to fan clubs and driving groups, even more so than now, he said.
“When I was a kid, every little kid knew something about cars,” Leno said. “Now most people know nothing about cars, but you can find small groups of people who are fanatical, who know everything. And if you know a lot about something, that knowledge is valuable.”
His latest venture targets just those fanatics: The Advanced Vehicle Care system is a $60 kit aimed at the same buffs who love Leno’s car show and collection. He developed it with the guys from System 51, who have cleaned and protected his own cars for years.
Not that they’ve ever actually washed his cars.
“For me, almost none of my vehicles has ever been washed,” Leno said. “You wipe them down. But you don’t get them wet. If you don’t get something wet, it never rusts.”
The idea is that Leno’s are high-end products for people who take the time to clean their cars properly, even in an age where most cars seem like plastic appliances rather than driving machines. Before it was kosher just to spray on a cheap car cleaner and let it air dry; even his mother, Leno said, knew how to do rudimentary repairs on the family sedan. The products resemble that mentality.
“When I was a kid, I put the polish on and the wax off—the more you worked, the brighter it got,” he said. “But nobody does that now. And when you have classic cars, well, we are at the point now where certain automobiles are art, like Matisse on wheels.”
The implication is that such beautiful objects deserve more attention.
To wit, the seven-piece online-only package includes a wash, cream wax, detailer, tire and trim dressing, wax, applicator pads, and a microfiber towel. If it sells well enough to pay for itself and the guys who work in Leno’s garage (nine or so in total), the car buff said he’ll make more.
“What usually happens with these things is someone says, ‘Hey, here’s a ton of money to sell a product,’ but we went the other way with it. We wanted to developed a product in-house,” Leno said. “So we’ll see what happens, if it catches on. That method has always worked for me.”
If all goes well (and with Leno, it usually does) expect an extended line of elite waxes, soaps, cleaners, protectants, dressings, and accessories later this year.