Back in the day, there was no Internet. Leno recalls having to drive over to a girl’s house when her parents weren’t at home and beg her to take some saucy photos for him – photos which then had to be developed. That alone would entail traveling to the next town, because everyone knew everyone in Andover, and neither he nor the girl wanted their parents to find out what they’d done.
“Then when you got the film you had to find a place that would develop it that didn't know your parents. So you had to go two towns over, and then we got the pictures back and there'd be black bars over all the parts,” Leno laughs.
On a more serious note, a car was good for more than impressing girls and getting dirty pictures developed without adults’ finding out. Leno says riding a bicycle could only cut it for a while, so he became aware of the pressing need to be able to move around more easily. His first was a 1934 Ford.
“I lived in a rural area, uptown was seven miles – so if you rode your bike, by the time you got to uptown everything was over,” he explains. “So the car, the motorcycle, any mode of transport like that, that was the ultimate freedom. You could go out, you could go away, you could go anywhere you wanted.”
Right now, Leno’s collection is made up of 189 cars and 168 motorcycles, the latter of which includes the world’s largest collection of British Brough Superior bikes. His most recent acquisition is a 1958 Lincoln Continental III, or as Leno calls it, “the most obnoxious automobile possible” and “the most American crap.” He likes to think of it as the car Donald Trump would drive through England, pulling up to people to ask where the nearest McDonald’s is.