Jay Leno – perhaps known by most as a longtime TV personality – is one of the world’s most prominent car collectors. His Big Dog Garage in Burbank, California is full of just about every make and model from just about every time period. Moreover, these cars are propelled by everything from batteries, to combustion engines, to jet turbines. And the 72-old Leno even takes the time to work on his beloved collection. Unfortunately, that’s when things went awry for our car collecting hero.
Jay Leno Garage Fire: Details
It’s been reported that Leno has suffered severe burns to the left side of his face, though they don’t seem to affect his eye or ear. Leno was taken to Grossman Burn Center, where he remains, and his condition is still unknown. The 72-year-old has canceled all of his engagements for the next two weeks, and is expected to be hospitalized between 5 to 10 days.
According to the latest from TMZ, Leno was working on his 1907 White Steam Car. A 115-year-old automobile that, as you may have guessed, is propelled by steam power, producing just 30 horsepower. These steam engines were popular with early locomotives, and are otherwise known as “external combustion engines,” versus the internal combustion engines found in most cars and trucks today.
How the external combustion engine works in the 1907 White Steam Car is as follows: a boiler full of water is heated by a burner, not unlike home heating systems. This method creates high pressure steam that is directed into a set of reciprocating pistons. Rather than using spark and internal combustion, the steam enters one end of a cylinder, pushing the piston in the opposite direction, then steam is introduced into the other end to push it back, driving a crank, which sends movement and power to the axles.
While steam engines are stereotypically known for burning coal, the 1907 White Steam Car uses either kerosene or gasoline to heat the water in the boiler. As the story goes, Leno was working to unclog a fuel line on his 115-year-old car when it sprayed fuel that was ignited by a spark. This thermal event is what burned Leno, sending him to the hospital, and canceling his upcoming appearances.
Leno doesn’t keep his automobiles private. He shares them to the world through his Jay Leno’s Garage TV show on CNBC, as well as his YouTube channel of the same name with over 3.4 million subscribers. Both of these feature some of the cars in his collection, many of which are pretty unique. In fact, his 1907 White Steam Car was showcased on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage back in 2012: