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An Evening With Jay Leno


Jaguar XK-SS

The Allure of the Automobile is a special exhibition currently showing at the Portland Art Museum. They are showcasing 16 vintage automobiles such as the 1957 Jaguar XK-SS Roadster once owned by Hollywood legend Steve McQueen and other beautiful automobiles that are truly marvelous works of art.

Last week, I won two tickets from Lexus of Portland to see the show and a talk (“lecture”) with Jay Leno, who wouldn’t have otherwise come to the museum if he hadn’t wanted to see this exhibit, too.  Lexus was the main sponsor. They put up a snap of a Lexus at an undisclosed location on Facebook and the first one to identify the building in the background would win tickets to the lecture. A lot of people posted the answer as ‘The Portland Art Museum.” Well, I walk pass the PAM almost everyday to catch the train, and I knew that the PAM is comprised of more than one building, so I identified the Mark Building right away!

The next issue was baby RB40… We don’t have a regular baby sitter yet, but luckily Mrs. RB40’s uncle and aunt were in town for a visit, so we put them to work. After a day of wandering and sightseeing around Nob Hill, they were happy to babysit and hang out with the little guy, so we were able to go see the show.

We went to see the beautiful cars and they were amazing. These automobiles are so sculpted, eye catching, and full of personality. It’s a shame that we only have vanilla boxes for automobiles these days.


After drooling over the vintage cars, the visitors ambled over to the auditorium to listen to the lecture with Jay. He came out and the first thing he did was hand $10,000 to the museum. Thanks Jay!

Jay Leno and Ken Gross (guest curator and a friend of Jay’s) sat on red cushy chairs on the stage and talked about Jay’s collection (so it wasn’t really a “lecture”). Jay was actually quite entertaining. He has over 100 cars and almost 100 motorcycles in his collection. He has tons of car stories and he is a great story teller, so if you ever get an opportunity to listen to him like this, don’t pass it up!

An evening with Jay Leno

My favorite story is about his Jet Bike. He has a digital sign on the back of the bike saying – KEEP BACK, EXTREME HEAT! Jay was at a stop light and there was a Nissan Maxima behind him. The guy kept inching up and Jay was feeling nervous and also kept scooting up. The Maxima eventually got too close and the front bumper melted into a big ball of plastic. Haha! 😀 Another great story was regarding his Chevy Volt, which he purchased in December 2010. Since then, he has put about 8,000 miles on it and not once has he had to fill it with gas.  He really loves it because this is a great example of American technology, which we desperately need more of.

All in all, it was a great night. The tickets I won was actually VIP tickets and we sat about 5 rows back from the stage. The ticket included an earlier reception with Jay, which we unfortunately were unable to attend. We found out later that the  “preferred” section behind us paid $100 per tickets and the regular section in the back were $35.

The most surprising thing about the evening was the average age of the attendees. There were only a few people in their 30s. I think most of the audience were in their 50s and 60s+. I guess younger people don’t want to shell out the money to see Jay (or classic cars) Perhaps older folks have more $$$ so they can collect vintage automobile.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • SB @ One Cent At A Time August 15, 2011, 4:58 am

    great win it was RB40, nice experience

  • Niki August 15, 2011, 5:39 am

    Sounds like a great evening. Glad you guys got to go out.

    I have seen some TV specials that show Leno’s garages. I knew he was an avid collector.

    I want an older Porsche Speedster. I love that car!

    • retirebyforty August 15, 2011, 9:03 am

      The stars lined up and we were able to go out! Ahhh… It was nice. Porsche speedster looks great! Why can’t modern cars be swoopy and beautiful too?

  • cashflowmantra August 15, 2011, 6:11 am

    Congrats on winning those tickets. Sounds like it was a lot of fun and inexpensive to boot. Melting the bumper with a motorcycle was a funny story. Stupid Maxima driver.

    • retirebyforty August 15, 2011, 9:01 am

      Yes, sometime I would like a super heated exhaust too. I hate tailgaters. 😀

  • Financial Success for Young Adults August 15, 2011, 7:06 am

    That’s so cool! I like the story about the tailgater, I only wish that happened to the people who tailgate behind me lol

  • krantcents August 15, 2011, 9:52 am

    Jay Leno appeals to an older audience. Dave Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jon Stewart appeal to a younger audience. It doesn’t matter though, the cars are cool!

    • retirebyforty August 15, 2011, 4:34 pm

      I guess you’re right. Conan definitely appeal to younger audience than Jay.

  • Hunter @ Financially Consumed August 15, 2011, 3:36 pm

    This would have been great fun. I really enjoy Jays humor, and I’m a car nut too.

    Well done on the fee tick’s.

    • retirebyforty August 15, 2011, 4:35 pm

      I’m all for free. 🙂 Probably wouldn’t have made it if we had to pay for tickets.

  • Freddie @ Invest With Passion August 15, 2011, 4:46 pm

    Immediately when I thought about who it was, I thought the crowd would be older. Younger people don’t seem to be interested in cars as much as the older generations. Now if Bill Gates or Mark Zuck broke out their tech collection, then you would see the younger generations out in force.

    It seems like the 50s, 60s, and 70s were all about the automobile because it was so fascinating, but the younger generations came up with the computer and technology in full swing, so that is what they flock to in greater numbers.

  • Buck Inspire August 15, 2011, 9:52 pm

    Nice win and great experience, lucky you. You’re on a roll!

  • MoneyCone August 16, 2011, 12:02 pm

    That is awesome RB40! We used to watch the tonight show regularly before we had our kid! I do miss that!

  • Jeff @ Sustainable life blog August 16, 2011, 1:34 pm

    That sounds like a fun time! I do enjoy classic cars. I usually try to make it to the denver auto show (for new cars) but havent been able to go the last 2 years.

  • The Wealthy Canadian August 16, 2011, 8:16 pm

    Sounds like you had a blast. I’ve always preferred Leno over Letterman. It was a nice gesture to fork out 10 G’s to the museum.

  • Evan August 17, 2011, 8:17 am

    Regarding the age thing it may also have to do with the fact that I don’t really know anyone (I am 29) that actually watches Leno (or Letterman for that matter).

  • Jesse @ BP August 18, 2011, 10:21 am

    That’s pretty awesome! Specificity pays off once again 🙂

    I love spending time in upscale environments like that because it gives me motivation to keep working hard.

  • World of Finance August 18, 2011, 5:22 pm

    What a great experience. Hope you have a great time 🙂

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