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The Jay Leno/Bruce Jackson Story

The story of how Jay Leno came to buy Bruce Jackson's 7-Litre is an interesting one. As most of you know,Jay had contacted Vince Panicola about the 7-Litre website and said how much he liked it and mentioned his dad had had one when Jay was around 16. Jay and Vince spoke several times over the next few months. On one occassion Jay said he didn't know why he had never bought a 7-Litre. Vince mentioned that if Jay was interested, he could probably locate one for him through the website. That is where the real story begins. The following is a reprint of an article that Bruce Jackson's local Newspaper ran when they found out about his story.

Copied with permission from The Capitol News. (Friday Oct. 17, 2008)

Jay Leno purchases local man’s Galaxie

Bruce Jackson has a story to tell that begins with a trip to a junkyard of cars and ends a decade later with a glamour filled journey to L.A. with a side trip on a private jet to Vegas. Jackson owned a 1966 Ford Galaxie 7 Litre 4 speed and North America’s most famous car collector wanted it. 


So when Jay Leno called and asked to buy the Galaxie Jackson said “yes”. Jackson first found the Galaxie on Vancouver Island in 1998, the sole car protected in the garage of a collector. Every other car the guy had was under the trees, rotting into the ground near Malahat, but not the Galaxie.  The guy had the good sense to protect it. The pedigree of the car is traced from the original owner who skipped out on a paint bill, to the careless collector on Vancouver Island.  Jackson was thrilled to have found the car at all.  It had been off the road since 1976.
The 1966 Ford Galaxie was special to Ford, it was a large size family car, marketed as being  “quiet as a Rolls Royce” and possessing the brand new 428 engine.  According to Jackson the only car with more prestige in the Ford line-up was the LTD.

The four speed transmission had a production run of only 1,500 vehicles, and it was that model that Jackson specifically sought out.  “It sat for about a day when I brought it home before I started working on it.  I stripped it down to every last nut and bolt and did a complete rebuild of the engine.”
The four speed transmission remains original, surprising for a vehicle that was built and designed in an era when the expected lifespan of any car was about two years.  “The Galaxie is kind of unusual, it was hard to source parts.  So I bought parts cars and at one point I had about seven parts cars in my yard at one time,” laughs Jackson.  “Yeah my wife is fantastic.”
After  the complete stock rebuild, Jackson put collector plates on the car and drove it for about seven years.  He entered it in shows in the Lower Mainland where he was living at the time and never put it on the market.  During that time period, about 7 years ago, Jackson started a Yahoo email group for Galaxie owners and lovers.
One member of the email group started a website.  One day about 2 months ago the website founder, Vince, sent me an email to Jackson saying he had a private collector wanting a specific Galaxie, four speed, black interior, 1966.“Vince called me saying the collector wanted my phone number, oh and by the way, the collector was Jay Leno.”  The surprise is still reflected in Jackson’s voice.
“Thirty minutes later I was on the phone with Jay Leno.  Literally the phone rang and I heard “Bruce, Jay here. From the start Jackson made the conscious decision to treat Leno like a “car guy”.  Jackson took no pictures himself, (although his friends who made the trip to L.A. with him did) and Jackson never asked for a signature, except for the copy of the cheque he kept and the bill of sale.  “I think that might be why things went so well.”
The car sold for $12,000.00.  “Jay doesn’t pay any more than he has to,” says Jackson. Immediately after the cheque arrived Jackson corralled his three friends.  Al Stoltz, Norm Kneller, and Don Heathcote to make the drive south. 


The car was loaded into the trailer on Oct. 2 and the group crossed the border at Osoyoos.
We had a blast driving through the States.  Every time we stopped for gas we told people what we were doing, and everywhere people wanted pictures with the car.
The 28 hour non stop trip took them directly to Big Dog Garage, the 100,000 square foot facility where Leno keeps his collection of 140 vehicles.  Seven full time staff met Jackson and his buddies and gave them a tour.
That afternoon Jackson went to a live taping of The Tonight Show and after the taping of the show he was invited on stage with Leno where the two met in person for the first time and professional photos were taken.  What happened next was an adventure in luxury, where the wealthy wait for nothing.

Leno told me that he had to do a stand up show in Vegas that night and wanted to know if we’d like to come along.  The next thing, we flew to Vegas on his private jet, were escorted directly to the back door of the Mirage.  Jay requested and got us the best table at The Steakhouse in the Mirage and someone was waiting for us with an envelope with tickets to Jay’s show.  So we waited in Jay’s dressing room for a bit, went and watched the show.  Afterwards we got in the limo, headed straight for the airport, got back on the jet and headed back to L.A.
The next day Leno personally cooked Jackson and his friends lunch, introduced them to the neighbourhood around the Big Dog Garage and hung out with them, perusing cars in Leno’s fabulous collection.  Jackson headed home to Kelowna shortly after lunch.
“It was more exciting than I can tell you.  It was a gas.  I would do it again in a second,” says Jackson.  Why would Leno want a Galaxie?  It was all about the connection, explains Jackson.
“Leno’s dad had the car, and as a teen Leno helped pick it out.  My Galaxie matched up with that memory.  This purchase was about that connection, it wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
And the private excursion to Vegas?  Jackson remains impressed.  “Jay Leno is a humble and down to earth guy.

It’s just a part of him to be genuine and generous.

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