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7-Litre Group visits Jay Leno

Jay has always been a fan of 7-Litres. His dad bought one (with a little help from Jay) new in 1966. He's spoken to several of us 7-Litreites over the years. In August of 2008 he and Vince got to talking about finding Jay a 7-Litre to buy and as of September of 2008, Jay is now the proud owner of a 7-Litre Hardtop with a 4 speed. The now famous Resto-Mod 7-Litre is a proud part of his collection.
During the restoration process, we were in contact with Jay, The Big Dog Garage and its General Manager Bernard. There were questions on locating parts, what was correct on a 7-Litre, what parts were interchangeable, 7-Litre artwork and the like. After a lengthy process, Jay contacted us to let us know the car was done and to thank us for our help (that's what 7-Litreites do). He extended the invitation to come out to LA, be his guest at the Tonight Show, and have a tour of the garage. Fast forward to November, 2013. Russ Owens and Garnet Ross were going to make their annual prilgramage to San Diego and they suggested to Vince that this might be the last chance to go to the show with the pending "changing of the guard" at the show (which for the record we all think was a dumb idea). Vince called Jay, and Jay assured him that the plans were set and to just remind him that last Monday before they left, as so many requests come into his office. When the time arrived, the gents all met up in San Diego and had a great trip on the West Coast. Since Russ is a former Navy man, he has "friends in every port". If there is a Navy ship nearby....he knows somebody. So arrangements were made in San Diego, A VIP tour of the Midway was arranged through Russ' USS Mahan Association member Dick Hallowell. He is part of the restoration team and they got to see
parts of the ship that are under restoration (every year, Russ volunteers while he is visiting). After the Midway, Russ got a call from another Association member by the name of Allen Jackson (No. Not the singer). He was also in town, so they swung by the Hotel to get him and head up north of Escondido for some dinner at a place owned by....you guessed it, friend's of Russ and Ann (Ann is another friend of Russ, who they stayed with. Starting to see a pattern here?). They ate at a great Rib place called Fat Ivors Rib Rack. The evening capped off with a stop
at the VFW Hall, Post 2111 in Chula Vista, where Russ again has a bunch of friends inluding post commander, Steve Hamilton. After a round of drinks and some great conversation, Allen was taken back to the hotel, and the gang headed back home and called it a night.The next day

At the VFW Hall, Post 2111 in Chula Vista
Russ, Allen, Vince and Garnet

was the main event. The guys were scheduled to go see the Tonight show as Jay's guests and then meet up with him after to get a tour of the garage. They headed up to NBC Studios in Burbank and checked in at Guest Relations, where their name was on the list (step one complete). They were then ushered in with the other guests past the general admission seats. They got their seats but realized there was no way to contact Jay to confirm the after show arrangements. Vince said he would speak to the usher after the show. The show was great. The guest hosts were Terry Bradshaw, Heidi Klum and Darius Rucker. After the show, they started escorting people out of the studio. When the usher got to their row, Russ said, "You'd better talk to THIS guy!", and pointed to Vince. Vince stated that they were supposed to meet up
On the stage of the Tonight Show.
From Left to Right, Russ Owens, Jay Leno, Vince Panicola, Garnet Ross

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with Jay after the show. The usher said she had to get her boss. A couple of minutes later a fellow came over and asked if he could help them. Vince again stated that they had an appointment with Jay. "Is there a name?", the gentleman replied, with a certain degree of question in his voice. Vince gave his name and the guy replied, "OH MY! You ARE on the list! You are supposed to be on stage!" (step two complete) They were escorted down to the stage where the photographer said, "Name please." The name was given and he said, "I've been looking for you guys!" This made them all feel alot better. They waited for a moment as Jay finished up with the previous set of people. As the 7-Litre guys approached the stage, Jay struggled to see the logos on the three guys shirts. Once he saw the 7-Litre logos, he said "HEY! You made it! Come on up." He chatted for a few minutes and then the pictures were taken. He told the guys to head on over to the garage and that he would meet them in a little while. He sent them back stage and up to his office to get a print out of directions from his assistant. The guys were met at the garage by two of Jay's workers.
Jay arrived shortly and spent the next hour and a half showing the guys around. This included going over many of Jays current projects, checking out some of the new cool tools Jay has gotten and a tour of his steam car collection including a Doble Model E Roadster owned by Howard Hughes. From there they walked over to the "Showroom" portion of the garage. where four regular car guys talked shop and looked in awe at this stunning collection. Jay was very gracious and genuinely funny. When they came across his Dusenburg Aero Coupe, Jay commented that "You can tell this car was designed to run over poor people! Just look at it! Every time I get into it, I have an uncontrollable urge to drive around and collect rent!". They of course spent some time going over Jay's 7-Litre. From the real leather interior
Jay's Twin Turbo 1000+ HP 1966 Olds Toronado. The idea was to build a car that looked stock. Even the rims LOOK stock.....but they Ain't!

to the custom air cleaner, this car defines the concept of RestoMod. All the looks of the original, while taking advantage of all the latest technology. Vince took Jay up on the offer to sit in his Olds Toronado, which was beautifully restored. They finished up the evening talking about Jays Ford GT and what a fantastic car Jay thinks it is for an

American production car. As the guys gave their thanks and got their directions back to the Interstate from Jay, he invited them all back to the garage the following day to watch the taping of the latest video for some custom scooters he has acquired. Not wanting to overstay their welcome, they thanked their host for the offer and for the wonderful day and hit the road for the two hour ride back to Chula Vista (step three and mission complete). The trip culmunated with a visit to the guys of the Southern California Galaxie Club, where they got to hook up with 7-Litre Group pals Cliff Mierczynski, Tom Yanulaytis and Russ' old friend Philip Cochran. Thanks to club officers, Tom, Dave, Richard and Mark for inviting us, and a special thanks to Allan Boer for his hospitality. The followiung day, Garn and Vince flew back home. Russ , of course had more friends to go see. A special thanks go out to their hostess Ann and of course Sadie, for their warm hospitality. And there you have it, the story of how three 7-Litreites got to meet Jay Leno. The King of Late night and a helluva nice car guy.
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