Jay Leno Equates Buying a Ferrari to a “Dominatrix,” Prefers Porsche and McLaren

It’s not about the cars, it’s about the customer service

Jay Leno checks out the Ferrari Enzo engine at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan on January 5, 2003. In 2021, Leno explained why he doesn’t own a Ferrari.
Jay Leno will not be buying this Ferrari, thank you very much.
David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty

No one can say Jay Leno doesn’t love Ferraris. “I’ve always been impressed with every modern Ferrari I’ve driven, and they’re just amazing, amazing vehicles,” the 71-year-old host of Jay Leno’s Garage said in an episode discussing the plug-in hybrid SF90. Yes, that’s double “amazing.”

However, liking a car isn’t the same thing as wanting to buy a car. And in an interview with Jason Stein on his SiriusXM show Cars & Culture, Leno explained why he doesn’t own a Ferrari, and why he prefers cars from Porsche and McLaren.

“I just never liked dealing with the dealers,” he said, per a video clip of the conversation resurfaced by Carscoops. He added: “You know, you’re spending a tremendous amount of money, you should be made to feel like a customer.” 

Specifically, Leno bemoans Ferrari’s hierarchical buying structure, where prospective owners must buy entry-level cars first before having access to the more exclusive models. “I have to buy two crappy cars before I — yes — well, no, can I just buy the car?” he mused.

The exclusive and potentially burdensome nature of Ferrari ownership is an open secret of sorts, with the company preferring to stay mum while well-heeled owners and interested buyers occasionally offers glimpses into the world. Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank fame once equated the club of Ferrari to the Vatican. “It’s very mysterious. There are a lot of trinkets you have to wear, and a lot of rings you have to kiss,” he said, as noted by Wired.

If you want access to the supercar Vatican, you’ve got a long road ahead of you. But if you, like Leno, just want a great car with great customer service, he has two recommendations: McLaren and Porsche. 

“You know something? The smart thing about McLaren is the dealer service,” Leno told Stein. He explained how buying his MP4-12C was effortless, as he paid the exact sticker price, was actually talked out of buying more expensive carbon fiber brakes and was given a free horsepower upgrade after months of ownership. “When I bought my Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche brought it here in a flatbed, they sent two mechanics,” he added. “They sent me a jacket, here’s a book on the car, here’s a pen and pencil set.” 

“You know, [buying a Ferrari is] like rich guys that go to a dominatrix,” he said. “‘Oh, she kicked the crap out of me. It was fantastic!’ … I mean some guys like that.”  

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