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POCC Visits Jay Leno's Garage

Ron Berglund's 1968 Pontiac

The Story

Our adventure to Jay Leno’s garage started when Willa and I had the 1965 Pontiac 2+2 at the Phoenix, Concours D’elegance, in January of 2017. It was there, at the Saturday night banquet, that we met Donald Osborne, who is the appraiser on the Jay Leno Garage Show. He was one of the MC’s for the car show.

In talking with Donald, we discussed the car we brought to the show. He expressed an interest in seeing our car at the Concours the next day. As a kid his dad had purchased a 1967 Pontiac Catalina 4-door hard top. When he came to visit us and see our car the next day, on the Concours field, he was gracious enough to allow us to take pictures of him with our car. We exchanged business cards, and phone numbers; thus, I sent him some of the pictures we took while he was with us.

About a month later Donald called me to see if I could locate a car like the one his dad had. He needed the car, for the taping of the Jay Leno Garage Show on March 30th. Jay was going to do a “page out of Donald’s childhood” featuring his dad’s Pontiac, on the show. The story goes, as Donald tells it, his dad got a new job, while they were living in New York City. He needed a new car for this job. Donald and his brother were anxious to help pick out just the right car for their dad. They did a lot of research and came up with, what they perceived as the perfect car, a 1967 Peugeot, 4-door, which had all the “bells and whistles” they wanted. To their surprise their dad came home with a 1967 Pontiac, Catalina 4-door hardtop. His dad’s idea of a car, was something that the whole family would fit in, he didn’t think they needed all the extras….like air conditioning, radio, etc.

As the date of the show’s taping approached, Donald called again. He was getting nervous that he could not find a car, like his dads’. I told him that, one of our club members has a 1968 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door hardtop, which I thought, I could obtain for him. He was very excited to hear about that possibility.  I called Gayle and Helen Huls, and they were receptive to the idea of their car going on the show.

My son John, Dennis Simonson, and myself picked the car up at Gayle’s house in Madera, CA., and brought it home to clean it up. On March 30th, the three of us left at 3 am, heading to Burbank, CA for the taping. We arrived at 7 am and were greeted by Jay’s staff. While the camera crew were setting the cars up for the taping (they also were featuring the Peugeot), and waiting for Jay and Donald to arrive, we were able to roam around free in the garage and workshop. To try and explain the things that were available to work on cars and machines to make parts for cars would be hard to put into words. We were having the time of our lives! Around 10 am, Jay came roaring in the shop in 2016 Mustang, Cobra. He got out of the car, greeting us like we were someone that he had known for years. He had to go to make-up and change, but in between tapings he spent about an hour showing us around the workshop and his exotic cars, and motorcycles….which he was very knowledgeable about.

Donald showed up around 10:30, he was happy to see us with the Bonneville. By this time, we felt like old friends. We got to watch as Jay and Donald talked about the cars and recounted his childhood story. They did several takes. Then while the film crew cleaned up, so we could remove our car, Jay and Donald took us around and showed us more cars in various warehouses.

After we loaded up the car, Jay invited us to stay for lunch. He had the In-and-Out Burger Semi-Truck come in to feed everyone. They came in and set up a huge tent and opened up the side of the truck for business. It was impressive.

We will put this trip, getting to meet and see Jay Leno’s garage, as one of the highlights of our lives…..so far!!!

Ron Berglund

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