Jay Leno’s Picks for the Greatest Cars Ever Made From Every Decade

He knows his stuff.

Did you hear this? Did you hear about this?

Comedian, talk show host and automotive historian Jay Leno took a break from his TV show and duties leading the Hot Wheels Legends Tour to provide Maxim with his exclusive round-up of the best cars ever made in the gallery above.

Hot Wheels already made a version of the McLaren F1. During the ‘Hot Wheels Legends Tour,’ Leno will help pick another worthy car to be cast as a toy.

Leno broke them down by decade, and while recognizing that there are many good candidates in group, he generally chose the most historically significant car from each era.

Indeed, Leno no sooner named his pick for the car of the current decade than he hedged. His head was turned by Chevrolet’s stunning achievement in the Corvette ZR1 we just tested.  Leno was dazzled by his drive in the car, when the 68 year-old with a $400 million net worth and a $50 million collection of more than 20 cars piloted the hot Chevy at 200 mph.

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“It was rock solid!” the affable host enthused. In contrast, the vaunted Porsche Carrera GT “walked around” unsettlingly at 190 MPH, he reported.

He also pointed out the Ford Mustang GT350 as a current favorite. “The Mustang GT350R has basically a Ferrari engine,” he said of that car’s Ferrari-like flat-plane crankshaft V8. “And it handles and stops and go around corners. It is pretty amazing.”


This illustrates the difference between today’s crop of world-class American performance cars compared to other decades when the domestics didn’t do as well. “In the ‘70s when you wanted the high performance car they just put some stickers on it,” he groused. “Now there are some true performance cars!”

The great thing about the Hot Wheels Legends Tour is that if you disagree with any of Leno’s selections on this list, you can visit the tour’s nearest stop and let him know, while helping to pick the next Hot Wheels toy car.