Monthly Archives: January 2016

Jay Leno’s Impressive Collection

It probably comes as no surprise that most of the staff at Backyard Buddy loves cars—especially rare, unusual, and collectable ones—so we wanted to take an opportunity to talk about one of the best-known collections out there.

Jay Leno, most famous for hosting The Tonight Show, is almost as famous for his love of cars. At last count, he has put together a collection of roughly 150 cars and more than 90 motorcycles, although like most dedicated collectors, he is always buying and selling, so the numbers change on a regular basis.

Jay isn’t happy to simply amass a collection of cars, and has become one of the most recognized faces of the hobby. His NBC show Jay’s Garage showcases some of his more unusual cars, and his regular Popular Mechanics column ( provides a glimpse into some of the challenges he faces maintaining and restoring some of the most unique vehicles ever made.

Jay has an affinity for unusual vehicles, and unlike many collectors, refuses to focus on one type or era of car or motorcycle. Some of our favorite vehicles in his collection include:

•    1926-27 Duesenberg Model X: Jay worked for nearly 20 years to find this rare piece of early American muscle, one of just 13 produced. Like so many collectors do, he heard rumors that a local car guy had “something interesting” in his garage, and after a 20 year friendship, he finally found the Duesenberg when the man’s family invited him to look in the garage after the collector moved to a retirement home.
•    1916 Owen Magnetic: One of the more unusual cars in Jay’s collection is this century-old hybrid. Early automakers experimented with using gasoline engines as generators to power electric motors to actually spin the wheels to get around the complexities of getting rotational power from the engine to the wheels. The Owen exemplified this concept, using an electromagnetic transmission to remove the complex geared transmission from the drivetrain and keeping no mechanical linkage between the engine and the wheels. The design failed in its time, but the hybrid concept is alive and well a century later.
•    1909 Baker Electric: This is another car that shows just how many different ideas were tried before we settled on the gas engine for nearly a century. At the time, electric cars like the Baker were considered cleaner and easier to drive and maintain, and were recommended for the ladies of high society to drive to do their social appointments and shopping, since they involved no smoke, gasoline, or gears full of grease. This one is even dearer to us, since it was made just up the road in Cleveland.
•    1963 Chrysler Turbine Concept Car: Continuing his collection’s theme of alternative power plants, Jay’s got one of the last remaining Chrysler turbine cars. As you may have gathered from the name, this car uses a turbine engine instead of a traditional piston engine, a perfect idea for a country moving into the jet and atomic age in the early 60s. So why did a jet powered car never take off? Mostly because it could run on just about any fuel except the leaded gas that was available at every service station in America.
•    1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead: We’ve got to admit that as much as we love cars, there’s nothing quite like a classic Harley. This bike is another great collector story. When Jay got the bike, it was in great shape, but hadn’t been ridden since 1952. Figuring it would need some restoration work, he set it aside to work on other projects. When he finally got around to evaluating it for restoration, he was surprised when he added some gas, kicked the starter, and it started right up! He changed the tires, did some basic maintenance, and rides it entirely unrestored today.

We’re happy that Jay Leno is providing a good home to all of these unique pieces of America’s transportation history, but we’re even happier that he is a great ambassador for auto and motorcycle collectors everywhere, and shares his knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone who watches his show, reads his articles, or is lucky enough to talk to him in person. If you’re working on starting your own collection and want a way to make maintenance, restoration, and storage easier, give us a call at (800) 837-9353 to learn more about our lifts!

10 Commandments for Car Collectors

As those of you who have called us or come to visit the shop know, one of the best things about Backyard Buddy is that you can always talk to a real person to answer your questions and help you find what you need. We take customer service very seriously, but being real people we also like to have some fun! In that spirit, we offer you 10 Commandments for the car collector, paraphrased from a posting on our wall at the factory.  Follow these free bits of hidden wisdom, and enjoy a long and prosperous life of car collecting!

Thou shalt not store thy cars out of doors, even under a cover.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s car, nor his garage, nor his battery charger.
Thou shalt not love thy cars more than thy wife and children; more than other family members is acceptable.
Thou shalt not read thy car magazines on company time, lest thy employer render it impossible for thee to continue the car payments.
Thou shalt not despise thy neighbor’s Edsel, nor his DeSoto, nor even his 1947 Plymouth.
Thou shalt not use to hold or store thy cars any item made of such cheap, low-quality parts that thou wouldst never dream of putting them into the car.
Thou shalt not deceive thy wife into thinking thou art taking her for a romantic Sunday drive when indeed thou art going out to look at another car.
Thou shalt not tell thy spouse the entire cost of thy latest restoration when she is holding anything heavy or sharp.
Thou shalt not promise thy wife a new addition to the house and then use it to store cars; additionally, thou shalt not store cars in the attic.
Thou shalt not buy thy wife a floor jack for Christmas—even from Backyard Buddy!

The Power of Referrals

Think for a moment about how you discovered your favorite restaurant. Though a few of us may be the adventurous type who see a place pop up and immediately go to try it, the rest of us probably check out a new place because someone we trust recommends it to us.  That’s a very simple example, but restaurants, especially ones that don’t belong to huge chains, are prime examples of businesses that thrive because of referrals and satisfied customers.

If you were wondering how all this relates to car lifts, no, Backyard Buddy is not starting a restaurant. We are, however, a member of that group of businesses that run on the power of referrals.  Our customers are so excited about our products that they can hardly help telling their friends about the rugged craftsmanship, highest-quality materials, and personal service Backyard Buddy always provides. They trust us enough to send their friends to us, and we consider that the highest praise we can be given.

Referrals are even more important for everyone in an industry like ours. For restaurants, the customer’s stakes are lower—if you go to one you don’t really care for, all you’re out is a few extra bucks you would have spent anyway, and the new experience and time with friends usually makes up for it.  But with an important investment like a car or truck lift (which itself protects the even more important investments you’ve made in your vehicles), you simply do not have time to try out one you don’t like or one that isn’t strong enough to get the job done. The cost is just too high.

That’s why our customers recommend Backyard Buddy lifts and accessories so consistently.  There is no better way to save your friends time, money and worry than by introducing them to the products you trust on a day-to-day basis. Not only is it a service to your friends, it’s the best way you can show a business your appreciation for their quality product or service: help them provide that same product or service to someone else!

So as we start the new year, everyone at Backyard Buddy says thank you to all of you who have helped grow our business with the power of your referrals.  We wholeheartedly appreciate it, and look forward to serving you and your friends for many years to come!

Come See Backyard Buddy in Atlantic City!

We’re always happy to have customers visit us at our factory and showroom in Warren, Ohio, but we also love going to car shows and auctions to show off our lifts and meet our fellow “car guys.”

One of our favorite places to go is the Classics in Atlantic City auction and car show put on by G. Potter King Auctions. If you’re particularly astute, you’ve already guessed where it is. The event runs from Friday, February 26th, to Sunday, February 28th, 2016 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Tickets for the event are $25 for the weekend, and can be purchased online (

The Classics in Atlantic City show is the largest indoor car show and auction in the United States, and has been a mainstay of the annual show and auction calendar for more than 40 years. Each year if fills the 500,000 square feet of the convention center with nearly 1,000 cars up for sale and auction, a huge vendor area (we’ll be in booth #s 818, 819 & 820, so stop by and visit), and thousands of people who are as into cars, trucks, and other vehicles as we are.

Last year’s three-day event drew 70,000 people, and featured more than 100 years of automotive history with about 500 cars up for auction and 450 for direct sale in the large Car Corral area. This year’s full catalog hasn’t been released yet, but if past auctions are any guide, there will be something for everybody, from Model Ts, to luxury cars of the 20s and 30s, to 60s American Muscle, to modern European performance cars. Among the cars already listed are a 1931 Ford Model A, a 1939 Packard Sedan, and more than one 1967 Corvette.

One small tip: if you’re planning to attend and bid, it’s about ⅓ less expensive to register as a bidder online before the auction ($195 until 2/15/16) than to do it at the show ($295).

For more information on the event, check out it’s webpage at We hope to see you there!