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Jay Leno Drives, Talks GT-Rs at Engine Factory

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Oct. 15 – Yokohama – Driving in Japan at any hour can frazzle the best of international drivers, but taking the wheel of a Nissan GT-R at night on the streets of the capital city’s electronics district?

Jay Leno stepping off the bus during his visit to Nissan's Yokohama plant

No problem, says comedian Jay Leno, who capped a day of car design and heritage garage touring in Japan by taking the super car for a drive around Tokyo’s Akihabara.

“It’s a bit like driving in England, as you’re on the other side of the road,” Leno said . “The traffic is unbelievable, but I’ve yet to see a dirty car on the road. People here seem to take a great deal of pride in their possessions.”

“I didn’t see an overheating car, I didn’t see a dead car by side of the road, I didn’t see a flat tire. Everything seemed to move, and in LA you can’t drive and not see a mattress, a shoe, an old car. You don’t see any of that here.”

Jay Leno measures camshaft clearances on a Nissan VR38DETT engine for the GT-R"It's very clean. Everyone seems to take great pride in their automobiles because it's a hassle to own one. It's a major possession, so you really have to want it."

“In America you can buy cars for $500.  You don’t have to have them inspected, you just go, and when they crash you leave them there,” he joked.

The comedian, on his first visit to Japan, later toured the Yokohama factory where GT-R engines are made.

“People wonder why these cars cost so much, and then you come and see how they’re assembled, and you almost wonder how can they do it so cheaply,” Leno said.

Comedian Jay Leno watches a VR38DETT engine for the GT-R being assembled

“An engine like this is so labor-intensive, so it’s fun to see the mixture of computerized technology with the old hand-eye stuff. It’s very quiet in there. It’s like being in a library, everybody tiptoes around and each worker does his job. Nobody’s looking at a clock. They only build 13 engines a day – and that’s a whole group, so it’s quite methodical. They take their time, and it’s a fascinating process to watch just to see how it’s done.”

“I like mechanical things like mechanical watches, and just the mechanical nature of the process, though we live in an age where everything is computer-controlled, how mechanical it is, is fascinating to see.”

Automotive Trends, Cars, Design, GT-R, Motorsports, Production

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