Jay Leno meets with GM service, parts managers

General Motors Corp. service and parts managers from Southern Nevada, Arizona and Utah gathered with Jay Leno of “The Tonight Show” at The Mirage during the group’s annual Christmas party.

The group included Bill Buckley, service manager for Findlay Cadillac Saab, along with Tom Hodulik, service manager for Henderson Chevrolet, and others.

“We do this every year at different hotels,” explained Buckley, who has been in the car business since 1978. “We voted to go see Jay Leno at The Mirage this year.”

The group attended a dinner prior to going to see Leno, who is a big car enthusiast and whose car collection has been featured several times on national television shows and in numerous print publications. All of the attendees met Leno backstage before his show.

“Tom had the idea of giving Jay a die cast model of the 2009 Z06,” said Buckley, adding that Leno just purchased the same vehicle. “All of the attendees in our group signed a letter to Jay thanking him for supporting the automobile industry. Jay really seemed to appreciate it.”

Leno owns an estimated 80 cars and 80 motorcycles. His multimillion-dollar collection also includes several Stanley Steamers from the early-1900s, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, muscle cars from the 1950s and ’60s; along with a ’55 Buick Roadmaster and a ’32 Packard Twin six 12-cylinder Morgan, to name a few. His first vehicle was a ’34 Ford pickup.

In fact, Leno’s collection is so immense that it occupies three football field-size warehouses. Four employees are needed to care for the collection. He most recently purchased a 2009 Chevrolet ZR-1 Corvette.

“We only dream of having a car collection like the one Jay Leno has,” laughed Buckley.

Hodulik, who has been a service manager at Henderson Chevrolet for eight years, said of Leno, “His enthusiasm has obviously been beneficial to this industry. The guy is so gracious. He welcomed us in. We congratulated him on his recent purchase of his 2009 Chevrolet ZR-1 Corvette, which is a high-performance world-class automobile.”

Hodulik said Leno recently showed his support by encouraging the government to help the domestic car companies.

“To me, Jay’s comment was invaluable to our industry,” said Hodulik. “We need to stay positive during these rough economic times, and we appreciate Jay Leno’s help. His enthusiasm is what keeps us all positive, that’s for sure.”

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