As comedian Jay Leno shot to fame as a prime time TV presenter with NBC, the US network’s rivals got in line to poach the rising star.
The Tonight Show host had signed a contract in 1992, but competitors CBS were desperate to tempt him away as it became clear he was a rising star.
So when the channel’s directors asked one of the New Yorker’s friends what it would take to lure him away, he told them to “get him something he really wants”. Within days they had sent him a 1964 gold and white Bonneville with a plaque on the bars that read “Ride on over to CBS”.
It made me think about moving network, because any employer that’s into bikes has to be good, right?Jay Leno
The bike, totally authentic apart from a front fender stripe that Leno insists is an eighth of an inch too thin, had been owned by British rock star Adam Ant.
Leno, who admits regressing to the nine-year-old boy who read motorcycle mags in his maths class when he swings his leg over his Bonnie, said: ”It made me think about moving network, because any employer that’s into bikes has to be good, right?”
Join Leno – who stayed with NBC but kept the ride – on a tour of his garage and a skip round the block as he reveals why the Bonneville ’64 has no peer.