Jay Leno was spotted indulging his love of retro cars the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend by taking a vintage Bentley out for a spin in Los Angeles.
The 72-year-old was discharged from a burn center on Monday after a horrifying accident when he was working on one of his throwback automobiles and a 1907 steam engine exploded in his face.
However he clearly has not allowed the incident to dim his affection for his impressive car collection, and five days after leaving the hospital he was back in action navigating one of the vehicles through LA traffic.
The legendary former late-night talk-show host seemed in fine fettle during his latest outing, dressed in his typical style including a full-sleeved denim shirt.
Some burns however were still visible on the fingers of his right hand as he raised it up to his face.
One day before Thanksgiving he was seen visiting the hospital where he was treated for his third degree burns – as he returned to pick up cards from the heroic medical staff who took care of him and to gift them a box of cookies.
Driving himself in a blue electric Tesla, 72-year-old Leno returned to the Grossman Burn Center – where he had been a patient after he was scalded when a vintage 1907 steam engine suddenly exploded in his face.
He spent ten days inside the specialist facility in LA for treatment for the serious burns to his arms and face before being discharged on Monday – and his grizzly marks are still visible on his body, with his surgeon warning he may have permanent scars.
Leno, wearing a stylish double denim ensemble, headed back to his car carrying a box of cookies from the trendy Los Angeles Milk Jar, together with a thank you note – just a day before Thanksgiving.
Despite the horrific accident, the comedian was in good spirits as he made the trip to visit his caregivers.
He was then snapped walking out carrying a box with what looked like gifts which he carefully placed in the trunk of his car. Leno then headed to a Chick-fil-A drive-thru to grab some food – flashing a peace sign as he ordered.
The iconic TV host, 72, had been at his LA mansion earlier this month on November 12 when one of the vehicles ‘erupted into flames without warning’ – with the star sustaining facial burns and requiring skin-graft surgery.
The star told paparazzi who greeted him as he stopped at a gas station on Tuesday that he was doing ‘good’ and still has plans to drive the vintage car that burst into flames next week as the car didn’t do anything wrong.’
His doctor, Dr. Peter Grossman, has previously warned that the once-popular late-night host may suffer from permanent scarring as a result but said in a statement on Monday he is pleased with his progress after the star spent time in an oxygen chamber.
He added that he is ‘optimistic’ that Leno ‘will make a full recovery,’ as he continues to receive outpatient care.
The star also revealed he will be taking to the stage at 7pm on Sunday at the Comedy Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California, a place he has been performing at weekly for three decades.
When a snapper suggested he get some rest before the gig, the star quipped: ‘Yeah, I need barbecue!’
Dr. Peter Grossman told ET of Leno’s recovery: ‘He’s got a very strong attitude. He’s a very strong individual.
‘And he’s a person who really is looking to move forward, to try to find a way to get past this episode of his life and to get back to what he normally likes to do, which is to be out there and entertain and be with the people.
‘I think at some point soon he’ll get there, but I’ve had to tell him that, for the time being, he needs to sit back and take care of Jay.
Leno said that a fast thinking friend saved his life after a gasoline fire broke out in his luxury LA garage on Saturday as the one time king of late night faces the possibility of needing skin grafts.
In a statement Leno explained: ‘I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am ok. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.’
He later told TMZ that it was his friend, Dave, who saved his life, by jumping on him and smothering the flames.
The host said that he was repairing a clogged fuel line when he got sprayed on his hands and face with gasoline.
Leno’s eyes and ears were not affected by the fire. On Monday, Page Six reported that Leno may need skin grafts as a result of the burns.
George Swift, a mechanic in the comedian’s personal garage, told ET that it was a steam car that sent Leno to the hospital.
‘It was a steam car. This steam was made by gas. It got sprayed, as a gas,’ Swift, a mechanic who works at the garage, said.
‘He called me, and he told me there was a fire and the fire department is coming,’ the employee continued.
In a separate interview with Access Hollywood, Swift said that Leno is ‘going to be fine.’ He added: ‘It’s nothing life-threatening. He’s in great spirits, but you know, it’s going to take a while.’
Leno had previously shared details on his extensive collection of Barrons.com, sharing more details on how he acquired the lot of old-school cars.
The steam cars, which he had said are ‘reliable and dependable,’ require a boiler to heat water to steam which then is used to drive a piston that turns the vehicle’s wheels.
In 2021, the ‘Tonight Show’ veteran was actually stopped in his 1906 Stanley Steamer for speeding on Interstate 405 in California.
Leno’s steam collection includes ‘cars, stationary engines, and even an enormous Advance steam tractor,’ according to the 2021 story published by Barrons.
Jay Leno’s Garage posted a picture of the host posing inside of his garage with three of his extensive car collection on Instagram.
His collection includes vehicles which are both affordable and attainable, with the host of Jay Leno’s Garage having an affinity for motor vehicles.
It is not the first time the star has put himself at risk with his beloved vehicles, as he was left visibly shaken after getting in a car crash while filming the CNBC show in 2016 with legendary stunt driver Bob Riggle.
Both ended up upside down after Riggle lost control and the car rolled over, though neither were hurt.
In 2019, he spoke about his battle with high cholesterol after he was shown a scan of a blockage in his heart.
Working in collaboration with Cholesterol 911, he urged others to overhaul their lifestyles.
He said; ‘We really want people to see the connection, because a lot of people don’t realize high cholesterol — and if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, you’re increasing your risk for another one.
‘It’s like an earthquake, it might not destroy the house, but it certainly weakens the structure.’
‘There’s a lot of people walking around like that, they’re just time bombs. You’ve got all this cholesterol, you don’t realize it until it actually hits, you know?
‘It’s like in a car, if even one piece of dirt gets in the eye of the needle of the jet, and boom and no more gas comes through. And that’s what happens with your heart.’
He has previously detailed taking medication and using a portable EKG device that monitors his heart rhythm and detects irregular heartbeats.
Leno added: ‘I’m not one of those guys. I don’t run five miles a day and do all that kind of stuff.
‘Hopefully I’m appealing to people who think like me, which is probably the majority of the population, who would like to do more but not if it sounds like kind of a pain.
‘But this is not a pain, it’s really simple. You go to the doctor, it’s a quick visit, he can tell you what you need to do.’
The star was joined by Joe Biden on an episode of his show in October, with the thrill-seeking president pushing his beloved Corvette to over 100mph while drag racing.
Biden and Leno reunited this summer, and drove his 1967 Corvette Stingray around the James J. Rowley Secret Service training facility in Beltsville, Maryland.
The president whizzed around at astounding speeds of 118mph in front of the camera, while he admitted that he missed being able to drive himself around while living in the White House.
Biden also appeared in Leno’s car-centric television show while he was vice president, in October 2016.
The president, who frequently discusses his love of cars, raced Colin Powell in that episode – before he died October last year at the aged 84.
In 2016, Powell lost the race to Biden, and Michael, 59, said he intended to avenge his father – saying he would ‘settle the score’.
Michael was driving a 2015 Corvette with 455 horsepower V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, worth $55,000.
Biden was racing him in his $150,000 1967 Stingray, with 350 horsepower and a four-speed manual gearbox.