Book Club interview on Jay Leno’s Garage, Burbank, California: Saturday, 7 August 2010

Online, Jay Leno’s Garage is a weekly video hosted by the man himself in celebration of ‘anything that rolls, explodes and makes noise’. On the ground, it’s several industrial units full of a great many cars.

Jay very kindly invited me there after I left Autobooks-Aerobooks, for a book club interview and much more besides – was Hoagy Carmichael really the model for James Bond, were the passes given to World War One officers heading for a weekend of rest and relaxation in Paris really how Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang got its name…

When we finished, he gently ticked me off for turning up in shorts – the video would have a shorter shelf life if viewers only associated it with summer – but he still invited me to stay for lunch. The first ride afterwards was an eye-watering, cheek-rippling tear up into the hills in a Type 37A Bugatti. The second was a gentle tour down to Pasadena and back in a Speed Six Bentley.

That night, I was glad I’d worn shorts. My shins felt so smooth, and I learned that the finest moisturiser in the world is a thin jet of oil spraying into the footwell of a Type 37A Bugatti.