VIDEO: Jay Leno drives the Autozam AZ-1

In the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, the car collector gets behind the wheel of another Japanese great, the Autozam AZ-1. The gull-winged, mid-engined, kei-classed sports car seems to charm the host, who actually says he might consider buying one to add to his Mazda collection that already includes an RX-8 and 12A-swapped Cosmo Sport. 

The car is owned by turbo engineer Ashley DeLuca, who bought the car while living in Japan and brought it back to the States when she returned home. She does an admirable job of trying to keep Jay Leno on track with the car, despite his rapid fire and random questions. By the end, he gives it perhaps the highest compliment he can: “It’s really not that different than a Lamborghini Miura to drive,” except for the size.

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4 Responses to VIDEO: Jay Leno drives the Autozam AZ-1

  1. Myron Vernis said:

    I drove my AZ-1 yesterday. Ben didn’t do a post about it. Yes, I’m hurt.

  2. cesariojpn said:

    Jay Leno has a nasty habit of steamrolling people whenever they try to talk in “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

  3. speedie said:

    As a rotary fan, and RX-8 owner, I loved how he mentioned he owns an RX-8, oh yeah and a Cosmo. I thought the video was very enjoyable and the owner was very knowledgeable about the car. Only odd moment was when neither of them could guess what the AZ stood for in AZ-1, which is just an abbreviation for Autozam.

  4. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    Great video! I’m surprised how he was able to get in & out of the car. I’m 5’5” and want a flat bottom steering wheel. Being a Kei car, there a few areas that aren’t exactly robust like the gull wing door strut mounts and door catches. Mine had stress fractures & I went back in & had my friend weld them up. I would not slam tthe doors down or especially up. The body panels are fiber reinforced plastic & while making things very accesible, I found a number of the mounting points broken or fractured in need of some epoxy work with my own reinforcement added. US batteries need a little jury rigging to the mount & connectors to fit. A/C fittings are wierd so I haven’t gotten around to servicing the system yet. The rear panel substructure is suseptible to rust with the engine layout. I still have a long way to go to learn this car.

    One if the intersting things to me about the car is how the production prototype was done in England. A specialized cottage industry in itself. There are photos of it floating around the web. I find it facinating to see the gap between concept & production.

    In the end, she said very well; I’ve enjoyed every single minute I have owned it.

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