It’s not everyday you get an invite to Jay Leno’s garage or get to have your daily driver washed by his detailing team. So when the opportunity came around I said yes without any hesitation. I had been to Leno’s garage once before when he and his detailing team announced their line of products – Leno’s Garage Advanced Vehicle Care.
Full disclosure: I was asked to get my car extra dirty, so I didn’t wash it for a month and a half. I also got to look at Leno’s collection after.
While Leno may have his name on the label, the products have been specifically developed and formulated by chemistry whizzes and detailers Jeremy Porrazzo and Chris Walters. The product lineup includes vehicle washes, detailers, polishers, and even a series of applicators, buckets, and microfiber towels.
Porrazzo and Walters have been detailing Leno’s cars and bikes for the past decade. The two got their start by offering to polish and clean his collection of 160 cars and 130 motorcycles — for free.
Shortly after, Leno offered them the official car-detailing gig.
“That was always the endgame,” Walters said. “To get a branded product out there with Jay’s name on it.”
Walters shared that when they began working with Leno they had been developing a line of black label detailing products. Those products helped to create the Leno line; all the formulas and mix designs were developed in-house and with the help of chemists.
Unlike similar lines, these are color coded, inside the bottles as well as on the labels — orange for quick detailing, blue for hand wax, red for vehicle wash — for easy identification.
To wash my daily driven 2014 Ford Mustang, Walters started with Leno’s Wheel Cleaner.
My set of Rohana RC22 19-inch wheels are the newest addition to my car and still new enough for me to worry about how the cleaner would react with them. Walters assured me its safe to use on a variety of finishes like chrome, paint, anodized, aluminum, and powder coat. He shared that the wheel cleaner formula works to quickly break down brake dust and road grime – something my wheels seem to be perpetually covered in.
When the cleaner is applied to the wheels it reacts to the brake dust and turns purple. It’s a completely visual detail, but I found it to be exciting and liked the ability to know that it’s working away at that brake dust.
“Detailing Leno’s cars isn’t as easy as you would think,” Walters said as he moved onto washing the car with Leno’s “Wash and Wax.”
“He goes out and drives them,” he said, adding “they come back really dirty sometimes.” Walters noted the mud I managed to accumulate on the side skirts and wheel wells rivaled that of what Leno manages to collect on his cars. Hearing this put a slight grin on my face knowing that I share a passion of driving with Leno. However, I felt bad knowing I was not making it any easier for them to clean my car.
The Wash and Wax soap smells good and it creates lots of foam, but my favorite aspect of it is that it works with Ceramic Pro. Ceramic Pro is a multi-layerable and clear liquid ceramic coating that works essentially as an additional self cleaning clear coat. I haven’t had it applied to my car because it makes washing it a more difficult process. But, it may be time to rethink that as Leno’s soap takes the “difficult” out of washing it.
According to Walters, Leno’s Wash and Wax has elements within it to help deflect water, similar to what Ceramic Pro does. Additionally, the soap is biodegradable, PH balanced, and leaves a high-gloss layer of protection.
To dry the car after the wash, Walters used Leno’s Evaporate – a drying aid that helps prevent water spots and streaks – and a damp towel. It seems counterproductive, but he used the wet towel to distribute Evaporate on the car, which caused the water to bead and roll off while he wiped away excess water.
“We aren’t trying to completely dry the car at this point,” Walters said. “We’re simply trying to absorb as much excess water as possible and distribute product evenly along the surface.”
Walters then used a second dry towel to buff the area to a high-gloss finish. “It can become difficult to remove this stuff if you let it dry on the car before buffing it away,” Walters said, adding that it’s best to focus on one area at a time, applying and wiping away the product quickly.
Finally, they vacuumed the interior while Walters used Leno’s Garage Interior Detailer. The detailer has a gentle cleansing formula that was designed to work with sensitive interior surfaces as well as plastic, rubber, vinyl, and leather.
Available online only via Leno’s “Garage” website, the products range in price from $9.99 to $17.99 a bottle. Walters said that by offering the product directly to customers it allows him and Porrazzo to get direct feedback so they can continue to improve, evolve, and develop products.
To order Leno’s Garage Advanced Vehicle Care products or for more information, see Leno’s Garage.
Photography by Nicole Ellan James