Jay Leno, the world’s highest-profile “car guy,” included the Petersen Automotive Museum in his most recent episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. Aired on April 26, the show covered a rare 1948 Davis Divan and The Petersen’s quest to restore it via the Indiegogo crowdfunding website.
No stranger to 3-wheeled cars, Jay took particular interest in the Davis. This car is one of only a handful of cars ever built in Los Angeles. Gary Davis managed to make 17 Divans in a hanger at the Van Nuys Airport from 1947-1948 before his company was shut down for failure to pay wages and taxes. Davis was later convicted of theft. Petersen Automotive Museum Chief Curator Leslie Kendall gave Jay a tour of the car. He also outlined the museum’s plans to restore the Davis in time for The Petersen’s grand reopening in December 2015, following a year-long, $125 million renovation. The museum is using crowdfunding as an innovative way to raise the $30,000 necessary to restore the car to display-worthy quality.
An unexpected benefit during filming was that museum Chief Curator Leslie Kendall got to spend some quality one-on-one time with Jay — while broken down on the side of the road. Petersen Collection Manager Dana Williamson diagnosed the problem as an issue with vacuum pressure in the gas tank, and Jay eventually drove the 3-wheeler back to his garage. As one of the world’s foremost collectors of old cars, Jay shrugged off the unexpected delay, emphasizing that the Davis needs a restoration.