Jay Leno's Garage welcomes some amazing cars onto the show, but rarely are they as historically significant as this week's machine. The 1951 Porsche 356 SL you'll see in this video is the very first race car Porsche ever campaigned. Not only that, but it made its debut at Le Mans and ended up winning the 1100-cc class.
Surprisingly, this car isn't owned by Porsche. Rather it's owned by a man in California, and it was restored by Rod Emory of Emory Motorsports. Emory explains that Porsche got rid of the car soon after it was done racing it. Famed importer Max Hoffman then brought the car to the US. It went to a man in California, who at one point chopped off the top and wheel skirts to save weight. It remained in California throughout its life and eventually wound up in the hands of the current owner, who began researching it with Emory to determine if it really was the first Porsche race car.
From Emory's description of the restoration process, he and his team went to great lengths to ensure the car was restored to the condition it was in for the race. They took 3D scans of other 356 SLs to make sure they got the top shaped properly, and machined new screws for mounting the skirts that were the same as the originals. They also kept the car's various imperfections. Emory points out a ding by one of the wheel skirts that developed after mechanics were putting on and removing the skirt. He also shows where a hose was stuffed behind a fog light so that it was aimed properly, something that was done on the car originally.
There are many more fascinating details to this car and its story, so you really should check out the video above. It's also one of the few times you won't see Leno driving, since this is such a valuable car, in a monetary and historical sense.