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Leno joins Callum for Mille Miglia

Couple will drive rare 1951 XK 120 Ecurie Ecosse Roadster

Published: May 17, 2014, 5:00 PM

leno and callum

Talk show heavyweight and renowned classic car collector Jay Leno is joining Jaguar design director Ian Callum at the Mille Miglia, the "world's most beautiful car race" running this week in Italy. The pair will make the thousand-mile trek in a 1951 XK 120 Ecurie Ecosse roadster.

Theirs is the only surviving example of the three original cars built to launch the Scottish racing team in 1952, most famously associated with aristocrat Sir James Scott-Douglas, whom the press material describes as "raffish." The world could use a little more raffishness, don't you think? Scott-Douglas and the Ecurie Ecosse competed in several endurance races across Europe. The car has since been the subject of meticulous restoration to its original glory; the Leno/Callum car is in the class Flag Metallic Blue of the Ecurie Ecosse team. It recently sold at auction by Bonhams for nearly a million dollars; it's been loaned back to Jaguar Heritage Racing expressly for the event.

Callum said that as a Scotsman himself, the Ecurie Ecosse was particularly close to his heart.

"I'm fortunate to have an XK 120 in my garage - not to mention a few other incredible cars from Coventry - but this Ecurie Ecosse XK 120 is one of the most beautiful Jaguars ever built," Leno said, making less affluent fans everywhere weep. "I absolutely adore it. It's a real honor to be asked to drive it on the Mille Miglia and to be able to revel in its history with someone like Ian is a true privilege."

Other celebrities driving in the event this year include Brit actor Jeremy Irons and American actor Adrien Brody. The Mille Miglia races from Brescia to Rome and back; the 375 vehicles involved are all models that took place in at least one of the historical Mille Miglia races from 1927 to 1957.