Wednesday, 05 August 2020 21:57

Collision Shop Owner Crosses 'Tour Jay Leno's Garage' Off His Bucket List After Winning CREF Auction 

Lisa and BJ Penrod Lisa and BJ Penrod


BJ Penrod, owner of BJ's Auto Theft and Collision in Denver, CO, was thrilled to learn that he'd entered the winning bid for a private tour of "Jay Leno's Garage."

The auction was held to benefit the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and its work to support collision repair educational programs, schools and students.


"As soon as I heard about the auction, I added 'tour Jay Leno's Garage' to my bucket list," Penrod stated. "My wife Lisa and I watch the TV show, and we can't believe we won---she's even more excited than I am!"


"I heard about CREF's auction from my BASF paint supplier, and since we're big fans of Jay Leno, Lisa and I were very interested. We agreed to start with a $5,000 bid, adjusting our bid as it increased because we had our hearts set on it. We were still shocked that we won with a bid of $10,600. We feel fortunate that we've won such an amazing experience, especially knowing that the funds are benefitting such a great cause: the future of our industry."


As the auction winner, Penrod will be permitted to take three guests on his private tour of Big Dog Garage, where "Jay Leno's Garage" is filmed and where his collection of nearly 200 vehicles is housed. The date of Penrod's tour has not been determined, but he has chosen his guests.


"My wife of 40 years and I have been in the racecar industry for many years, and Lisa is just as much of a gearhead as I am---she loves the smell of 90 weight and can't wait for our trip," he said. "We've invited a couple we often travel with, and we're hoping to visit Chip Foose's shop while we're out there. We're waiting to schedule so we can try to work around Jay Leno's schedule because we'd really like to meet him."


The Jay Leno Garage Tour auction was facilitated by leading heavy duty vehicle lift manufacturer Stertil-Koni, whose equipment is used in Leno's Big Dog Garage in Burbank, CA.


Carl Boyer, shop equipment specialist for Stertil-Koni, first met Jay Leno and his crew at the 2012 SEMA show, and he recalls, "Jay and his crew are very genuine people and we enjoyed working with them. Jay is one of the most gracious and charitable people I've ever met and he's very supportive of a variety of non-profit organizations."


Boyer's video with Jay Leno can be viewed here.


Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for CREF, explained the organization's new innovative approach to fundraising: "For obvious reasons, corporate donations will be tough for many this year, and CREF is sensitive to the fact that many aren't in a position to contribute like they have in the past. At the same time, schools need more help than ever; many have expressed concerns about reductions to their already limited budgets.


"We decided to explore creative ways to raise funds, and CREF is collaborating with industry partners to create auctions for unique experiences and items that will attract all sorts of bidders, not just collision industry professionals."


Upon hearing about CREF's new fundraising efforts, Boyer's initial inclination was to donate equipment, but he quickly realized, "That would only attract the interest of a certain demographic, so I started thinking outside the box about an auction we could coordinate that would have a much broader appeal. 'Jay Leno's Garage' came to mind. When I contacted them and told about everything CREF does for the collision repair industry, they offered up a private tour to auction within 48 hours."

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