If you are half the fan of off-road racing history that I am this one should interest you. Recently, Jay Leno dropped a new episode on his Jay Leno’s Garage youtube channel. The series highlights various vehicles, the builders, and the impact the automotive industry has had on history. If you have never heard of it, I highly encourage you to check it out. The series does not exclusively focus on off-road-related content, but there is something for everyone and new episodes come out every week.
In the episode we are focusing on, Leno and documentary film producer Amy Lerner, highlight the contributions of off-road icon Rod Hall. The centerpiece of the feature is Rod Hall’s Baja 1000-winning 1968 Ford Bronco, his contributions to the sport and his numerous wins are also discussed. For those that may not know, Hall is widely known as a professional off-road racer. He was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame (ORMHAF) in 2005.
Just a few of Rod Hall’s accolades:
- Rod Hall and Larry Minor won their class in the very first 1967 NORRA Mexican 1000. They drove Rod’s Jeep CJ-5.
- Rod Hall would enter the next 50 Baja 1000 races, continuously without missing one, and is the only person to do so.
- Out of those 50 races, he won 25, including an overall win with Larry Minor in a Ford Bronco in 1969. That was incredibly unique and is the only 4×4 production vehicle to ever win the Baja 1000 overall.
- Rod Hall was enshrined in the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005.
- Rod Hall had over 200 wins in off-road racing.
The Film: One More Win
Included in the episode are perspectives and shared insights from Amy Lerner. For any readers that might not be familiar with Ms. Lerner, she is quite an accomplished racer herself. In fact, Lerner trained under Hall. Their relationship was strong enough that Hall agreed to participate in a documentary about his life created by Lerner. The documentary “One More Win” details Rod Hall’s desire to set a world record that will never be broken. It starts with the lead-up to Hall’s final Baja 1000 race. The film even shares the experience of when Lerner reveals Hall’s unfortunate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Despite the diagnosis, Hall was still able to complete his 50th consecutive and final Baja 1000 in 2017.
Off Road Xtreme’s off-road historian, John Elkin did a deep dive into the One More Win documentary and went on to share his extensive knowledge of Rod Hall and his racing story.
Back in the Jay Leno’s Garage episode, Lerner shares the beginning of her friendship with Hall. She shares; “I met Rod back in 2010 before I went to the Gazelle Rally in Morocco for the first time. He was my trainer. I had no idea who he was or what he knew how to do. He was super, super humble.”
Rod Hall Makes History
Hall drove the red and blue Ford Bronco to numerous racing victories starting in the 1960s. That early success is what motivated Hall all those years. Hall is the only one to complete 50 consecutive Baja 1000 races. He is also the only person to win the race overall in a factory 4-wheel drive vehicle. Hall is also credited with a 37-consecutive race win streak. This was and is the longest unbroken winning streak in competitive off-road racing history. Hall passed away in 2019 at age 82.
Hall’s granddaughter, Shelby Hall, now owns Rod Hall’s legendary 1968 Bronco. She also co-drove the Bronco with Lerner in the 2017 Mint 400 race. They took 3rd in their class at the event.
Jay Leno’s Garage Episode
The discussion of this epic off-roader starts in the garage of course. The walk-around includes details about Hall’s past, and how he got started in the off-road industry. From there, the actual details of the Bronco are touched on. Leno states that “If you know nothing about vehicles this looks like the 60s. It just has a period look to it.” That it does.
While the original styling is certainly still evident, the 4×4 has received some upgrades. In the next few minutes of the episode, the specific performance upgrades are discussed. If you are familiar with Jay Leno’s sense of humor, then you will not be disappointed. In particular, there is a sequence discussing the early days of the Baja 1000. The early days’ wild lack of rules should bring a chuckle to viewers.
In The Wild
Following the garage discussion, Lerner and Leno head out for a test drive in the legendary off-road rig. The pair discusses some of the biggest challenges of driving a vehicle like this over a great distance. Jay also reveals his impressions of the Bronco’s new found speed and power available. “It is fun,” Leno exclaimed at one point while mashing the skinny pedal. The benefits and challenges involved in two-wheel drive versus four-wheel drive racers are even touched on.
Leno summed things up by saying, “Rod Hall was a legendary guy. He was one of those names that would always show up in Hot Rod Magazine. It would show up in Road and Track because when you’re the best at what you do it stands out. He was quite a guy.”
How Can You Watch One More Win?
For those that are interested, the One More Win film can be watched on multiple streaming platforms including both iTunes and Amazon. The documentary is available for rent or to own on the most popular digital streaming options. Different platforms have different pricing. We viewed the film on Amazon for $5.99 where the rental lasts for seven days.