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Jay Leno unveils vehicle inspired by Sam Walton at the Woodward Dream Cruise

Posted at 12:08 PM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-20 12:14:53-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Television host, comedian and writer Jay Leno unveils vehicle inspired by Sam Walton at this years Woodward Dream Cruise.

The vehicle, a labor of love, is rooted in Leno’s love of Detroit’s automotive legacy and American manufacturing.

“One thing I like the most about (Detroit) is, if you go to California you meet one or two guys who have a lot of cars. Here, you meet a lot of people who have one car and there’s usually a connection to Detroit. You know, their dad worked the line or their mom worked in the factory or some reason why they have a bond with General Motors or Ford or Chrysler,” Leno said about what he likes most about the Motor City.

“And, it’s American. I like American manufacturing. It’s great to see it coming back. I find that really, really exciting.”

Even as more modern vehicles continue to roll off of factory's and into the hands of consumers, Leno says he favors older vehicles with a strong, solid structures and no-frills.

“Obviously, a basic design. You know, cars have a posture in the same way people have a posture. If a car just sits right, there’s just something I like about that. It’s hard to explain. A lot of the time you see a car and it’s sagging on one side, Leno said.

“I’ve got a ’66 Hemi Coronet, the first year of the Hemi. It just sits right and its got the little dog dish hubcaps. There’s nothing fancy about it. It was before they had GTX and stripes. It was just a basic, big engine, drum brakes, no power steering. Just a big, dumb, fast car! And, I love that thing.”

For Leno, cars from the 60s represent his childhood and American automotive excellence.

“I like the blue collar aspect of it. When you got to Los Angeles, you see a lot of Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s and those are nice. Sometimes you just want to see a ’68 Dodge Dart. Just something from your childhood, something you can relate to. Because in the real world, that’s what most people relate than Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s,” said Leno.

At this year’s Dream Cruise, Leno revealed a secret project inspired by businessman and founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club, Sam Walton.

“What we involved is mostly outside the vehicle. We haven’t done anything structural or powertrain-wise,” Leno said about the secret project inspired by Walton.

To celebrate Walmart’s past while honoring the brand's electric future, Leno revealed an F-150 Lightning pickup featuring the same paint and color scheme as Walmart founder Sam Walton’s first truck, a '79 F-150.

”This was Sam Walton’s very first truck… We’re trying to honor that legacy.”

Ford Pro announced in January that Walmart ordered more than 1,100 all-electric E-Transit vans. Over1,000 have already been delivered to Walmart stores across the country.

At the Dream Cruise, Leno also announced the launch of the next generation of his Advanced Car line of products with partners Walmart and Ford Pro.