Ford and Leno customize F-150 Lightning for Walmart founder


During last weekend’s Woodward Dream Cruise – Metro Detroit’s annual celebration of the auto industry – Jay Leno, former late-night television host and host of Jay Leno’s Garage, revealed a customized Ford F-150 Lightning. Not just any Lightning, though – the electric vehicle Leno unveiled was custom painted to match a 1979 version of the F-Series owned by Walmart founder Sam Walton.

In front of a small crowd of onlookers and car worshipers on Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue, Leno spoke with Walmart USA CEO John Furner about the history of cars in Michigan. On stage in front of a crowd at the Dream Cruise, Leno spoke:

You have a ton of cars that each have an owner, and that’s what I love. Everybody here who has a car, they have a connection because maybe their grandfather worked on the line, or maybe their grandmother worked in the Ford office, or even maybe they were working the line…every time i talk to car owners here there is always some history with the car. In LA, you want it done by someone else. Here, it’s usually people who built and maintained it themselves, and that’s their pride and joy.

Jay Leno and Walmart CEO John Furner in front of the 1979 F-150

In tribute to the history of the F-150 and its partnership with Walmart, Leno has unveiled custom F-150 lighting – a close replica of Walmart founder Sam Walton’s 1979 F-150 – complete in a red color scheme and two-tone white. Check it out below:

Jay Leno Walmart
Leno’s custom F-150 Lightning side-by-side with the 1979 F-150
Jay Leno Walmart
Leno’s F-150 Lightning

Walmart will soon carry a full line of specialty car care products from Jay Leno’s Garage, hence the partnership and unveiling with current Walmart CEO John Furner.

Electrek’s Grasp

As a local, it was cool to know that Leno skipped this year’s Pebble Beach Concour Elegance Car Show to attend our own instead. Woodward Dream Cruise for the unveiling of its custom F-150 Lightning, highlighting its partnership with Ford and Walmart. Being the infamous and renowned Car Guy that he is, Leno clearly understands the historical significance of Woodward Avenue in The Motor City.

Leno’s Lightning is a true blue mirror of Walton’s classic 1979 pickup, but with all the bells and whistles that come with Ford’s insanely requested electric truck.

In a somewhat comical moment while trying to pull out of the parking lot and down Woodward to cruise the custom truck — with the help of local police blocking northbound traffic on Woodward Avenue — Leno’s team has first had to install cameras in his Lightning while the cars stood at a stop for about 10 minutes.

The Oakland County Sheriff could be heard at one point saying, clearly frustrated, “If he doesn’t leave now, I’m releasing traffic!” as the local cruisers were unable to continue while the police barricaded Woodward. Fame be damned, a certain level of backed up traffic awaits no one.

Overall, Leno’s Lighting is a nice callback to the Walmart founder’s pickup, blending an older generation with a new electric vehicle.

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