Comedian and TV host Jimmy Fallon burned some rubber Friday with Ford Motor Company on a whirlwind visit to Metro Detroit.
The celebrity and former “Saturday Night Live” star did some test drives at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac then dropped by the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn — to the surprise and delight of Ford employees.
Topping Fallon’s Detroit bucket list was a spin in the F-150 Lightning, which the automaker introduced in May. “The Tonight Show” host already owns a gasoline powered F-150 and is thinking about purchasing the electric version, a Ford spokesperson told The Detroit News.
“Fun day at the track and the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, MI surprising our teams building the (F-150),” Ford CEO Jim Farley said on Twitter. “Thanks Jimmy!”
Fallon was accompanied by Farley, and while the visit was pre-planned by management, it was a total surprise to workers who were blown away by the entertainer’s willingness to chat them up and pose for photos, the company representative added.
“We’re so proud of it,” Farley said of the F-150 Lightning in an interview with WDIV-TV (Channel 4), an affiliate of Fallon’s network, NBC. The interview was taped during the day at the track and broadcast on the evening news.
“It’s completely sold out for three years, and Jimmy drove it.”
Fallon was red-faced and exuberant after his test drive.
“I just drove it a hundred miles an hour,” Fallon said in the interview with WDIV newscaster Kimberly Gill. “Honestly, it was in three seconds.
“I just floored it, and you like fly back in your chair. Thing’s got some kick, man.”
Fallon also took some spins in a Bronco and a few muscle cars. Video showed him testing his driving skills in a green Mustang GT500, and peeling out in a cloud of smoke in a white Australian Mustang Supercar, a race car.
“We’re going to show the new Mustang for the first time at the show in September,” Farley told Gill, the TV newwoman. “We did give a little preview to Jimmy. It’s fast.”
“It’s a work of art,” Fallon piped in.
Asked how he likes Detroit, Fallon rattled off a list of stops like a Motor City insider.
“I’ve already been to Miller’s, got some burgers from Miller’s. On the way home I’ll get some Slow’s Bar BQ, Buddy’s Pizza — shout out to Buddy’s,” he said, suddenly distracted by a vehicle driving by.
“What’s up with you, buddy?” He yelled to an ambulance, taking off after standing by during Fallon’s test drive. “You’re famous too!
“Always got to be friends with EMS. Always got to be friends with the ambulance drivers.”