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The Interesting Way Last Man Standing's Tim Allen Connected With Jay Leno

Jay Leno was a tad busy hosting "The Tonight Show" while other successful comedians of his generation built massive acting careers. When fans think of Leno, they likely think of vintage cars, late night TV, and his stand-up comedy, but it's unlikely many film or TV roles come to mind (unless you're among the cult that makes up the fanbase for "Collision Course"). Leno has still squeezed in plenty of acting over the years though, with one of his biggest roles coming through the sitcom "Last Man Standing," in which he played mechanic Joe Leonard for a total of 28 episodes. 

Leno and fellow comedian Tim Allen, who plays protagonist Mike Baxter, share plenty of scenes as frenemies on the show, but it's far from the first time the two have worked together. Allen appeared on Leno's "Tonight Show" and "Jay Leno's Garage" multiple times over the years. "Last Man Standing" simply proved the spark between the two comedians could survive through the filter of two fictional characters. 

"To see him become this huge success is wonderful," Leno told ET about getting to act opposite Allen after all the years the pair knew each other.

The two have the bond of comedy, but there's another connection they share that seems to be behind much of the friendship. 

Tim Allen and Jay Leno connected over cars

Leno loves his vintage cars. On "Jay Leno's Garage," he puts that love on full display and shows off many of the vehicles from his massive collection. It turns out, Allen is also a car lover. The two comedians became friendly rivals in '90s when Allen would come onto "The Tonight Show." They'd swap car facts and even race each other. 

In the episode "American Muscle" of "Jay Leno's Garage," Leno and Allen reminisce about a 1995 "Tonight Show" burnout race which Allen won. The two decide on a rematch, with both of them driving 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats. We never find out who won as police spoil the party, a scene that can be watched here via CNBC. Allen also got a perfect score guessing the make and model of multiple cars just from the sounds of their engines, another clip that can be seen per CNBC.

Leno's passion for collecting cars is as much about his admiration for the vehicles as it is for the stories behind them, at least according to the comedian in a 2021 interview with "Cars and Culture." Allen, meanwhile, has a deep connection to cars, as they were a love passed down from his father, who died in a car wreck when the actor was just 11.

"My dad loved cars. I don't have many memories of my dad. The love of cars is all I have of him, really," Allen said in 2013 to GQ