When fans of NBC’s “This Is Us” watched the Pearson family fade into television history with the series finale in May 2022, they didn’t expect another beloved TV family — the Napiers from HGTV‘s “Home Town” — would drive off in their car.
But on August 30, 2022, fans were stunned to learn Ben and Erin Napier now have the Pearsons’ Jeep Grand Wagoneer, thanks to a special hookup arranged by a dear friend on the cast.
The Napiers Can Thank ‘Toby’ for Their New Ride
In the August 30 post, Napiers’ featured a video on their Instagram feeds with their good friend Chris Sullivan, who played the role of Toby on “This Is Us,” and his wife Rachel. In May, Chris had informed Entertainment Tonight that he loved the car so much that, once the series ended, he took the car from the set as a giant souvenir. Sullivan said that he planned to drive the Wagoneer every day.
He also divulged a big secret at the time: rather than one vintage SUV covered in fake wood paneling, there were actually two Wagoneers on the set of “This Is Us” — and Chris wanted both of them. Turns out he knew someone else who’d want to buy it: his car-loving buddy, Ben.
In the Instagram video, Chris and Rachel introduce the happy owners of the second Wagoneer. Erin waves hello as Ben thanks the couple for letting them know about the chance to buy the car.
“‘This Is Us’ doesn’t need this Jeep anymore,” Erin says, “so, what do we name it now?”
Ben says he’s partial to naming the car Jack, after the patriarch of the Pearson family played by Milo Ventimiglia, but Erin says Rebecca would also be fitting, in honor of Jack’s resilient wife, portrayed on the show by Mandy Moore. The couples agree the names are perfect, but Chris says they still need to settle on “which is which.”
On “This Is Us,” the iconic Jeep Wagoneer played a big role in the show, especially after Jack’s death. In 2018, an entire episode was devoted to the family memories created in the vehicle.
It’s not known how much the Napiers paid for the iconic vehicle, but Wagonmaster, which restores and refurbishes old Grand Wagoneers has a similar model available for $99,000.
Fans were thrilled to see the Napiers inside the ultimate family vehicle. In a reference to one of the early episodes of “This Is Us,” one commented, “This is AMAZING! Absolutely love it! No lemons with these 2, only lemonade!” Chris responded with three red hearts.
Inside the Bromance of Ben & Chris
It’s not a huge surprise that Ben Napier and Chris Sullivan now own the same car, given that they are like long-lost twins. The two frequently joke that they’re basically the same person; they look alike, their wives look alike, they love to goof around and they both have a passion for vintage vehicles.
When a fan commented on Instagram about how similar the two stars seem, Chris responded, “Oh we talk about it all the time. Ha ha ha. It’s hysterical. I’m Hollywood Ben Napier and Ben is Mississippi Chris Sullivan.”
In July 2021, Chris and Rachel traveled to Laurel, Mississippi, to spend time with the Napiers, and Chris filmed an episode of “Home Town: Ben’s Workshop,” in which they built a giant table for the community. In that show, Ben explained how they became friends.
“He and I connected over classic cars, but then the similarities between us just kept growing,” he said. “Yes, we’re both tall. We both have beards, we’re both jolly, we’re fun to be around — at least we think we are. Even our wives have become friends. We are simpatico. We are the same. Except for he’s a huge star.”
This is also not the Napiers’ first cool connection to “This Is Us.” Before their youngest daughter Mae was born — on May 28, 2018 — Chris managed to work her name into an episode in which his character, Toby, was brainstorming middle names for the baby he was expecting with his on-air wife Kate, played by Chrissy Metz. Erin shared a screenshot of the list of baby names shown on the show, on which Chris intentionally included “Mae” as a shoutout to the Napier family.