Detroit sports cars draw $5.2M for charities

Ford GT and Mustang Bullitt, Corvette Carbon 65 and ZR1 draw top bids

Published: January 23, 2018, 10:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:04 PM

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt on auction at 2018 Barrett-Jackson

Charities were the big winners at the 47th annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, without even putting in a bid, as desirable performance cars from Ford and General Motors drew top bids to the benefit of those in need.

A 2017 Ford GT drew a bid if $2.5 million (all figures US) to the benefit of the Autism Society of North Carolina’s IGNITE program, and added $50,000 to benefit the Autism Alliance of Michigan. The car was owned by Ron Pratte, the multi-millionaire car collector who founded and was CEO of one of the US’s largest wood framing and concrete foundation company. The winning bid also included a Ford Performance Racing School GT Experience.

Pratte donated the car to racing legend Ray Everhham’s Evernham Family-Racing for a Reason Foundation, which put it to auction with proceeds going to IGNITE, the unique “peer-to-peer” community centre in Davidson, NC, that aids young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, offering activities, skills training and educational workshops that foster social, financial, educational and employment independence.

The first 2019 Mustang Bullitt (VIN 001) was donated by Ford and the Steve McQueen estate obtained for $300,000, with all of that going to Boys Republic, a non-profit, non-sectarian private school and community for troubled adolescent boys. McQueen had been remanded to the Chino Hills, California facility in his adolescence.

“Over the last several years, we’ve donated some incredible Ford Performance vehicles that have been sold to generate funds and build awareness for deserving charities,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president and president, North America. “It was a privilege to represent the Ford family on the auction block and combine our efforts with Ron Pratte and the McQueen estate on the sale of these two incredible, rare and iconic Ford cars.”

“The Mustang Bullitt has been wildly popular since its unveiling in Detroit,” said Mark Schaller, Ford Mustang brand manager. “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor the Bullitt heritage than donating the car to Boys Republic, which was instrumental in helping Steve McQueen become an iconic Hollywood legend.”

Meanwhile Ford’s cross-Detroit rivals, Chevrolet, brought two first retail production Corvette coupes to the auction — a Carbon 65 Edition and a ZR1.

The Corvette Carbon 65 Edition coupe was signed by President George W. Bush and netted $1.4 million for the Bush Center’s Military Service Initiative, which aids post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life by helping them gain meaningful employment and overcoming the invisible wounds of combat.

Meanwhile, Rick Hendrick again stepped up to acquire one of the first Corvette ZR1s. The champion NASCAR team owner and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group was top bidder at $925,000, with the proceeds going to support the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which supports wounded veterans through the Building for America’s Bravest program that builds mortgage-free custom smart homes for catastrophically injured service members.

“GM and Chevrolet are proud to honor and support the brave men and women of our armed forces,” said Steve Hill, GM vice president of US Sales and Service. “Thanks to the generosity of two of our dealers, John Staluppi and Rick Hendrick, we will be able to offer additional support to some of our most severely wounded veterans.”