The final Saturday of any Barrett-Jackson auction is always exciting, but it’s safe to say this year’s was off the charts, and undoubtedly one of the most important in the company’s history.
In its 47-year existence, Barrett-Jackson has hosted its share of celebrities and dignitaries at its events, but never before has it welcomed a U.S. president – until today. To the roaring approval of the surprised crowd in a packed auction arena, former President George W. Bush came to the Barrett-Jackson block, along with comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno, to help auction a 2018 Chevrolet Carbon 65 Edition Corvette (Lot #3007) – generously donated by General Motors – for the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Military Service Initiative. Only 650 of these special vehicles were produced, and this one hammered at $1.4 million – 100% of which goes to this fantastic cause, which ensures post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life. It was another unforgettable auction moment – made all the more special by the fact that the sale of this vehicle and three others today saw the amount of funds raised for charity to date through the platform of Barrett-Jackson surpass the $100 million mark, reaching nearly $102 million.
Another electrifying charity sale that sent the thousands in the auction arena into a frenzy was the $2.5 million sale of Lot #3010, a brand-new, rare Liquid Blue 2017 Ford GT, donated by the always-generous Ron Pratte to the Evernham Family-Racing for a Reason Foundation, to benefit the Autism Society of North Carolina’s IGNITE program. To make this incredible moment even more special, Ron Pratte donated an additional $50,000 to help the Autism Alliance of Michigan. Fresh from his induction in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, racing legend Ray Evernham was onstage to encourage bidding on the stunning supercar, as was racing icon Chip Ganassi and Raj Nair, Executive Vice President and President of North America, Ford Motor Company.
The sale of Carolyn and Craig Jackson’s 1988 Chevrolet 35th Anniversary Edition Corvette (Lot #3008) kicked off the start of Barrett-Jackson’s yearlong “Driven Hearts” charitable initiative in a big way. With Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association (AHA), on the block, the car initially sold for $200,000 to benefit the AHA, and then was donated back to sell again for an additional $100,000, while another generous individual contributed $50,000 more to the cause. The car was once gifted on the auction block by the late Dave Ressler, a noted Corvette enthusiast and longtime member of the extended Barrett-Jackson family, who passed away recently. Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson and President Steve Davis both wore white jackets to match the car during the sale to honor Ressler, who had a tradition of wearing jackets that matched many of the cars he sold at the auction over the years.
The fourth car to sell for charity at today’s auction was another incredible vehicle donated by Chevrolet: a brand-new, first retail production VIN 001 2019 Corvette ZR1 (Lot #3009) – the fastest, most powerful, most advanced production Corvette ever produced. The entire hammer price of $925,000 will go to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Building for America’s Bravest.
There was plenty of action in addition to the charitable moments, with several likely records set and many noteworthy sales. Incredible collectible cars topping the charts today included a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder (Lot #1415), coming in as the top sale of the day and the auction at $1.43 million. A stunning 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa (Lot #1378) went to its new home for $1.1 million, as did a unique 1965 Corvette Cutaway Coupe (Lot #1413). Likely world record sales at auction were set with several sales, including a 1958 Chevrolet 3100 Custom Pickup (Lot #1358), a 2018 Dodge Demon (Lot #1317) and a 1951 Cadillac Custom Coupe (Lot #1422).
Another incredible sale occurred before the collector cars even started rolling, at the Barrett-Jackson Automobilia Auction, when an exquisite transportation-themed carousel manufactured by Wilhelm Hennecke of Germany in 1957 (Lot #9499) brought in an astounding $557,750 – a world record for this type of carousel. One of only five imported to North America during the 1950s, the fully functional carousel is considered to be the finest surviving example, with stunning craftsmanship and 27 hand-built transportation-related vehicles making it a magnificent piece of mechanical art.
As always, there were many familiar faces at today’s auction in addition to those mentioned above. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, country superstar Kenny Chesney, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace were among those enjoying the thrilling auction moments today.
Check out this video and gallery below highlighting Saturday’s top sales, world records and all the excitement of a Barrett-Jackson Super Saturday, and remember – there’s more to see tomorrow at The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions!