Written by Barbara Toombs
Barrett-Jackson’s first-ever yearlong charitable initiative – spearheaded by the company’s Vice President of Brand Strategy, Carolyn Jackson – got off to a roaring start at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction.
A high-energy video was unveiled at the Opening Night Gala, urging guests to come along for the ride as Barrett-Jackson aims to slam the brakes on heart disease and stroke in 2018 through “Driven Hearts,” a dedicated effort to bring much-needed awareness and funds to the American Heart Association (AHA).
The focus on educating people about heart disease and stroke was evident throughout the auction site, with prominent on-site messaging, donation locations and a #DrivenHearts logo on all the official drivers’ shirts. In addition, each collector car crossing the auction block sported a special license plate featuring the Barrett-Jackson logo, #DrivenHearts and “EST 71” – designating the year the auction company was founded. There was so much demand for these collector plates that they are now for sale for just $10 on ShopBarrettJackson.com, with $5 from every purchase benefiting the American Heart Association – and a new plate will be debuted at each of Barrett-Jackson’s auctions for the remainder of the year.
A focal point at the Scottsdale event proved to be Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson’s 2008 Bugatti Veyron, newly wrapped in a stunning red and silver #DrivenHearts livery. Social media was abuzz with photos of visitors posing in front of the exotic supercar, which was raised on a lift above a giant “FAST” sign – the AHA’s acronym for Facial drooping, Arm tingling, Speech impairment, Time to call 911.
Carolyn Jackson was able to hammer home the importance of the Driven Hearts initiative during a live interview in front of a global audience, simulcast on Discovery Channel and Velocity, letting viewers know about a very special vehicle to be sold on the final Saturday of the auction to benefit the AHA: a pristine white 35th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette had been gifted to Craig Jackson and his mother Nellie at the 2006 Scottsdale Auction by longtime friend and Barrett-Jackson customer Dave Ressler, who passed away recently from heart-related issues.
The stage was set to honor Ressler’s memory and help the American Heart Association, and on “Super Saturday,” the Corvette rolled onto the auction block, driven by Craig Jackson’s daughter Shelby (who had learned how to drive in the car) with Ressler’s granddaughter Ayden Lynn in the passenger seat. Joining Craig Jackson and Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis onstage was American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown, who spoke about the importance of the cause before bidding began.
To a wildly cheering crowd, the bids began to escalate, until the hammer came down on $200,000 – with the winning bidder being Michelle Mauzy, the widow of Greg Mauzy, a prominent member of the extended Barrett-Jackson family known for his giving heart and philanthropic spirit, who passed away in 2015. In a compassionate gesture reminiscent of something her late husband would have done, Michelle immediately donated the Corvette back to be auctioned again, a poignant moment that brought many – including Craig Jackson – to tears. The bidding recommenced, quickly reaching another $100,000 from another loyal and generous Barrett-Jackson customer, Joe Riley – who also donated the car back, to be sold again for the cause at the 2018 Palm Beach Auction. But the generosity didn’t stop there: Another kindhearted individual contributed an additional $50,000, bringing the total raised for the AHA to $350,000 through the Corvette’s sale.
As the entire emotional sale played out on live television around the world, environmental cleanup contractor Darrell Pullen was watching from his hotel room in Texas, where he was laid up with a bad flu. He watched Barrett-Jackson any chance he got, and since he was “quarantined,” it provided the perfect opportunity to watch the auction from beginning to end. Although Pullen isn’t a car collector, he’s owned a few collectible vehicles in his day, and the one he currently had was a white 35th Anniversary Corvette – exactly like the one he saw going across the auction block for the AHA. “When I saw what cause the car was being auctioned for, it hit home with me,” says Pullen, who lost his mother just two years ago and his father 25 years ago, both to heart issues. In addition, Pullen’s older brother has had four strokes. “As I was watching, I could see the emotion going through the whole crowd. Seeing Craig take his glasses off to wipe away tears, I just decided right then I was going to give Barrett-Jackson my Corvette to auction. If it could generate a little bit of money for the Heart Association, that’s what I wanted to do.”
As it happened, Pullen and his wife had an opportunity to come to Arizona just days after the auction had finished, so he brought the title to the car with him. He drove up to the Barrett-Jackson headquarters in Scottsdale, walked in, and handed that title over to an incredulous Craig and Carolyn Jackson to bring in more funds for heart health. As humble and kind as her husband, Pullen’s wife Charmaigne simply said, “Good attracts good.”
It appears Barrett-Jackson’s Driven Hearts campaign has a more far-reaching impact than ever imagined. We hope you’ll join us for this important ride.
For more information, visit DrivenHearts.org.