While many of you were enjoying a long, three-day weekend or watching the inaugural festivities from Washington, D.C., another kind of event was being staged in Scottsdale, Arizona -- one with outstanding collector cars that raised millions of dollars for charity.
In fact, by the time the final gavel fell at the Barrett-Jackson auction on Sunday, its 5000 Series -- featuring over 50 rare and unique rides -- generated nearly $30 million in sales, much of which will go to nonprofit organizations across the country.
Clark Gable’s 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe accounted for just over $2 million of that total ($2,035,000, to be exact). And the original 1966 TV Batmobile went for a staggering $4,620,000. But even so, the stars of the show were arguably a trio of very special Chevrolet Corvettes.
As our colleagues at Motor Authority reported, many car fans were focused on the auction of the very first 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The 'Vette with a vehicle identification number ending in "0001" was sold to car collector and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick for a whopping $1.05 million. Those funds will be donated to Detroit's College for Creative Studies, which is hugely fitting, given the auto industry's close relationship with CCS.
Also on the block: a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette owned by GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. The $270,000 generated by that sale will benefit Habitat for Humanity Detroit and its work in the city's Morningside Commons neighborhood.
And Chef Guy Fieri proved that he hasn't turned into a complete misanthrope, despite a blistering restaurant review recently published in the New York Times. His highly personalized 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition was also sold for $270,000. That money will help fund Cooking With Kids, a program launched in 2010 by the Guy Fieri Foundation for Inspiration and Imagination. Its mission is to encourage and train young people "to cook for themselves, their families, and their friends, while instilling self-esteem, self-reliance, and a healthy lifestyle".
Congrats to the deep-pocketed car collectors who took part in the Barrett-Jackson auction and to the many worthy charities that will benefit from their purchases.