Former President George W. Bush takes the stage at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction.
To mark Barrett-Jackson’s half-century in business, in this special series we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite moments from the past 50 years – as well as some little-known facts about The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions.
In its five-decades-long existence, Barrett-Jackson has hosted its share of celebrities and dignitaries at its events, but never before had it welcomed a U.S. president – until the 2018 Scottsdale Auction, that is. To the roaring approval of the surprised crowd in a packed auction arena, former President George W. Bush joined us on the Barrett-Jackson block.
The visit was kept under a cloak of secrecy for months, from the moment the team at General Motors contacted a select few Barrett-Jackson executives a couple of months earlier. The appearance would be tied in with the sale of VIN 001 of the 2018 Chevrolet Carbon 65 Edition Corvette (one of just 650 produced) donated by the automaker to benefit the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Military Service Initiative.
On the afternoon of the sale, comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno came to the auction block with GM Vice President of Performance Jim Campbell to introduce the car, a video about the charity was played on the giant screens, and the auctioneers were off and running. The bidding was brought to a sudden halt, however, by Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis, who asked CEO Craig Jackson to explain something “extra” going on with the car. With that, Jackson looked to the crowd and said, “It is my honor to welcome to Barrett-Jackson the 43rd President of the United States – George W. Bush!”
Suddenly, the former president appeared on the podium. The surprise appearance brought the cheering crowd to its feet for a standing ovation. “I don’t miss being president,” said Bush. “I do miss being commander in chief. I love our military and I decided to spend the rest of my life helping vets.
“I haven’t driven on the road since 1993,” the former president added, “but I drove that car. It’s a damn good car! The winner of this, by the way, is invited to come down and play golf with us in Dallas, Texas, to the Warrior Open. Bid high – it’s a good cause!”
The action resumed at a feverish pace, escalating to the final winning bid of $1.4 million from John Staluppi, a noted philanthropist and longtime friend of Barrett-Jackson. The auctioneer turned and said, “Mr. President, sell that car!” With that, George W. Bush slammed the gavel down with presidential might – and clearly enjoyed making history on the Barrett-Jackson auction block.
It was unquestionably one of the most memorable moments ever at a Barrett-Jackson event: a great man selling a great car for a great cause.
Title: AN AUCTION FIT FOR A PRESIDENT: A 50 Facts & Favorite Memories Feature
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/an-auction-fit-for-a-president-a-50-facts-favorite-memories-feature/
Published Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2021 22:03:01 +0000