By David Undercoffler
9:00 AM EST, January 17, 2013
If your pockets run as deep as your love for the Corvette, you might want to find yourself in Scottsdale, Ariz. this weekend.
That’s where Barrett-Jackson will auction off the first production model of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. This seventh-generation of the iconic American sports car made its world debut amid a media frenzy at this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The new, seventh-generation Corvette will likely start at about $50,000 when it goes on sale later in 2013. But this particular model — with the VIN ending in 0001 — could bring many times that amount when it hits the auction block on Saturday.
At the same auction in 2008, Barrett-Jackson sold a new Corvette ZR1 — the first production unit — for $1 million. The proceeds of that sale went to the United Way. It’s likely that Saturday’s auction could bring in similar money from the first 2014 Corvette Stingray.
John Fitzpatrick, marketing manager for Chevrolet performance cars, said regardless of the price, the auction will be a success.
“I would not be disappointed if it went for a million,” Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. “But I wouldn’t be disappointed if it went for half a million, either.”
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The school has a well-regarded automotive automotive design program. GM said in a statement that more than 170 graduates of the school currently work in the company’s design studios.
The school was chosen by Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design. Welburn oversaw the design of the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
In addition to raising money for the Detroit school, Chevy hopes to generate marketing buzz for the first new ‘Vette in nearly a decade. Each year, tens of thousands of car fans attend the week-long Barrett-Jackson auctions in Scottsdale. The event is also broadcast live on the SPEED Network.
“There’s a diverse, influential audience there,” Fitzpatrick said. “Whatever money we make is a bonus. It’s really the exposure we’re trying to achieve.”
While viewers of the Corvette auction will see a Torch Red C7 on the auction block on Saturday, that’s not the actual car the winning bidder will receive. Production of the 2014 Corvettes starts late this summer, and Fitzpatrick said the buyer will be able to completely customize the car before it rolls off the assembly line. This includes interior and exterior colors, performance packages, and options.
This first-ever 2014 Corvette Stingray won’t be the only high-octane car sold for charity during this week’s Barrett-Jackson auctions.
Chevy announced Wednesday that it was also bringing to Arizona two additional Corvettes and two Camaros to be sold to benefit charities.
One of the Corvettes is the personal car of GM’s CEO, Dan Akerson. It’s a 1958 model in Regal Turquoise and features a 245-horsepower, small-block V-8 engine. Proceeds from this auction, scheduled for Friday, will go to helping Habitat for Humanity’s initiative to improve Detroit’s Morningside Commons neighborhood. Corvettes from this year and with this engine can be worth at least $95,000.
In addition to these two Corvettes, Barrett-Jackson will be auctioning for charity another 19 cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The offerings include a 2006 Chevy NASCAR race car used by Jeff Gordon and a 1953 Ford truck. The company says that since 1971, it’s raised $48.5 million for charitable causes and hopes to eclipse $50 million this year.
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