The hype surrounding the sale of this special car has been building since last Saturday when the all new 2009 Corvette ZR1 made its debut at the GM Style Party in Detroit. But I don’t think anybody expected to see what happened on Saturday night with millions of automotive and Corvette fans watching the 37th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction as they saw the first blue devil auctioned off with the proceeds going to the United Way.
Giving a fantastic introduction as only he can was Jay Leno. Jay has a way of connecting with enthusiasts because he is one himself. Jay was joined on the block with GM North America President Troy Clarke while GM Performance Vehicle Line Manager Tom Wallace stood in the background.
The bidding started at $100,000 and quickly climbed to $900,000 with collector Dave Ressler holding the high bid. As the money for the Corvette is going to charity, Dave added an additional $100,000 to make the final bid $1,000,000. Barrett-Jackson waived the buyers commission as this was a charity auction. The Corvette shown on the block is a prototype only. Ressler will get to move to the head of the line and receive the first available retail version Corvette ZR1 later this summer. His Corvette ZR1 will be painted in a one-only LeMans Blue and will feature option code BD1. The Corvette will be delivered to the National Corvette Museum where Ressler will receive the car. In addition to winning the Corvette, Dave will receive a three-day driving experience at the Bondurant School of High Performance where Corvette Racing’s Ron Fellows will serve as a special instructor. Jay Leno has also donated tickets to the Tonight Show as well as a tour of his personal collection.
Dave Ressler is well known in the Corvette hobby for spending $1 million dollars back in 2006 at Barrett-Jackson to buy the oldest surviving Corvette, 1953′s #003.
In terms of who won the horsepower wars at tonight’s auction, this should be a slam dunk for Corvette. The 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR sold for $550,000 while the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8′s selling price has yet to be know. We’ll update this post once the results are in.
Live: Watching Corvettes at the GM Style Party
2009 Corvette ZR1 Photo Gallery
2008 Barrett-Jackson Corvette Auction Preview