On Jan. 19, Joe Hinrichs, President of Global Operations for Ford Motor Company and chair of our 2018/20 Community Giving Campaign, donned a special Ford GT racing jacket and slid behind the wheel of the 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition.
He wasn’t taking the highly-prized car for a spin. He was driving it onto the auction block to raise money for United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
The energy in the room at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona was palpable. The fast-talking auctioneer led the bidding as Hinrichs and Edsel Ford II stood nearby. The car — first off the line with VIN No. 001 — was sure to get some high bids.
By the time the final paddle was lifted, $2.5 million was raised to help improve the lives of families across Southeastern Michigan. The winning bid was placed by Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
Dr. Darienne Driver, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Michigan, also attended the auction. She reminded attendees and bidders that they were part of an important legacy.
“Proceeds from the sale of this rare Ford GT supercar will bolster our efforts to ensure more families in underserved communities across Southeast Michigan can access the resources they need to build a strong, equitable community,” Darienne said.
General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Company have a longstanding commitment to raising funds through car donations. Since 2009, these automakers have raised more than $5.9 million for United Way through car auctions. That includes a Corvette ZR-1 and a COPO Camaro, among other cars.
It’s just one of the ways our corporate partners go above and beyond to give back to the community.
“Our partnership with Ford and a number of other partners allows us to be able to fight for early childhood literacy,” Darienne said. “We’re getting more students into career academies and we’re serving over 200,000 individuals who are in crisis every year through our 2-1-1 emergency response line.”
The 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition features the bright orange and powder blue paint scheme. It was made famous at LeMans, where the No. 9 Ford GT took back-to-back 24-hour wins in 1968 and 1969. After beating out the Ferrari 50, the Ford GT40 went on to become one of the most recognizable race cars of all time.
Joe Hinrichs shared his pride in knowing the proceeds will go towards helping those in need. He described the chance to own the vehicle as “the opportunity of a lifetime,” but more importantly, the chance to raise much-needed funds and awareness.
“The proceeds will help those in need in Southesast Michigan,” he said. “We’re very proud of that.”