Over the past decade, millions of fans have flocked to see the high speed thrills of the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Some have even dreamed of the possibility of owning the souped up modern day hot rods that are the true stars of the films. On Saturday, April 12, one lucky fan at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Auction got just that chance!
The 1969 Dodge Charger, driven by both of the stars of the hit movie franchise and painted in a matte grey, could be spotted on screen in the Rio car meet and racing scenes of Fast Five. It is cloaked in a stock Lamborghini paint color, and features a "vintage 426 Hemi" along with bigger brakes, 20-inch wheels, low-profile tires, and a "drift brake." The lucky bidder walked away with the car for just under $150,000, which was a steal compared to some of the other high profile car prices of the afternoon.
Fans of Hollywood movie memorabilia were also treated with the 2013 Ford Mustang which was featured in the “Need For Speed,” which was generously donated and whose auction benefited the Henry Ford Foundation. It's $300,000 sale to Dave Flynn of the Flynn Automotive Group in Youngstown, Ohio, the same man who bought the first 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 the night before, was the first big money car to cross the block on Saturday afternoon, but it was hardly the last.
At 5:00 p.m., a wave of quiet anticipation spread across the floor of the South Florida Expo Center, as chassis No. 001 for the 2015 model year of the Chevrolet Corvette C07 roared onto the main stage. The car, which was donated to the the Karmanos Cancer Institute by General Motors, sparked a heated bidding war between the biggest names in the auction business. In the end, it was car dealer John Staluppi versus car dealer and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick in a battle that ended with a winning bid by Hendrick of $1,000,000.
Of course, if you don't have the money to spend on these unique marquee brands, you can at least get a chance to ride in them! Both General Motors and the Ford Motor Company are offering ride and drive opportunities, where you can choose your favorite model to take two runs around their improvised track with a salesman by your side to answer any questions you might have, provided you pass the breathalyzer test first. After finishing the drive portion, you then have an opportunity to ride along with a professional driver in some of the fastest American muscle cars available on the market today.
On the Ford side, you can choose from a sporty Ford Fiesta ST, the sportier Ford Focus ST, or the king of Ford muscle, the Mustang. Professionals from Miller Motorsports Park put the pedal to the medal, and demonstrate the true power of 600+ horses. On the Chevrolet side, you are chauffeured by professionals from the Ron Fellows driving school as they unleash the ultimate power of the Z06 Corvette. Though both cars are amazing to ride in, the Corvette seems to have a slight edge on speed and stability, while the Mustang feels as though you will spin out at any second.
The event closes at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, and continues Sunday morning from the South Florida Fairgrounds with the gates opening at 8:00 a.m., and the ride n' drive taking to the track at 9:00 a.m. The auctioneers warm up with automobilia items at 10:00 a.m. and move on to the cars from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., with same day tape delayed coverage on Fox Sports 1. For more information and tickets for the auction, visit the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach website.
Be sure to subscribe to the West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner, and keep track of your favorite racers. If you're a motorsports fan, and know of an event, team, or person you'd like to see profiled, please let me know. Check out more articles about auto racing at the Speedway Digest. Also, be sure to follow me on twitter, and read my articles about local getaways, HOAs, elections, and restaurants.