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.
One of only 12 built by General Motors, the Futurliner is a self-contained display and transport vehicle created by the GM design staff under Harley Earl’s direction. The fleet was the centerpiece of the “Parade of Progress” touring exhibit that complemented the GM “Motoramas” from 1940 through 1956.
One of only three survivors restored in their original Parade of Progress configuration, the Futurliner that originally crossed the Barrett-Jackson Auction block during the 35th Scottsdale Anniversary Auction in 2006 was purchased by renowned collector Ron Pratte. Following Pratte’s $4.4 million winning bid, the Futurliner underwent a comprehensive re-restoration, making it clearly the finest example in existence and a centerpiece of Pratte’s collection.
A symbol of the American auto industry at the height of its power and influence, the Futurliner would again return to the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Scottsdale in 2015, but this time as a charity auction. Pratte, who served with the US Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam, sold his entire collection at the 2015 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. He chose to donate the Futurliner’s auction proceeds to the Armed Forces Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to supporting and advocating for active-duty military personnel, National Guardsmen, Reservists, military families and veterans.
“Military veterans, especially wounded warriors, deserve our appreciation and our support,” said Pratte prior to the Futurliner’s charity sale. “Their continued sacrifices give Americans the freedom to build happy, productive lives. With the help of the great team at Barrett-Jackson, I look forward to raising funds that will make this charitable mission a success.”
In front of a packed auction arena with audience members waving thousands of American flags, the Futurliner sold again for $4 million, and brought in an additional $650,000 in donations from generous VIPs in attendance. One of the top 10 most notable moments in the auction company’s history, Barrett-Jackson is honored to have been a part of the GM Futurliner’s story and to have helped raise millions of dollars for U.S. service members through its sale.