Rebuilt by Gas Monkey Garage, a uniquely customized Jeep CJ7 has raised over $1m for the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Some cynics suggest the collector car market is spiraling out of control and that run-of-the-mill cars are suddenly being sold for premiums far beyond their real worth. $1.3 million for a Jeep CJ7 might seem to validate that point, until you consider it's all for a good cause.
There's a phenomenon we've seen on auction floors before – the winning bidder for a lot regifting a car back to the floor to be sold off again, and sometimes for a third of fourth time. For a Jeep CJ7 built by Gas Monkey Garage it didn't get quite that far. But it still sold for a grand total of $1.3m at last weekend's Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, AZ.
Actor Gary Sinise, who shot to fame as Vietnam veteran Lieutenant Dan in the Hollywood blockbuster Forrest Gump, founded the Gary Sinise Foundation as a charity to support those who have served in the United States military and their families.
Teaming up with Richard Rawlings and his Gas Monkey Garage workshop, a 1981 CJ7 was selected for a complete restoration, its 4.2-liter, 258 cubic inch motor rebuilt and mated to a similarly refurbished BorgWarner T150 three-speed manual transmission.
Gallery: Gary Sinise Foundation 1981 Jeep CJ7 Custom SUV
Sporting a rather patriotic red, white and blue with what we hope are 50 stars (we haven't had time to count them yet), Rawlings & his crew also fitted custom gauges to the interior. Plus, with new fuel and brake lines custom-made to fit the four foot lift package, it's a bonafide restomod, worthy of decent money on its own.
Sinise was even beckoned to Barrett-Jackson's auction floor to oversee proceedings as bids rolled in, for what would eventually become a seven-figure sale to rival the most prestigious collector cars on offer.
Its first bidding war finished up at the $200,000 mark but, instead of calling it a day, the winner gave the car straight back to be sold again. Another set of bids and $100,000 later, the car's total hit $300,000.
Sunbelt Rentals, one of the partners along with Gas Monkey Garage and the Gary Sinise Foundation, chipped in $1m of their own for good measure, bringing the Jeep's grand total to $1.3m.
As Sinise had explained before the auction, all of the auction's proceeds will be going to his charitable organisation. So, for once, there's an overpriced collector car which everyone can agree was worth the premium.