Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company today unveiled the restored 1959 Cessna L-19E “Bird Dog” to be auctioned at the 43rd annual Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. The L-19E will be auctioned alongside a Dodge M37 truck restored and donated by Okoboji Classic Cars, forming a unique pair of historical items offered in a single auction lot. Cessna recently announced it would donate the aircraft for auction with proceeds benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation (AFF).
Roxanne Bernstein, Cessna senior vice president of marketing and communications, says: “The donation and auction of the ‘Bird Dog’ is deeply significant to our workforce. Cessna has a long track record with the military. As a stalwart of great American manufacturing, people know about our 85-year track record of building and servicing the world’s greatest airplanes. What people might not remember is during part of World War II Cessna shut down our commercial operations and manufactured aircraft solely for military operations. More than 10 percent of the Cessna workforce is either a veteran themselves or a family member of a veteran, so this Bird Dog auction is meaningful for Cessnans. We value the mission of the Armed Forces Foundation and are pleased to support their work through this donation.
The proceeds from the auction of these items will go to support the AFF’s efforts to educate the public about the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). “We’re extremely grateful for the support of Cessna Aircraft Company, Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Kansas Aircraft Corporation and Okoboji Classic Cars for the 2014 auction in Scottsdale,” says Patricia Driscoll, AFF president and executive director. “The funds raised each year help the Foundation continue to support military families and veterans in need of financial assistance. This unique auction package is sure to generate a lot of interest, and we are proud to work with these organizations in order to honor our motto of, ‘Serving those who Serve.’”
Kansas City-based Kansas Aircraft Corporation partnered with Cessna to locate the L-19E and helped arrange the purchase of the historic aircraft. Dianne White, president and owner of Kansas Aircraft Corporation, says: “We discovered in the Bird Dog community a tight group of owners who are enthusiastic about the L-19 and eager to preserve and protect the aircraft’s legacy. We have found no more than 130 airworthy L-19 aircraft left in the world, and the owners who are ready to sell want to make sure that the aircraft remain with parties who feel as passionately about the L-19 as they do. When we at last were able to tell the seller what we had in mind for this L-19, he was very enthused to know his aircraft would go to such a good cause, and will do so much to benefit the AFF.”
Bernstein continues: “What better place for a classic aircraft than at Barrett-Jackson. When we started our search, our intent was to find an original L-19, one that had not been modified or manufactured under license. The aircraft which will see in the auction is one that was used in France as a trainer. This Bird Dog was brought back from France in 1984, and will actually celebrate its 55th birthday during the auction.”
The other half of the auction package is the Dodge M37 three-quarter ton pickup truck restored and donated by a Cessna customer, Okoboji Classic Cars of Spencer, Iowa. “We have put more than 2,500 hours into restoring the M37 so far,” says Toby Shine, president of Okoboji Classic Cars and of Shine Bros. Corp. “We’d found it sitting in a field, so it is a complete frame-off restoration. It looks great painted in full Army livery, especially alongside the L-19. We feel it is our honor to be able to support our men and women in the Armed Forces, and our family business has done that for over a century. We are proud that the proceeds from this effort will go to benefit the Armed Forces Foundation.”
Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, says: “Over the 43 years of Barrett-Jackson, we’ve raised more than $57 million for local and national charities. Few causes are as close to our hearts as the Armed Forces Foundation. Barrett-Jackson’s auction block sits proudly under an American flag, and we are constantly reminded of the brave men and women who serve our great country. We’re honored to help our veterans.”
The L-19 and M37 package will be auctioned off in a live, prime time broadcast of the 43rd annual Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson event on the FOX Broadcast on Saturday, January 18.
Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO adds: “We salute the Armed Forces Foundation and the great work they do for American veterans. It will be an electric moment when these historical pieces cross the block. Not only do they represent the best in restoration, but they also serve as examples of the best in philanthropy. We are thrilled to support our national heroes.”