The rights to the very first production 2013 SRT Viper off the assembly line was bought for $300,000 this afternoon at the Barrett-Jackson Orange County auction in a sale that benefits an important children’s charity.
Proceeds will go to the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, a charity that has become well-known to Barrett-Jackson auction fans and which has a connection with Viper as the official charity of the American Le Mans Series.
A pre-production Viper, standing in for the actual first car that has not yet been built, rolled onto the grounds of the OC Fairgrounds this morning, where it was mobbed by Barrett-Jackson fans who were getting their first look at the much-anticipated latest generation of the V10-powered supercar
One of them was a current Viper owner and enthusiast, Bruce Conklin of Costa Mesa, who came to his hometown event specifically to eyeball the Viper.
“I love everything about it,” Conklin said, who owns a 2003 convertible. “They totally got it right.”
The 2013 Viper has been boosted in sophistication from the raw-boned original, boasting an 8.4-liter V10 that produces 640 horsepower and a more luxurious interior. The new Viper also serves to introduce SRT as a separate Chrysler performance division; Viper was formally branded as a Dodge.
Jim Osborn, the physician who originated the Austin Hatcher Foundation in honor of his son, who died as an infant of pediatric cancer, is at the auction with his wife, Amy, and three young children. He spoke at the podium during the sale of the Viper, thanking Barrett-Jackson’s continued support for the charity.
Osborn’s tearful introduction of the Foundation at the 2010 Orange County event, where he sold a Volkswagen Jetta race car in the charity sale, opened the hearts and wallets of auction goers and raised $70,000 both for the actual sale and from generous audience members who made additional $5,000 and $10,000 donations.
The Jetta was donated back to the Foundation and was sold five additional times at Barrett-Jackson, each time given back for resale.
“Barrett-Jackson has raised about $560,000 for us,” said Osborn, a Nashville resident originally from Ashville, N.C.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation aims to help children who are stricken with cancer and improve their quality of life. The organization also sponsors Hatch’s House of Hope, which is a pediatric cancer-care center for children and their families.
The SRT Viper donation from Chrysler originated from the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s connection with the American Le Mans Series, where Viper has been a leading competitor; a new Viper GTS-R race version was recently introduced for ALMS racing, where it will compete later this year.
The Viper sale echoes another important sports-car debut and charity sale that happened at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January. At that event, Chevrolet debuted the 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition, with the rights for the first one off the assembly line selling for $700,000 to benefit the Drive to End Hunger food relief program.
A few lots after the Viper sale, a 2012 Lotus Evora S was sold for charity, reaching $200,000 for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. The Lotus sale was introduced by film star Billy Baldwin, whose mother – a cancer survivor – is named in the charity.