By , Tom Jensen
Published March 26, 2016
Less than 24 hours after paying a cool $1.2 million to buy the first 2017 Acura NSX, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick paid $1.65 million for a collection of three rare Corvettes at the Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The 2017 Acura Hendrick bought Friday was VIN No. 001, and the three Corvettes were all also VIN No. 001, from 1955, '56 and '57, respectively. Hendrick is an avid collector of the first production models of Corvettes and Camaros. He also owns VIN No. 001 of the 2010 Camaro, 2011 Camaro convertible, 2014 Corvette and 2015 Corvette convertible, among others.
"These things have been kept in incredible condition," said former Hendrick driver and now FOX analyst Jeff Gordon, who is with Hendrick in Scottsdale. "These cars are truly a work of art."
Hendrick later paid $525,000 to acquire a 1969 Corvette convertible, one of 116 built with the rare L88 powerplant that reportedly produced 560 horsepower from the factory.
In addition to the four Corvettes he bought, Hendrick paid $110,000 to purchase "Optimus Prime," a 1979 custom Peterbilt truck used in the filming of the first "Transformers" movie.
"This thing can do donuts at 70 miles per hour," said producer Michael Bay, who was on hand when the massive truck went across the auction block in Scottsdale.
As the winning bidder, Hendrick also earned a walk-on spot in the next "Transformers" movie.
The auction catalog description of the enormous Peterbilt described the truck thusly: "An entire team of artists and illustrators worked tirelessly, drawing potential trucks and cars, trying to zero in on just the right look for each robot/vehicle. When the film's production designer showed Michael Bay a photo of the enormous tractor trailer, the director was immediately taken by the lines and size of the truck, even through he know he would face intense criticism for his choice."
Alas, "Optimus Prime" doesn't really transform as it did in the movie. All of that was CGI trickery done in the film studio.