Jay Leno Auctions Prized Car: Raises $565,000 For USO

Late-night celebrity and collector car enthusiast Jay Leno made an appearance at the Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale Auction last Saturday, and auctioned one of his most special cars for a good cause. All of the proceeds from his car sale went to support the United Service Organizations (USO), reports AZFamily 3TV.

“When people know that 100 percent of it is going directly to the men and women of the armed forces, they really step up, and that was fun to see,” Leno said.

The comedian and car collector auctioned his 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. The limited edition muscle car, which Leno owned from new, fetched a winning bid of $360,000 at Gooding & Co.’s Arizona auction Saturday. Other bidders added $205,000 in donations for the USO.

Fox Business reports Leno presented the car on the Gooding stage alongside USO President J.D. Crouch II and former Army Chief Of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr.

“When we sell cars and represent them well, it’s one thing. But when we can sell them and raise money for a good cause, that’s even better,” David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding & Co., told Fox Business.

“I wouldn’t have these things if it was not for the men and women in the armed forces,” Leno said.

“It’s one of those freedoms that we take for granted a little bit, and since I didn’t serve, I should give a little bit more.”

He offered to hand deliver the car to the winner, of course, until he learned that the highest bidder was from Maine. Leno has long been known for his love for cars and car collecting, and even has his own website dedicated to his passion.

In Monterey, California, last August, Leno presented a 1957 Buick Caballero Estate station wagon that was restored by his own Big Dog Garage and signed by former President George W. Bush. It sold for $300,000, but the buyer immediately donated the car back. A second round of bidding netted another $280,000 for The George W. Bush Military Service Initiative, according to Fox Business.

“He’s a true enthusiast,” Gooding said.

“It’s been a great privilege for us to be able to raise money for charity and work with him.”