The idea for the project came when Mike Brown, owner of Vettesthetics and VetteLife in Prescott, was on his way to In-N-Out Burger with National Football League nose tackle for the Buffalo Bills Marcell Dareus. Brown had just sold Dareus a couple corvettes that day.
“I said, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we did this,’” Brown said. “The next day, he picked me up and we went and picked up the car.”
Brand new 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray’s start at about $55,400. Once General Motors heard about what Dareus had in mind for the vehicle, the company sold it to him for about half, Prescott Tire Pros co-owner Jayme Salazar said. Dareus also provided a budget for Brown to work with for doing the custom work on the vehicle.
The idea was to create a military-themed vehicle. Given the sleek lines of a Corvette, they decided to model it after an F-35 fighter jet.
Brown and the crew at Prescott Auto Body (a partner of Prescott Auto Center) put in most of the man-hours required for designing and building the vehicle.
The wheels and tires were collectively paid for and built by the other partners of the Prescott Auto Center, which includes the owners of Prescott Tire Pros, Louie Gomez and Jayme Salazar.
“We made the wheels custom,” Salazar said.
“Toyota jumped on board and put tires on it,” Gomez said.
Combined, the wheels and tires alone could go for about $8,000 “at the drop of a hat,” Gomez said.
In January, the vehicle will be auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company in Scottsdale.
“We’re hoping to raise about $1 million for veteran charities with it,” Brown, a U.S. Navy veteran, said.
Sounds like a lot, but it’s not uncommon for specialty vehicles being sold for charitable causes at high-end auction houses like Barrett-Jackson to raise significant figures.
“The person that buys it is getting a tax benefit from doing so, so usually guys like Robert Gates will buy things like this,” Brown said. “Something similar like this last year went for about $500,000 and it wasn’t detailed to this level.”
All of the proceeds will be split among the Wounded Warrior Project, USO and Disabled American Veterans, all of which are charitable organizations that assist United States veterans in various ways.
The car was unveiled during a customer appreciation event at Prescott Tire Pros on Friday, Sept. 23.
It was also available for public viewing during the 10th annual Historic Prescott Corvette Car Show on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza in downtown Prescott.
We would like to thank The Daily Courier for reprint permission.