A Cleveland, Tn., businessman stepped up for the National Guard in a big way at the recent Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.
Allan Jones, founder and CEO of Check Into Cash, purchased a white F-150 pickup truck owned by President George W. Bush at the April 6 auction in Palm Beach, Fla. The final bid on the truck was $350,000.
Bush kept the truck at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, TX after he left the White House in 2009, said Holly Moeller, director of VIP Bidding at Barrett-Jackson.
“President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush used the truck to work around their ranch; entertain friends, family and dignitaries; and to give tours of their Crawford property,” said Ms. Moeller. “This vehicle purchased by Allan Jones is a piece of presidential automotive history.”
Mr. Jones said Check Into Cash purchased the truck not only because he is a fan of the former President, but also to benefit charity. Barrett-Jackson designated all funds from the sale to the National Guard Youth Foundation – a military mentoring and training program for at-risk youth.
“Check Into Cash has always been a big supporter of our nation’s troops and the National Guard and we are proud to make this donation,” Mr. Jones said. “The mission of the National Guard Youth Foundation is to advocate for and support the National Guard Youth Challenge program, which benefits our nation’s young people.”
The Foundation provides scholarships, training and workforce transition assistance for graduates and helps build a stronger America, said Check Into Cash President Steve Scoggins.
The title of the truck is currently in the former President's name and will be transferred directly to Mr. Jones. Additionally, the right airbag panel features President Bush's signature and a copy of a video showing him autographing the truck and driving it around his ranch was included with the purchase.
Mr. Jones said the truck will be on display for the public at the Check Into Cash headquarters in Cleveland and will be parked outside the entrance of the Bald-Headed Bistro restaurant at 201 Keith Street SW.
The truck will replace the historic 1927 Fillauer Packard that is currently on display outside the restaurant.
Mr. Jones has a history of creating excitement and drama at Barrett-Jackson. In 2012, the businessman pushed the price on a tractor owned by Jay Leno to over $500,000 in an auction designated to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, whose goal is to support military families during times of need. Mr. Jones was ultimately the second-highest bidder on the tractor.
Mr. Jones has become legendary at Barrett-Jackson for his trademark Tennessee Vols cap and propensity for engaging in high-dollar bidding wars that benefit charity.
Prior to his charity bid in 2012, Mr. Jones drew attention at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2005 that has become legendary among classic car collectors and fans of the auction.
At the event, he bid on a rare Olds F-88 – a Chevrolet Corvette with Oldsmobile-style bodywork. Wearing his trademark Vols hat, he engaged in a dramatic bidding war for the concept car with collector Alan Lewenthal, curator for the Gateway Auto Museum who has also been called “Ferrari Hat Guy.”
Mr. Jones felt he had the car secured for $550,000 but eventually pushed the bidding to $2.7 million until he decided to no longer pursue the F-88 he estimated was worth about $600,000. The car was eventually sold for $3.24 million.
The duel was described by AutoWeek magazine as “perhaps the most emotional 10 minutes of automotive television in recent history.”
Mr. Jones’ history of philanthropy runs deep. He was the sole financial contributor to the Jones Wrestling Center at Cleveland High School, home of the 2011 and 2013 state champion Blue Raiders. Jones was also the sole contributor to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s state-of-the-art Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
The businessman made national headlines in 2011 with a donation to the non-profit Tennessee Achieves program that ensured every graduating high school senior in Bradley County had a chance to attend Cleveland State Community College.