Jay Leno's Fiat 500 was auctioned off for an astounding $385,000- an even more impressive number when the price tag of the car is between $25,000 and $35,000. The late night talk show host donated the funds to wounded war veterans.
Jay Leno's Fiat 500 auction drew in an amazing sum of $385,000, but it wasn't without some help. Fisher House, a charity that helps wounded war veterans recover by giving them temporary housing, enlisted two U.S. heavyweights- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Chief of Staff Ray Odiero- to drive up the price.
The support from the two officials worked like a charm. Both Panetta and Odiero joined Leno on stage at the Gooding and Co. auction house as the sale was completed.
Leno's Fiat isn't just any car. It's the no. 2 Prima Edizione model out of a limited-edition batch that celebrates the company's arrival in the U.S. last year. The late night talk show host is an avid car collector, but still felt the cause of temporarily housing veterans was a good reason to let go of the rare car.
"They build these mansions using only the finest- 55-inch TVs, custom kitchens- the best stuff," Leno told The Hollywood Reporter. "If you are a soldier who has been wounded and you're in rehab you can move into the house and you can leave when you are ready to leave."
The winning bid on the Fiat also gets a rare treat: the chance to see Leno's vast collection of rare and expensive cars in Los Angeles firsthand.
"Knowing Jay's passion for cars, and what this one represents to him, we recognize that he is sacrificing something special for what he believes is a greater good," Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House, said in a statement. "All of Fisher House and the families we serve thank him deeply."