Vintage Cessna L-19E Bird Dog and Dodge M37 Raises
$1 Million for Charity at Barrett-Jackson Auction
Cessna Aircraft Company teamed up with CJP Partner Kansas Aircraft Corporation and Okoboji Classic Cars to create a one-of-a-kind historical package for charity auction at the 43rd annual Barrett-Jackson auto auction. A restored Cessna L-19E Bird Dog and a Dodge M37 pickup was auctioned for $750,000 with another $250,000 donated to total $1 million. The funds from the donors, who chose to remain anonymous, benefited the Armed Forces Foundation.
“Kansas Aircraft is thrilled to contribute our expertise and knowledge to this unique project,” said Tim White, CEO and owner. “Our resources and relationships throughout the aviation industry were key to finding this unique aircraft. The buyer is going home with an outstanding aircraft with the proceeds going to a fantastic cause.”
Plans to secretly acquire the ideal L-19 Bird Dog began last January at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson auction. Because of Kansas Aircraft’s deep knowledge and extensive network of aircraft owners, collectors and aficionados, Cessna asked the company to take the lead on finding the right Bird Dog. In addition, Kansas Aircraft’s involvement ensured the project remained a secret until Cessna revealed the final auction package this week.
Mike Lester, Kansas Aircraft’s manager of research & sales support, spent months researching the market and talking to L-19 owners. Because of the small number of aircraft remaining, the L-19 community is extremely tightknit with the International Bird Dog Association serving as a clearinghouse for information about the aircraft. Relying on relationships built over years of working in the aircraft sales business, Lester and the Kansas Aircraft team located and successfully acquired an L-19E Bird Dog from Dr. Wallace Nelms of Wilson, N.C.
“Because the L-19 community is so close, it was important that we immerse ourselves and work with our current connections to find the right aircraft. L-19 owners are very proud of the aircraft’s history and are dedicated to preserving its legacy,” said Lester.
Former owner Dr. Nelms, who watched the auction from home, added, “This aircraft was my pride and joy, so it was important to me that the aircraft end up in the right hands. When Kansas Aircraft revealed who the purchaser was and their intentions with the aircraft, it warmed my heart to know it will benefit such as great cause.”