Bird Dog, Truck Auction Raises $1 Million

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An anonymous bidder paid $750,000 for a nostalgic package that included a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog aircraft and a Dodge M37 army truck at a Barrett-Jackson auction last weekend. Another $250,000 in donations was also raised for the for the Armed Forces Foundation's educational effort on the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cessna donated the aircraft, which is one of about 130 flyable Bird Dogs. Okoboji Classic Cars, of Spencer, Iowa, donated the truck. A quick survey of used aircraft sites puts the value of a good Bird Dog at about $80,000 while drivable examples of the truck go for less than $10,000. The aircraft and truck in the auction had undergone full restorations.

The L-19 is a 1957 model that spent the first half of its life in France as a trainer before being imported to the U.S. in 1984. It was purchased by Dr. Wallace Nelms, of Wilson, N.C., who restored it to American colors and markings over a three-year period. The truck was found in a farmer's field and more than 2,500 hours were spent restoring it.