The auction at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to sell the SR-71 Mustang failed to achieve its target of $500,000. The two builders, Jack Roush and Carroll Shelby, came together in support of the EAA Young Eagles, a nonprofit organization that gives educational flights for children.
The Mustang only fetched $375,000 from an unnamed buyer. For many years, the EAA has been the recipient of Ford's unique auction vehicles. The amount raised by such events in the last 15 years has been donated. The car has already been purchased but it will still be on display at the Ford tent until Sunday at the AirVenture show.
The vehicle was built in honor of the SR-71 Blackbird long-range reconnaissance airplane. Its name stands for two automotive icons: S for Shelby, R for Roush.
Mustang SR-71 has some elements that make it stand out among other Mustangs. The SR-71 Mustang features all-new aluminum block 5.0l Ti-VCT V8 engine that's tuned with a 2.3l Whipple Twin Screw Supercharger with Ford Racing calibration and Roush intake.
It has been given several mechanical upgrades, including Ford Racing Handling Pack, Ford Racing tuned exhaust and tips and SVT Track Pack wheels.
For the fully-customized Mustang, the term "SR-71" comes with two meanings. The first is that the "SR" signifies that this is the first project that Shelby and Roush have collaborated on. The second one refers to the SR-71 Blackbird, especially in terms of how the car was designed and the performance that it delivers.
For those familiar with aircraft models, the SR-71 Blackbird is considered as one of the best planes ever made and currently holds all official records on altitude and airspeed. For this project, the design team was led by Mustang Chief Designer Darrell Behmer while the engineering team was headed by Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer Dave Pericak.
To make the car even more exclusive, the team put in Ford Racing Performance Parts. The launch of the SR-71 "Blackbird" is slated to be the highlight of the EAA Gathering of Eagles during the AirVenture on July 29. Proceeds of the auction will be donated to EAA's Young Eagles.
Since 1992, this program has provided more than 1.5 million young people free introductory flights. It has also been responsible for teaching these same young people the importance of hard work, the value of personal responsibility, and even the science and math skills.
EAA Chairman and President Tom Poberezny shared that Ford’s continued partnership with AirVenture and EAA is a good representation of its historic relationship with aviation considering that the celebration of flight in Oshkosh is unparalleled.
By donating this Mustang SR-71 'Blackbird' to the auction, Ford is showing that it is indeed dedicated to supporting aviation and more importantly, inspiring all manner of aviation enthusiasts, he added. It was back in 2008 when Ford had a vehicle made specifically to support the Young Eagles with the Mustang AV8R.
That time, it managed to raise $500,000. Since then, Ford vehicles auctioned at this event have managed to raise an amount in excess of $1 million, all of which were given to support the Young Eagles.
Edsel B Ford II, a member of the automaker’s Board of Directors related that the excitement created by the 2008 AV8R inspired the company to make another milestone by having Carroll Shelby and Jack Roush collaborate. The SR-71 Blackbird, he added, pays homage to the company’s lineage when it comes to performance vehicles and gives tribute to the Yong Eagles’ promising innovators.