1956 Army Chevy Raises $1 Million in Auction for Veterans Charity

by Matthew Memrick

A much-traveled 1956 Chevrolet made $1 million for the veterans’ charity Honor Flight on Saturday.

The Cold War car was auctioned twice at Saturday’s Barrett-Jackson event in Houston.

Enduro Pipeline Services first won the car on a $425,000 bid. The Tulsa, Oklahoma company turned around and auctioned it again. Then, John Burkland of La Grange, Texas, took the car with a $400,000 bid.

Finally, an anonymous auction participant tossed in $175,000 to the charity for a grand sum of $1 million for the 1956 Chevy 150.

Classic Car Passed Along

The car started its life at the Sioux Army Depot in Sidney, Neb., in 1964. 

The Nebraska town was once the home of Cabela’s. Bass Pro Shops bought its outdoors chain competitor back in 2017.

Before Saturday, a buyer won a June Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction with a $70,000 bid. But that buyer sent it to Houston to be sold at a charity lot.

After several owners and life as a makeshift chicken coop, the car returned to the road in 2018. 

According to the auctioneer, the manual 3-speed transmission kept most of its original paint throughout its life. In its 2018 restoration, the car got newly rebuilt wheel cylinders and rubber brake hoses. Also, the car got new exhaust and fuel systems. Some of the chicken scratches remained, however.

Honor Flight Helps Many

One million will go a long way for the Honor Flight charity, which provides veterans will free trips to visit the WWII, and Korean War memorials in Washington, D.C.

According to the charity, 245,218 veterans have traveled to Washington through the program.

Southwest Airlines, Snap-on Tools, Mission BBQ, and EF Educational tours are Circle of Valor sponsors for the non-profit company. Others include AARP, Talking Rain Sparkling Ice, Reebok, and Duke Cannon.

On Tuesday, three flights will leave from the Eastern Iowa, Kansas, and the Ohio tri-state area.

Charity Is a National One

There are 125 Honor Flight Hubs around the country. While every state is not accessible with these hubs, the Lone Eagle Honor Flight group helps all veterans “regardless of their geographic location in the United States.”

According to the organization’s website, the Lone Eagle Hub serves WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans and the time periods between those conflicts. Additionally, the program serves critically ill veterans of all service eras who have less than one year to live. 

ABC7 interviewed the two Honor Flight founders, Earl Morse and Jeff Miller in May. The men have seen the program’s impacts first-hand and said it is much more than a trip. The news station said Morse, an Airforce Veteran, came up with the idea of Honor Flight and put it into action sixteen years ago.

“My father was a World War II veteran, my mother lost one brother in World War II,” Miller told the television station. “I have a real need to serve the ones that have served me, that’s given me my opportunities and that’s the drive.”