Last week the Ferrari 458 Italia made its debut on North American soil at a party hosted by the Italian automaker in Southern California. The guest list was limited to celebrities and Ferrari's top clients, all of whom got their first peek at Ferrari's F430 replacement.
As part of the event, the very first 458 Italia designated for the U.S. was auctioned off for charity to the highest bidder with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit Haiti through the CMBB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) and the William J. Clinton Foundation. The guests were in a particularly giving mood, and a top bid of $530,000 took the car home. In addition to the 458 Italia, Ferndando Alonso's F1 racing suit and two Scuderia Ferrari team member trips to the Canadian Grand Prix in June raised an additional $72,000.
There's still no word on when the common folk will get to see the 458 Italia here in the United States. Ferrari will not be among the exhibitors at the New York Auto Show, but we fully expect Ferrari to bring the cars to Monterey during the Pebble Beach weekend. Until then you'll just have to settle for the high-res gallery below.
Over 500 guests and Ferrari aficionados, including John Mayer, Jeremy Renner, Patrick Dempsey, Aaron Eckhart, Joel McHale, Malin Ackerman, Mollie Simms, Katie Cassidy, had the opportunity to bid on Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso's original racing suit (which raised $31,000) and on two experiences as a Scuderia Ferrari team member at the Canadian Gran Prix in Montreal next June (which went for $20,000 and $21,000).
In choosing recipients organizations which would deliver the highest caliber of aid to the people of Haiti now and in the long-term, Ferrari focused its ongoing commitment to social responsibility to a cause that close to everybody's hearts and still in need of tremendous support. Both organizations have strong ties to Haiti, the CMMB working in Haiti since 1912 and Bill Clinton having been asked by President Obama to spearhead a U.S. effort there with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
It was announced during the evening's program that the Department of Orthopedics and Hand Surgery of the University of Modena, which has a longtime relationship with Ferrari, will make its knowledge and resources available to help CMMB in Haiti. In particular, Dr. Landi's team of hand and microsurgery specialists, whose studies have been financed by Ferrari, will be an asset in the training and capacity-building for the Haitian medical community, in cooperation with CMMB's extensive healthcare network in the country.
Grammy Award winner John Mayer donated his time to perform. Director and Ferrari collector Michael Bay was acknowledged for his long-standing friendship with the company.
The auction of the Ferrari 458 Italia was conducted by the Wall Street Journal automotive journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Dan Neil.