Dan Akerson will be taking a final parade lap at this weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise. No, much to the chagrin of the punditry, he's not stepping down as CEO of General Motors, just driving his 1958 Chevrolet Corvette for the last time before sending it off to auction for charity.
Akerson's benevolence will benefit Habitat for Humanity Detroit, which is fighting urban blight in the city's Morningside Commons neighborhood on the east side. GM's CEO has already given Habitat a million bucks this year, according to the press release. Details of when and where the car will be sold "will be announced shortly."
Clearly Akerson wants to be a role model for the sort of corporate stewardship GM sees as necessary to revitalize its hometown. Scroll down to see video of the car.
Akerson Puts 1958 Corvette on Auction Block for Habitat
Love the car but helping local residents a better cause, GM CEO says
DETROIT – One of America's classic sports cars is going to help pave the way for rebirth in a renowned Detroit neighborhood.
General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said Thursday he plans to auction off his 1958 Chevrolet Corvette with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity Detroit and its efforts to rebuild and revitalize the Morningside Commons neighborhood on the city's lower east side.
Auction details will be announced shortly. Interested parties can get an up-close look at the Akersons' 1958 Corvette this weekend at the Woodward Dream Cruise sponsored by Chevrolet and get more details at www.facebook.com/corvette.
Akerson and his wife, Karin, made a personal, cornerstone $1 million donation in February to help launch "Leaders to Rebuild Detroit," Habitat Detroit's three-year, $25 million initiative to serve at least 500 families in Morningside Commons through house construction, rehabilitation, critical repairs and energy-efficiency upgrades.
"A strong America is built on strong communities, and building those communities starts with one hammer, one nail and one person – and from there it's contagious," Akerson said. "My wife, Karin, and I want to see this effort to rebuild our headquarters city catch on, spread out and draw scores more volunteers and millions more in contributions.
"The 1958 Corvette is a great example of American passion and ingenuity, and my hope is that the auction will help bring attention and resources to Habitat's efforts to revitalize a historic Detroit neighborhood," said Akerson. "I love this Corvette, and if putting it on the block can help rebuild the heart and soul of a neighborhood, I am all for it."
The Regal Turquoise Corvette, powered by a 245-horsepower V-8, will be front and center at the 60th Anniversary Corvette Display at the familiar Birmingham Triangle along old and new Woodward avenues in downtown Birmingham. More than 200 classic Corvettes spanning 1953 to present will be on display.
"We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and leadership of Dan and Karin Akerson and the entire General Motors team," said Vincent Tilford, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit. "We are extremely grateful for their ongoing commitment and support for our efforts. Parting with a classic Detroit vehicle like this is above and beyond the call of duty."
The 1958 Corvette included new body panels, a new instrument panel and new upholstery. External distinguishing features included dual headlamps – a Corvette first – and twin chrome trunk spears. In a sign of changing times 54 years ago, safety belts were factory installed for first time. Chevrolet built 9,168 Corvettes for the 1958 model year, but only 510 – just over 5 percent – were painted Regal Turquoise.