EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (July 14, 2010) - For the third straight year, the Ford Motor Company has created a unique, aviation-themed Mustang automobile to be auctioned with proceeds benefiting the EAA Young Eagles program. The one-of-a-kind 2011 SR-71 "Blackbird" Mustang will go to the winning bidder at the Young Eagles Auction during EAA AirVenture 2010, which will be held July 26-August 1 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
Ford's continued, generous support for the EAA Young Eagles program is unsurpassed, having raised more than $1 million in recent years. Young Eagles, introduced in July 1992, has already flown more than 1.5 million young people at no charge, making it the largest youth aviation education program in history.
The aviation-themed design of the SR-71 "Blackbird" Mustang, which got its inspiration from the spectacular reconnaissance jet, is the result of the first-time collaboration between two automotive legends with deep passions for aviation - Carroll Shelby, a former U.S. Air Force flight instructor, and Jack Roush, a long-time P-51 pilot. The SR-71 "Blackbird" jet first took flight in 1964, the year the Mustang was introduced.
"Ford is a long-time supporter of EAA and its mission to showcase the finest innovation and technology in flight," said Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman/president and AirVenture chairman. "The dedication shown by Carroll Shelby, Jack Roush and the SR-71 'Blackbird' Mustang team along with Ford's generosity will ensure EAA's ability to do some amazing things for our future aviation enthusiasts."
Shelby and Roush helped design, engineer, and produce the SR-71 "Blackbird" Mustang, which has many special and unique features including their embroidered signatures in the exclusive racing seats.
The Young Eagles Auction will take place at the EAA Gathering of Eagles presented by Cessna Aircraft Company, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29 at the EAA AirVenture Museum. The Gathering of Eagles supports Young Eagles and other EAA programs that inspire young people to become the engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists, and innovators - the aviation pioneers of tomorrow.
The SR-71 "Blackbird" joins the two other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford Design and Engineering teams for the EAA Young Eagles Auction in recent years, each desired by both aviation and automotive enthusiasts alike. In 2008, the Mustang AV8R, with cues from the F-22 "Raptor," introduced the glass-roof canopy and delivered a record auction contribution of $500,000. In 2009, the AV-X10 "Dearborn Doll" auctioned was crafted in honor of WWII aircraft.
"The excitement around the 2008 AV8R, our first one-off Mustang ever produced, inspired us to push for another, first, the collaboration of Carroll Shelby and Jack Roush," said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford's Board of Directors. "This year's SR-71 'Blackbird' is a special tribute to Ford's lineage of performance vehicles, as well as to the promising innovators of EAA's Young Eagles."
To participate in the auction, pre-qualify by contacting Matt Miller in the EAA Development Office at 800-236-1025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, July 26. Visit www.airventure.org/gathering for more information.
EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at twitter.com/EAAupdate.