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Denogean: Mustang raffle could corral $1M for charity

A 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt like this one will be raffled off in Tucson on Feb. 18, 2008. Contact your favorite local charity to buy tickets.

A 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt like this one will be raffled off in Tucson on Feb. 18, 2008. Contact your favorite local charity to buy tickets.

If you’re old enough to remember the “King of Cool,” there’s an ongoing charity event that you may find irresistible.

Local nonprofits are selling raffle tickets for the chance to win a 2008 Mustang Bullitt. The car is modeled after the one Det. Frank Bullitt, played by über icy Steve McQueen, drove through the streets of downtown San Francisco in a searing chase scene that made the 1968 movie “Bullitt” a part of film lore.

Behind the raffle is Tucson businessman Jim Click Jr., who hopes ticket sales will raise $1 million for local charities.

At least 224 organizations are participating. Fifty-thousand tickets have been printed and, so far, 35,000 distributed to the participating groups.

“It’s a great way for small agencies to raise money,” Click said.

Click said he and wife, Vicki, were attending a showing of “Casablanca” at the restored Fox Theatre in June and saw that the Fox would be presenting “Bullitt” in August. Herb Stratford, executive director of the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation, asked if Click was interested in doing a Mustang-related promotion and underwriting the film.

Click, president of Jim Click Automotive, knew Ford was coming out with a Bullitt next year to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the film, so he decided to go big. He would donate a Bullitt for a raffle to benefit all of Tucson’s charities and announce it at the Fox showing of “Bullitt.”

Some cynics might see this as Click just advertising Click. But Click has a long history of philanthropy in Tucson. He has donated to and/or helped raise money for Boys & Girls Clubs, Save Our Sabino, a job center for the homeless, Salpointe Catholic High School, San Miguel Catholic High School and the University of Arizona.

He’s a founding member of the Men’s Anti-Violence Partnership of Southern Arizona. And he was one of the first Tucson employers to hire people with developmental disabilities through the Beacon Foundation, today employing more than 60 people with disabilities at his dealerships.

A resident of Tucson for 36 years, Click said, “If you take from a community, you’ve got to give back.”

Frankly, Click doesn’t need much help selling Mustangs. They sell themselves. The Mustang GT is the first car for which Click gets almost full MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price). The Mustang Shelby GT500 brings a premium.

The Mustang “really has been successful since Ford reintroduced it and kind of brought it back in its original form,” Click said.

The Bullitt is likely to become an instant collector’s item. Ford is making only 7,700 for the U.S./Canada market. When Ford introduced the GT500, it made more than 10,000 and still barely met the demand, Click said.

Click’s dealership will get one Bullitt to sell and one for the raffle.

The Bullitt is dark green and stripped of ornamentation to match the muscle-bound, tough-guy appearance of the original movie car. McQueen is said to have added dents to the movie cars (two were used in filming the 9 minute, 42 second scene) to make them more realistic.

The 2008 version comes dent-free. But the engineers designed the exhaust system to sound like the original movie Mustang. “The car has a lot of history,” Click said.

The suggested starting price for the Bullitt is $31,075. The version to be raffled will come with all the goodies and have a higher value.

The vehicle, in production now, will be displayed in January at Click’s Ford dealership, with the drawing to take place Feb. 18. Contact your favorite charity to buy tickets at $25 each or five for $100.

As we enter the season of giving, the raffle tickets could be the coolest Christmas gift ever for yourself or the Mustang lover in your life – and the most excitement you’ve ever had while donating to charity.

Anne T. Denogean can be reached at 573-4582 and adenogean@.com. Address letters to P.O. Box 26767, Tucson, AZ 85726-6767. Her columns run Tuesdays and Fridays.



To see a review of the Mustang Bullitt and the full chase scene in a YouTube clip: www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Followup/articleId=123327e

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