Known comedian, TV presenter and huge-chin wearer, Jay Leno, is preparing to auction one of his prides and joys from his extensive car collection with the help of the Gooding & Company auction house on Saturday, January 17. An all-black 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 — one of the first 6,400 models that were pre-sold to car collectors — will be awaiting a new owner, with all the money raised by the model to be donated by Jay Leno to the United Service Organizations (USO), a non-profit organization that offers various relief services, programs and even live entertainment to the United States forward-deployed army men and their families.

"We are honored to have Jay Leno, a long-time supporter of our nation’s troops and a dear friend of the USO, help us further our mission," said J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO & President. "This extraordinary gesture shows his genuine appreciation for everything they do for us at home and abroad. The USO thanks Mr. Leno and Gooding & Company, and knows this pledge will make many troops and military families’ futures brighter."

Powered by a 6.1-liter, naturally-aspirated, HEMI V-8 that outputs 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the 2008 Challenger SRT8 was the first all-new Challenger in about 35 years, with the previous model to bear this iconic name having went out of production back in 1983. With styling motifs reminiscent of the 1970 Challenger R/T, the new model almost singlehandedly resurrected Americans’ love for the HEMI and Mopar, which is probably why Jay Leno went for the fourth car ever built.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

Why it matters

As Leno himself said, the comedian rarely sells any of the vehicles in his personal collection unless it is for something truly important, such as making more room for an early steam car or a Duesenberg, or if the resulting money are sent toward a cause in which Jay believes in. This time it is the latter, although Leno didn’t mention if the Challenger SRT8 will be replaced by a new vehicle or not.

With the comedian being a long-time supporter of U.S. troops and the work that the USO is doing for soldiers and their families, it is no wonder that he got involved in this rather uplifting shenanigan with the Gooding & Company auction house. Not to mention that this isn’t the first time that Jay Leno’s name is written in the same sentence as Challenger and the U.S. army, as back in the Fall of 2014 he simply gave a brand new 2015 SRT8 Hellcat to an Afghanistan veteran soldier, all with no strings attached other than getting it all on camera.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8
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Press Release

Gooding & Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling the world’s most significant and valuable collector cars, is privileged to announce that USO CEO & President J.D. Crouch II, 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and USO Board Member General George Casey, along with Hollywood’s champion of car collecting and long-time USO supporter Jay Leno, will present the comedian’s 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale Auctions on Saturday, January 17.

The celebrated comedian has generously pledged that the proceeds from his Challenger, donated to the USO, will support the work of the USO and its longstanding mission of lifting the spirits of forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition, and families of the fallen.

This special presentation of a true American original, paired with the always entertaining commentary by Leno, provides an exciting way to support his commitment to America’s troops and military families, and raise awareness of the USO.

“I rarely sell any of my vehicles in my personal collection unless it’s for something as important as the USO,” proclaimed comedian Jay Leno.

“We are honored to have a part in supporting Jay and the USO’s commitment to bringing joy to so many service members and their families,” says President and Founder, David Gooding. “Together, with the presence of J.D. Crouch II and General George Casey from the USO, we hope the Challenger will yield a tremendous contribution to support for troops and families. We are very happy to help support such a wonderful and positive cause.”

“We are honored to have Jay Leno, a long-time supporter of our nation’s troops and a dear friend of the USO, help us further our mission,” says J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO & President. “This extraordinary gesture shows his genuine appreciation for everything they do for us at home and abroad. The USO thanks Mr. Leno and Gooding & Company, and knows this pledge will make many troops and military families’ futures brighter.”
Jay Leno’s 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

The iconic Dodge Challenger of 1970–1974 was the inspiration behind the 2006 Detroit Auto Show concept car that created a firestorm of demand, making the new-generation Challenger a production reality by 2008. The new generation Challenger marks an eye-catching design and

engineering tour de force with stunning performance, readied with 425 HP, a 6.1-Liter V-8 engine, 425 BHP at 6,200 RPM and a five-speed Autostick transmission and has recently been fitted with a new set of continental tires. The entire US production run of 6,400 cars was pre-sold to America’s premier car collectors, including this Challenger, owned from new by entertainment icon Jay Leno. In addition to top-level specifications equipped on all first-year Challengers, Mr. Leno personally selected the striking black color and supplementary options on this bespoke example that will be presented at auction on Saturday, January 17.

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