Over 570 guests attended the inaugural Walter P. Chrysler Legacy Gala benefiting the nonprofit Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Mich.
The event celebrated 85 years of Chrysler heritage and honored four automotive and entertainment icons with the Walter P. Chrysler Legacy Award.
They are: Former Chrysler Chairman and CEO Lee Iacocca; “Tonight Show” Host and Car Collector Jay Leno; NASCAR Champion Richard Petty; and former Chrysler Design Chief Virgil Exner, who was honored posthumously and represented by his son Virgil Exner, Jr.
The Legacy Gala was also the official launch of the Walter P. Chrysler Legacy Campaign with Museum Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Frank Fountain announcing that $1 million in contributions have been raised to date. The campaign is a multi-year, multi-million initiative designed to ensure the Museum’s long-term viability.
“The Legacy Gala was a coming out party, of sorts, to tell the world we’re now a nonprofit, dedicated as ever to showcasing Chrysler’s rich heritage for decades to come,” said Fountain. “What better way than with a joyous celebration of decades of creativity and ingenuity that began with the inspiration and passion of one very enterprising man?
“This was a grand occasion to salute the achievements of four outstanding gentlemen and welcome a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of current and retired Chrysler executives, auto enthusiasts and industry leaders, as well as our colleagues throughout the community to our magnificent Museum.”
The evening began with a Michigan-inspired strolling dinner throughout the Museum’s three floors featuring a menu created by renowned caterers, 2Unique of Royal Oak, Mich. The fresh fare capitalized on seasonal ingredients grown and produced within the state.
Rounding out the event were silent and live auctions of extraordinary items, including A Day With Richard Petty and A Private Tour of Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage and Tickets to “The Tonight Show.”