Skip to Main Content
Piston Stories

Success Story: The Bring a Trailer “Gimlet Z”

BaT never seems to do anything by halves, and nowhere is this truer than in its decision to
auction off its own Datsun 240 “Gimlet Z” for charity. The team at BaT wanted to celebrate its
100,000th listing and decided to look for a worthy charity to support. It didn’t take long for BaT to discover The Piston Foundation.

By Casey Annis & Christopher Perkowski

October 11, 2023

Giving Back to the Car Community

The Piston Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide scholarships to young students interested in pursuing a career in the classic car restoration arts. According to BaT co-founder Randy Nonnnenberg, “The goal of our celebratory 100,000th auction was to highlight how much we have accomplished as a team, and to also use that special moment to give back to the car community. Selling our own BaT 240Z felt like the right item, given that it is so closely affiliated with BaT and our enthusiast roots. But we didn’t want to cheer for a big sale result for our own profit…we wanted to be able to cheer for a result that was for the betterment of the car community. After reviewing a number of really impactful charities, we chose The Piston Foundation.”

When the auction closed, the Gimlet Z had fetched $129,240, enough to create 27 scholarships! And better yet, in addition to donating the sale price to The Piston Foundation, BaT also included all of the buyer’s fee ($5,000) and an additional $6,513 donated by the generous members of the BaT community! That’s a grand total of $135,753 donated to the Piston Foundation. Nonnenberg added, “Donating the whole sale price and the bidder fee felt best, and that let the entire car community get behind the listing and celebrate the result.”

With 100% of the donations going directly to scholarships, this incredible sale made an immediate impact. So far in 2023, The Piston Foundation has provided 23 aspiring technicians with a $5,000 scholarship each. The assistance has given them all a lot to be thankful for.

Making an Impact Through Auctions

“The Piston scholarship has helped me pursue my dreams, not only through financially supporting my education, but through support and opportunities,” Piston Scholar Victoria Bruno said. “They stand as a reliable and incredible network that truly cares about educating the next generation of automotive restorers.”

Sean Whetstone explained, “Last year, my dad actually had to take out a private loan in order to cover what financial aid didn’t. The Piston Foundation scholarship actually covered that. And my dad did not have to take out another loan.”

“Getting the Piston Scholarship, to me, means I’m a valued part of the collector car world,” said Edwin Buiter. “I’m worth something to someone. I’m not just here on my own.”

The Piston scholarship has been positively life-changing for these deserving students and it’s all thanks to the vision of BaT and the generosity of their community.

Keeping Our Foot on the Gas

Everyone has been so satisfied with the results that hosting another auction was a no-brainer. Piston is very proud and pleased to have this relationship with BaT continue, with sales of a donated 1960 Willys Wagon, a 1999 Mazda Miata race car, and a 1967 MGB GT.

1960 Willys Wagon
1999 Mazda Miata Bonneville Racer
1967 MGB GT

These auctions show the horsepower Bring-a-Trailer members and Piston have when they work together to support the car community. Let’s all keep our foot on the gas so more young people can get the training they need to become classic car technicians.

Learn how you can get involved with the Piston Foundation, make a car donation or financial gift.

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.


Sign up for our monthly email with stories, updates, and volunteer opportunities.