Skip to Main Content

Willys Wagon Auction Creates Six Scholarships for Aspiring Technicians

The Piston’s Foundation’s latest charity car auction has just come to a successful close! In continued partnership with Bring a Trailer, this exciting auction featured a 1960’s Willys Wagon donated by Adam Pitale of Adam’s Polishes. Special thanks to Adam Pitale, Adam’s Polishes, and Bring a Trailer for their support of skilled trade education and hands-on training for aspiring collector car technicians.

The winning bid was $30,000. Bring a Trailer donated 100% of their auction fees, $1,500, to bring the total auction proceeds to $31,500. Thanks to the Cars for Piston Scholars campaign, a new initiative to support the Piston Foundation Scholarship Program, all of the auction proceeds will go toward creating 6 shiny new scholarships for aspiring technicians.

By Jeff Mason

July 10, 2023

What’s the Big Idea?

For those out of the loop, the Piston Foundation’s mission is a simple, but impactful one. By creating new and innovative paths to career success in the automotive trades, Piston aims to grant young technicians the opportunity to receive a skilled trade education and hands-on training. If more of today’s youth had access to these types of opportunities, issues such as labor shortages would no longer pose a threat to the preservation of car culture.

100% To Scholarships

Of course, creating such opportunities can only happen with help from the community. That’s where Cars for Piston Scholars comes in. With this campaign, it’s not just about donating a car. It’s about creating career opportunities for the next generation. 100% of the proceeds from car auctions go toward our scholarship program. Additionally, Bring a Trailer donates 100% of its buyer’s fee to maximize the impact. Thanks to Pitale’s generous donation of his 1960 Willys Wagon, The Piston Foundation will be able to fund additional scholarships for future collector car technicians.

Adam Pitale, founder of Adam’s Polishes and Piston Foundation donor.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for what the Piston Foundation is doing. I’m just thrilled to death to be involved with something that’s going to help kids do their passion for a living, and to support the program. I give a thumbs-up to both Bring a Trailer and the Piston Foundation. I think it’s just the perfect circle.

Adam Pitale, founder of Adam’s Polishes

All The Specs From Top to Bottom

As the owner of car care and detailing company, Adam’s Polishes, you can bet Pitale has kept this Willys Wagon spotlessly clean. With its newly restored DOT yellow finish and brown leather/vinyl interior, it may as well have come straight out of 1960! Only 1175 of these 4-cylinder Wagons were produced at the time, making this car considerably rarer than the later and more familiar vintage off-roaders.

Boasting an F134 “Hurricane” inline 4-cylinder engine, a 3-speed manual transmission and a dual-speed transfer case, there’s certainly a lot going for it. It’s been treated to a very respectful cosmetic restoration while retaining the highly functional and underrated charm of the original engine. The real upgrade to the driving experience is the posh, German leather seating surfaces, which coincide beautifully with the warm, wooden floor slats and charming, painted steel surfaces. 

Pitale is very proud of his car and prouder still to give it to a cause he believes in. “I buy and sell cars on Bring a Trailer all the time,” says Pitale. “And I have a tremendous amount of respect for what the Piston Foundation is doing. I’m just thrilled to death to be involved with something that’s going to help kids do their passion for a living, and to support the program. I give a thumbs-up to both Bring a Trailer and the Piston Foundation. I think it’s just the perfect circle.”

The support of industry leaders like Bring a Trailer and Adam’s Polishes is essential for our mission of building a new and diverse generation of tradespeople to solve the skilled labor shortage. We’re inviting the whole collector car industry to be a part of this effort.

Jeff Mason, president of The Piston Foundation

Giving the Auction Some Polish

Embodying their commitment to the car enthusiast community, Adam’s Polishes is also the sponsor of this charity auction and will provide the auction winner with an Adam’s Essentials Detail Kit. The kit includes everything the new Willys owner will need to clean and protect their new wagon from top to bottom.

The Charity Auction Commitment

Pitale’s car donation and the sponsorship from Adam’s Polishes are especially impactful thanks to the nature of this charity auction. Unlike similar campaigns, Cars for Piston Scholars is dedicated to ensuring the full amount of any gift goes toward supporting the students and their automotive passions. This is great news, as it means the full number of scholarships that can be made from a donation, will be made.

“Car donors will be making a difference in the lives of aspiring technicians and helping young people get the education they need to start rewarding careers in the collector car industry,” says Piston COO and President Jeff Mason. “It’s the support of the car community and auto industry leaders like Adam’s Polishes that helps the Piston Foundation with its mission to build a new and diverse generation of tradespeople.”

Piston Scholar Edwin Buiter is a sophomore in the McPherson College auto restoration program.

It takes $5000 to create a scholarship, so maximizing the impact from each contribution is crucial, especially when considering the goals set in place for the scholarships program. Starting last year in 2022, the program funded scholarships for 10 promising young students. This year, the goal is to boost that number to 50. When Cars for Piston Scholars debuted back in March, the auction’s proceeds were enough to create twenty-seven of the fifty scholarships. Add in the proceeds from the Willys Wagon auction and hopes are high Piston will achieve a milestone worth celebrating by the end of this year.

Bidder Takes All

The big yellow Jeep sold this past Wednesday for an even $30,000. The winning bidder, @therealjeepdave, was quite excited to have won and thanked Pitale for donating such a beautiful car to charity.

The proceeds from this auction are enough to create six new scholarships and thirty-three total for the year thus far. The Cars for Piston Scholars campaign has presented a strong model for how car people can give back to what they love and the results are plain to see. You can be sure to expect more charity auctions coming ‘round the bend in the near future.

Charity Auctions, Car Culture, and You!

With every milestone crossed, new horizons open and even greater possibilities arise. With the help of future Cars for Piston Scholar donors, we can surpass the goals set for this year and prepare for an even greater commitment to the legacy of car culture. Donating your own collector car to the next charity auction is a simple way you can help keep this legacy alive. You can begin your contribution by filling out our car donation form.

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.


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