Hands holding steering wheel

New road for an old car

Robby Cochran really loved his 1994 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer. He’d had it since he was a student at Spartanburg High School back in the 1990s.

“It was the only car I ever had,” he said.

When he recently relocated to  San Francisco, where he works for a cyber security start-up, Robby decided not to take the vehicle with him. It was still running well, but the air conditioning wasn’t working.

“I didn’t want to put any more money into it,” Robby said.

He had the idea of driving across the country and dumping it right into the Pacific Ocean – “to give it sort of a Viking burial,” he said.  

But he decided against such a dramatic move and left it parked outside the home of his parents, Dr. Robert and Janeen Cochran. They told him about Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s new Vehicle Donation Program.

“I didn’t really want to sell it,” Robby said. “So I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that.’ I was attached to it, so I’m glad it could go to a good cause.”

The program provides a way to donate an old car, truck, RV, motorcycle, boat, or other motorized vehicles. A third party handles the pick-up and sale of the donated vehicles, and proceeds benefit the Foundation’s efforts to make our community a healthier place.

“The process was very smooth,” said Janeen Cochran. “But I’m so glad I wasn’t home to see it leave.”

Like her son, Janeen felt sentimental. She and Robert had brought Robby’s youngest sibling home from the hospital in the old car. When his sons were in Boy Scouts, Robert drove the kids on trips in the Explorer to go hiking and camping.

Robby took the Explorer to college at Clemson and later to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, where he earned a PhD in computer science. At various points through the years, he and friends went on road trips – the kind of experiences that forge life-long memories.

Robby’s parents are longtime supporters of the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. Robert currently serves on the Foundation’s cancer division board. Robert said his son’s decision to donate  the car was gratifying.

“Our family had so many wonderful adventures with the car it seemed appropriate that it have a noble end – supporting the Spartanburg Regional Foundation,” Robert said.

To learn more about the Vehicle Donation Program, please visit