Cars at the Capital

Dates & Exhibits

The 5th annual Cars at the Capital will be held from September 12-27, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Location & Details

The National Mall
The exhibit is located between the National Gallery of Art and the National Air & Space Museum

The best recommendation for parking near the exhibit is early morning before 8am and in the evening to see the display case fully lit.  Please note, guest parking is street parking only; you will not be permitted to bring your car on to the National Mall lawns or pedestrian walkways.

2019 Cars at the Capital Lineup

Astrovette Studio Profile

Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean’s 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Starting in 1961, General Motors offered a program to all astronauts – lease a Chevrolet Corvette for $1/year. Each would come from a former Indy 500 winner and GM dealer, Jim Rathmann, who owned a dealership close to the Space Center in Florida.

The fourth human to walk on the moon, Alan Bean, the Apollo 12 Lunar Module Pilot in 1969, took part in the lease program. Along with his colleagues (all of which had a hand in designing the color scheme) Bean, Pete Conrad, Mission Commander; and Dick Gordon, Command Module Pilot, chose a gold and black color combination. On the front left fender of each car was a red, white and blue plaque, in each square were: LMP, CDR and CMP, to stand for the positions they held on the mission.

This Corvette won a Top Flight award (with more than 97 points) at the 2002 National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) National Meet, and in 2003 won the coveted Duntov Award of Excellence at the NCRS Nationals. In 2008, the car also won the NCRS American Heritage Award “for the preservation of a historically significant piece of Corvette history” at the NCRS Nationals, making it the only Corvette in history to win both Duntov and Heritage awards. To date, the car has just over 35,000 original miles on its odometer.

Of the three custom-ordered 390-hp, 427 Stingray coupes, only the Corvette formerly owned by Alan Bean survives. The current owner, Danny Reed, has owned the car for 48 years.

On display September 12-19th

1966 Volkswagen Deluxe Station Wagon owned by Esau and Janie B. Jenkins

Esau and Janie B. Jenkins were pioneers before and during the civil rights movement. As business owners, community organizers, and founders of organizations and institutions, together they dedicated their lives to providing opportunities, and hope, to the people of Johns Island, SC and beyond.

In the 1940’s, using money from farming and selling produce, they would purchase buses to transport children to school and workers to jobs in Charleston, SC. During the bus rides, Esau and Janie B. would teach their adult passengers the information needed to pass the literacy exam so they could become registered voters. Along with others, they were responsible for The Progressive Club, a co-op started in 1948 that housed a grocery store, gas station, day care, and classroom space. Leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, participated in workshops there.

The 1966 VW Deluxe Station Wagon they drove was an icon throughout their community and throughout the South. On the back panel of the car was painted the infamous saying of Mr. Esau: “Love is Progress, Hate is Expensive.” In 2014 the family donated the back hatch, along with the engine cover, to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where it remains on permanent exhibit.

“The automobile has left an indelible mark in our culture and we believe America’s automotive heritage should never be lost nor forgotten,” said Diane Parker, Vice President of the Historic Vehicle Association. “To support that belief, our mission is to share America’s automotive heritage and to tell the human-interest stories behind the horsepower, share their cultural impact, and to ensure their histories are captured in perpetuity.”

On display September 20-27th

Cars at the Capital

A Celebration of Automotive Heritage and Culture.

Join the Historic Vehicle Association at this 5th annual automotive heritage exhibit at the National Mall in Washington D.C.

The exhibition will be presented on the National Mall between the National Gallery of Art and the National Air & Space Museum.

About the National Historic Vehicle Register

Documenting History.

The Historic Vehicle Association has developed a National Historic Vehicle Register to carefully and accurately document America’s most historically significant automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and commercial vehicles.

In March 2013, the HVA entered into a collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Interior to explore how vehicles important in American and automotive history could be effectively documented and recognized. This project is the first of its type to create a permanent archive of significant historic automobiles within the Library of Congress.

A Special Thank You to Our Sponsors

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Cars at the Capital Coverage