Some of this country’s most historic national events—from monumental political rallies to mass celebrations of presidential legacies—have taken place on Washington’s National Mall. But “America’s front yard” has never been the site to exhibit national automotive treasures, until now. A Historic Vehicle Association event like no other, Cars At The Capital showcased guest speakers and some of America’s most influential and historically significant automobiles. Check out this recap.
The importance of the inaugural Cars at the Capital event hosted by the HVA and sponsored by Volkswagen Group America, Inc. can be summed up in three words: Location. Location. Location.
For the first time in history, cars gathered on the National Mall earlier this month, mere minutes from the Capitol Building and Washington Monument. And these were not just any cars but rather some of the most historically significant in the country—the very automobiles selected by the HVA to soon join the Daytona Cobra Coupe prototype and first Meyers Manx dune buggy on the National Historic Vehicle Register.
Groundbreaking Greats All In One Place
With one car from each decade spanning the 1890s through the 1980s, Cars at the Capital featured something for everyone. From the last production Studebaker Avanti and Fabulous Hudson Hornet to the 1919 Pierce-Arrow Limousine owned by President Woodrow Wilson and everything in between, more than 100 years of American automotive heritage sat on display amidst some of our nation’s most historic landmarks.
In addition to the 10 incredible cars on display, Cars at the Capital also marked the official induction into the National Historic Vehicle Register of the 1964 Meyers Manx, affectionately known as “Old Red.” Along with the unveiling ceremony, the legendary car’s designer, Bruce Meyers, was on hand to discuss the history of the vehicle as well as his own role in its development and the subsequent dune-buggy boom of the late 1960s.
While hundreds of onlookers turned out over the weekend for a rare glimpse of these automotive treasures, a team utilizing 3-D laser-scanning technology was busy at work on the initial documentation process for the 10 historic vehicles on prominent display. This state-of-the-art process is a necessary step for recording each of the vehicles into the HVA’s National Historic Vehicle Register and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) that is permanently archived in the Library of Congress.
Other incredible cars on display at the National Mall included: a 1895 Benton Harbor Motor Carriage, which held the distinction of being both the oldest vehicle in attendance as well as the oldest operational American-made vehicle in existence; a gold-plated 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, one of only two manufactured; an unrestored 1926 Duesenberg Model A; and the 1947 Tucker ’48 prototype (a.k.a., the “Tin Goose”), which was also accompanied by John Tucker, a special featured guest and grandson of Preston Tucker, who entertained attendees with stories about the incredible car and his pioneering grandfather.
If the innumerable smiles on the faces of passersby were any indication, the sunny weekend celebration of this country’s rich automotive heritage proved quite a hit with those visiting our nation’s capital. People of all ages were able to spend time getting up close to the sort of automotive treasures rarely seen outside of books and museums.
Couldn’t make it to the event? Check out a photomontage of the automobiles on display at the Cars At The Capital weekend by clicking here. And while you’re at it, be sure to “like” us on our Facebook page where you can get the most up-to-the-minute National Historic Vehicle Register news and other HVA events happening this summer.