Exhibition of Presidential Cars Opens at the National Mall, Washington D.C., in April 2016

“Cars at the Capital” features President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car and President Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6

Washington D.C. (April 11, 2016) – The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) announced today that its second Cars at the Capital exhibition on the National Mall in Washington, DC will feature two iconic presidential automobiles: President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car, the first White House limousine; and the 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 President Reagan used at the Reagan Ranch in California. Each of the vehicles will be displayed on the National Mall for approximately one week in a “glass jewel box” on the pathway between the National Air & Space Museum and National Gallery of Art from April 14 to April 26. The exhibition follows the widely acclaimed 2014 Cars at the Capital exhibition that brought many historically significant automobiles to the National Mall. President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car and President Reagan’s 1962 ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 will become the ninth and tenth vehicles, respectively, to be documented in and recognized by the National Historic Vehicle Register and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Historic American Engineering Record. Each vehicle’s documentation will be archived as national automotive heritage in the Library of Congress.

To document and prepare these automobiles for this important national heritage exhibition, HVA worked together with the curators at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Mass. which owns the 1909 White Steam Car and Young American’s Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. which owns the 1962 ‘Jeep.’

“The core mission of the HVA is to share America’s automotive heritage with the American people,” said Mark Gessler, President of the HVA. “The exhibition brings to life the personal side of these two former presidents. President Taft was the first president to promote the automobile and insist on an automobile parade in nearly all the American towns he visited. For President Reagan, his ‘Jeep’ reflected his unpretentious nature and enjoyment he derived from working on his ranch.”

President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car
Exhibited from April 14 to April 19

  • The first official White House automobile
  • The only known survivor of the first four automobiles in the 1909 White House fleet
  • Capable of speeds in excess of 60 mph, which President Taft enjoyed and encouraged

“We are delighted to have this significant auto from our collection honored and its history further preserved by the Historic Vehicle Association,” said Ellen Spear, President and CEO of Heritage Museums & Gardens. “At Heritage, our American automobile collection inspires visitors to explore the evolution and revolution that the story of the American automobile manufacturing and production represents. Our collection, and this exhibit of the first presidential limousine, President Taft’s vehicle of choice during his presidency, echoes the love affair Americans have long had with their cars, and provides unique insight into the social impact they have on our way of life.”

President Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6
Exhibited from April 20 to April 26

  • Purchased used in 1963 by Nancy Reagan as a Christmas gift for her husband
  • Used extensively by President Reagan for chores on the Reagan Ranch (Rancho del Cielo)
  • The most used and beloved of the ‘Jeeps’ owned by the President

“Young America’s Foundation is honored to have Ronald Reagan’s beloved Jeep included in the National Historic Vehicle Register. This 1962 Willys Jeep is very much connected to the history of Rancho del Cielo, Ronald Reagan’s Western White House, and representative of the man himself. Once referred to as ‘scroungy’ by Barbara Walters during an interview with the then President Reagan, this faithful, resilient vehicle provided years of service — and joy — to the President. The Ranch was the one place Ronald Reagan could get behind the wheel while in office, and he loved loading the Jeep with brush clearing tools and heading out on the trails. Transporting the Jeep to Washington, DC, for the very special Cars at the Capitol exhibit provides a rare opportunity for Easterners to catch a glimpse of this historic vehicle, as well as gain insight into Ronald Reagan’s life and character. We are grateful to the HVA for their work in identifying, recording, and showcasing these important vehicles in our country’s history.”

– Andrew Coffin, Director of the Reagan Ranch and Vice President of Young America’s Foundation

Check here for Taft video:


Check here for Reagan video:


Opening Ceremony

An opening ceremony for the exhibition will take place on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 10:00 am. Both vehicles will be on display until approximately 12:00 noon. President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car will be unveiled in the “glass jewel box” and will remain displayed until April 19. President Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 will also be unveiled at the opening ceremony and then depart until it returns inside the “glass jewel box” starting on April 20.

The opening of the exhibition also fittingly coincides with the anniversary of Presidential Taft’s first pitch at the Washington baseball team’s season opener in 1910. Since that time, every subsequent U.S. President has thrown a first pitch.

Organization and Funding

This exhibition is organized by the Historic Vehicle Association.

Lead corporate sponsors:


Additional generous funding is provided by American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), Washington Area New Car Dealers Association (WANADA) that produce the annual Washington Auto Show and Washington Nationals baseball team.

“Shell is pleased to be part of this historic nod to motoring heritage and the important role cars have played in American history,” said Shell Lubricants Don Moser. “It’s clear to us that the ingenuity, passion and dedication to moving innovation forward is well-documented through the administrations of both these Presidents as much as it is through these classic examples of the American love affair with the road and the cars that travel on it every day.”

The Cars at the Capital exhibition is an official event of the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) World Motoring Heritage Year (WMHY) under the patronage of UNESCO.

About the Historic Vehicle Association

The HVA is dedicated to preserving and sharing America’s automotive heritage. In 2014 the HVA established the National Historic Vehicle Register program working with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs and Library of Congress to document historically significant automobiles in America’s past. The HVA is supported by over 400,000 individual historic vehicle owners, key stakeholders and corporations such as Shell, Pennzoil, Quaker State, Hagerty, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers as well as important individual benefactors. Please visit: historicvehicle.org

About Shell Lubricants

The term ‘Shell Lubricants’ collectively refers to the companies of Royal Dutch Shell plc that are engaged in the lubricants business. Shell Lubricants companies lead the lubricants industry, supplying more than 12 percent of global lubricants volume. * The companies manufacture and blend products for use in consumer, heavy industrial and commercial transport applications. The Shell Lubricants portfolio of top-quality brands includes Pennzoil®, Quaker State®, FormulaShell®, Shell TELLUS®, Shell RIMULA®, Shell ROTELLA® T, Shell SPIRAX® and Jiffy Lube®.

*Kline & Company, “Global Lubricants Industry July 2015: Market Analysis and Assessment.

For additional information please visit:

Heritage Museums and Gardens at: heritagemuseumsandgardens.org

Young American’s Foundation and Reagan Ranch at: www.yaf.org

American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers at: www.afpm.org

Washington Area New Car Dealers Association (WANADA) at: www.wanada.org

Washington Nationals at: washington.nationals.mlb.com

Media Contact

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