Making Your Collector Car a Historic Treasure

HVA group seeks to extend National Historic Preservation Act to the automobile.

Should your historic vehicle have the same cultural status and favorable regulatory treatment as historic buildings? That was an intriguing question for the HVA. After taking the idea out for a test drive, it appears that the answer may hold the key to long-term, significant benefits for collector cars.

Historic buildings, airplanes, canoes, gas stations and strips of highway have all found official recognition, status and protection under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. It’s an odd quirk that the most significant invention of the 20th century has yet to take its formal place alongside buildings and other transportation-related sites and historic objects.

While there are many possible reasons for the omission of collector cars in the existing framework, there is one reason that quickly comes to mind: Thinking of our “iron” as historic or culturally significant is counterintuitive to most collectors. The typical collector is more motivated by nostalgia than the thought of preserving a vehicle or being a steward of a piece of history.

We are in our early stages of exploration on this idea, but we have had encouraging dialogue and feedback from a number of prominent collectors and historians inside and outside the collector car world about the benefits of including collector cars in the National Historic Preservation Act. In our initial research we found that inclusion under the Act is always voluntary, and the rights of the property owner remain intact. We aren’t interested in pursuing any initiative that would create more red tape or allow the government to tell us how to use our cars.

We will keep you updated on our progress as we develop the details of our “Drive History” initiative. In the meantime, if you or your club have feedback or comments, please submit them below.