No other piece of technology has affected the American way of life more than the automobile — the very foundation of hot rodding. However, until recently, there’s been no official register of historically significant models in automotive history.
Recently, Senator Gary Peters introduced S.3381, which looks to establish the National Historic Vehicle Act to preserve records of iconic automobiles. For decades, the Department of Interior has established national recognition of various buildings, bridges, ships and planes, and the NHVA looks to focus on recognizing key automobiles. The register seeks to hold engineering drawings, photographs, and stories of historical significances in the Library of Congress, and are selected based on meeting at least one of four criteria:
- Association with significant events
- Association with significant persons
- Design or construction value
- Information value such as first or last produced or among the best surviving example
The register is privately-funded by the Historical Vehicle Association, and currently features 14 vehicles, including the first 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, the 1948 Tucker 48, the 1938 Buick Y-Job, and the 1964 Meyers Manx.
“Few engineering innovations have had the same impact on American society as the automobile, and it is important for us to preserve the stories of vehicles that have played a critical role in American history,” said Senator Peters. “This legislation will ensure records of the historic vehicles will be available to inspire the next generation of automotive engineers and celebrate the accomplishments of the automotive industry that continues to be a vital part of our economy in Michigan and the United States. I am proud to work with the Historic Vehicle Association and the American Motorcyclist Association to support the preservation of America’s rich and unique automotive history.”
The NHVA only seeks to document these automobiles, but does not put any restrictions on the owners of any registered vehicle. The NHVA wants to preserve the record of the vehicles, should any national treasure (or any final surviving example) be lost, future generations will be able to have history of past machines.