Portman introduces historic vehicle legislation

This article originally appeared in The Lima News, written by Lance Mihm, on April 30, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Rob Portman co-introduced legislation Thursday that will create a new national register for historic vehicles.

Along with Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, Portman introduced legislation to create the national register that will preserve records of historic vehicles in recognition of their significant impact on America’s history and culture. Called the National Historic Vehicle Register Act, the Department of Interior would establish a register housed in the Library of Congress to preserve examples of American history and engineering innovation by documenting historically significant automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and commercial vehicles.

“Ohio is the second biggest car producing state in the Union, and more than 90,000 Ohioans work in the auto industry,” Portman said. “Making cars is part of who we are.”

Portman said he has a Model T Ford with its original license plates in his garage at home.

“It is the same model and year that my dad drove to high school in Cincinnati,” Portman said. “This bipartisan bill would hold up the American craftsmanship that produced historic motorcycles and cars like the Model T that changed our economy and changed the way we live in such important ways.”

There are currently 18 historic vehicles that have been documented by the Historic Vehicle Association through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Historic American Engineering Record, which recognizes a broad range of historical engineering related sites and structures, including bridges, ships or roads. The NHVRA will create a standalone register to preserve the records of historically significant vehicles including short narratives, photographs and engineering drawings of each vehicle. To be eligible for the register, vehicles must be connected to a significant person or event in American history, have a unique design or be a rare model.

Recent vehicles added to the register include the Gypsy Rose 1964 Chevrolet Impala “lowrider,” McGee Roadster 1932 Ford V8 “hot rod,” and Hirohata Merc 1951 Mercury Coupe “radical custom.” The register also includes vehicles like President William Howard Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car, President Ronald Reagan’s 1962 Willys “Jeep” CJ-6, and the very first 1967 Chevrolet Camaro to ever roll off the production line.

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