The past year proved memorable in more ways than one. Take a look back at what the Historic Vehicle Association was up to over the last 12 months, and catch up on any news you may have missed along the way.
Winter: Washington Auto Show and New HVA Website
Kicking off the year in January, the HVA’s Model T led the way as part of the opening ceremony for this year’s Washington Auto Show. Amid the snow and cold, and cutting quite the sight along the way, the T motored its way through the streets of our nation’s capital. The car was then displayed along with information on the Road Trip Century Celebration for the duration of the show, allowing thousands to come by and take a look at both the car and its impressive accomplishments in 2015. Also in January, the HVA launched its all-new website, modernizing the look and feel of the organization while providing even more great information with a passion for historic vehicles.
Spring: Amelia Island, Cars at the Capital, Indy 500 and more Register Cars
At the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the HVA bestowed the most historically significant award on the 1970 Vels-Parnelli Jones “Johnny Lightning 500 Special” Colt/Ford, while the HVA/FIVA Preservation Award went to a gorgeous Murphy-bodied 1929 Cord L-29 SWB.
In May,the HVA again traveled to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the second edition of Cars at the Capital. For this past year’s event, the HVA unveiled their lighted glass display case smack dab on the middle of the Mall between the National Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art. For two weeks, two very special presidential automobiles took turns basking in the sun by day and luxuriating in the lights of the city by night.
The first to be displayed was the 1909 White Model M Steam Car, the first presidential limousine and car used by President William Howard Taft. Making its first return trip to the city in nearly a century, the White Model M cut quite a figure, particularly when illuminated at night. For the second week, President Ronald Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 made its first ever trip East after spending the majority of its life serving as the personal vehicle of America’s 40th president on his California ranches. Both vehicles have since been added to the National Historic Vehicle Register where their respective histories will be preserved within the Library of Congress.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen, gettyimages
Closing out a busy month, the HVA travelled to Speedway, IN, to take part in the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Here the race’s very first winner—the Marmon Wasp—was added to the National Historic Vehicle Register. With four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser behind the wheel, the car took to the track prior to the start of the 100th running of the race more than 100 years after Ray Harroun originally drove the car to victory in 1911.
Summer: More Cars on the Register, HVA National Laboratory Unveiled, Woodward
Last summer saw a trio of impressive vehicles added to the National Historic Vehicle Register. Beginning in June, the 1907 Thomas Flyer——winner of the 1908 New York to Paris race——was added and recognized for its unprecedented achievement of having completed the race in 169 days. In an age when roads and the presence of other automobiles was virtually nonexistent, the Thomas Flyer’s trek from Broadway to the Champs-Elysees was nothing short of remarkable.
Moving ahead several decades, July saw the addition of the legendary Buick Y-Job to the Register. Designed and used by Harley Earl as his personal car, the Y-Job was one of the first modern concept cars and featured a number of mechanical and styling innovations decades ahead of its time. The unveiling of the Y-Job took place concurrently with the opening of the HVA National Laboratory on the campus of the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown, PA. Here the HVA will conduct its research and documentation for future additions to the Register.
In August, “the glass box” made its debut at the Woodward Dream Cruise, housing a very special vehicle——the very first Camaro. Partnering with Chevrolet as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Camaro, the HVA’s unique display was a real highlight for those cruising up and down the storied Detroit-area strip. As the third and final addition to the Register of the summer, the Camaro proved not only a captivating sight but also offered a fascinating story along with its rediscovery (the bulk of which can be read here).
Fall: National Historic Vehicle Register Act Introduced, Putting Preservation on the Road Conference, the SEMA Show and still another Register vehicle
In October, Michigan Senator Gary Peters introduced the National Historic Vehicle Register Act on the floor of the Senate. Recognizing the importance of our automotive heritage and its preservation, the act sought to afford the same federal recognition to the National Historic Vehicle Register enjoyed by the National Register of Historic Places.
Also in October, the HVA, along with the College of Charleston and the NB Center for Automotive Heritage, hosted a number of students, academics and preservationists at the Driving History: Putting Preservation on the Road Conference. Here some of the most prominent individuals within the field of automotive heritage and preservation along with scholars and professionals from a variety of fields met to discuss the merits of and steps that can be taken towards advancing the state of automotive heritage and artifact preservation. It was a landmark gathering that was viewed by all in attendance as the start of something special.
Out in Las Vegas, the HVA teamed with Shell to present the Marmon Wasp, the first Indianapolis 500 winner, as part of this year’s SEMA Show. As expected, the car proved quite a showstopper, attracting the attention of everyone from ClassicCars.com to the hit television series Top Gear in the process.
In November came the announcement of a rare 1920 Anderson Six convertible roadster being added to the Register. With the help of students in Dr. Barry Stiefel’s historic preservation class at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, this South Carolina car was documented in its entirety with the information soon to reside within the Library of Congress.
Finally, we ended the year in style, displaying three fascinating vehicles on Park Avenue in New York. Under the tag the Future of Automobility, this unique window display featured an 1896 Benton Harbor on loan from the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA, the GM Firebird II concept car on loan from General Motors and the 2016 Shell Concept car provided by Shell. These three vehicle represented three distinct eras in automotive innovation, each pointing towards a possible future of automobility.