Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation to commemorate the legacy of American automobiles and highlight their role in our nation’s history. H.R. 4066, the National Historic Vehicle Register Act, will establish a standalone register at the Department of Interior that documents historically significant automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles. U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“The automobile is one of the premiere symbols of American ingenuity and inventiveness,” said Congressman Walberg. “In Michigan, from the earliest models to today, making cars is woven into our state’s DNA. With the help of this bipartisan effort, the story of how the automotive industry has shaped and transformed our history will be shared and preserved for generations to come.”
“The automobile has impacted almost every facet of American life, from labor to manufacturing and recreation to entertainment. It’s development, use, and enjoyment has exemplified the spirit of entrepreneurism, ingenuity, and creativity we all identify so closely with our nation. I am proud to introduce this legislation because these historic examples of the American automobile deserve to be honored and recognized for their immense contribution to the American psyche,” said Congressman Lowenthal.
The Historic Vehicle Association has already archived records of eighteen historic vehicles, including the McGee Roadster 1932 Ford V8 “hot rod,” Gypsy Rose 1964 Chevrolet Impala “lowrider,” Hirohata Merc 1951 Mercury Coupe “radical custom,” President William Howard Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car, and President Ronald Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6.
“The Historic Vehicle Association’s mission is to share our automotive heritage with the American people,” said Mark Gessler, President of the Historic Vehicle Association. “The bipartisan collaboration between Representatives Walberg and Lowenthal supporting the introduction of the National Historic Vehicle Register Act reinforces our mission and clearly recognizes the role the automobile has played in shaping our culture.”
“Our nation’s landscape has been defined with architecture and engineering structures that represent the growth and expansion of our society,” said Christian W. Overland, Executive Vice President of The Henry Ford. “The automobile is the most significant object that has defined the American cultural landscape of the 20th century, which is constantly connecting us and democratizing mobility even today. The National Historic Vehicle Register Act is critical to documenting and sharing knowledge of our culture for future generations.”
“As a long-time motorcyclist and co-chair of the House Motorcycle Caucus, Representative Walberg knows there are few things better than the freedom of two wheels on the open road. Whether traveling cross country or just across town, motorcycles are a part of America’s automotive culture. The American Motorcyclist Association thanks Representatives Walberg and Lowenthal for their leadership on this important issue, and we are pleased to support the National Historic Vehicle Register Act to help highlight America’s motorcycling history,” said Wayne Allard, Vice President for Government Relations of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and former U.S. Senator.
“The United States, its history, its wealth and standing in the world, its popular culture, its future prospect is inconceivable without the automobile. Yet so little has been done to acknowledge this and to care for the legacy of the automobile, to protect automotive heritage. The National Historic Vehicle Register Act is a crucial step in our responsibility to the future to celebrate what has made America what it is,” said Michael Shanks, Professor Archeology, Stanford University.
“MotorCities National Heritage Area writes in support of the creation of a National Historic Vehicle Register as put forth in the bill from Congressman Walberg. We concur this activity rises to a level deserving distinct recognition in the Department of the Interior,” said Shawn Pomaville, Executive Director of the MotorCities National Heritage Area.
“The Gypsy Rose Lowrider was recently documented under the National Historic Vehicle Register program and was exhibited on the National Mall in April. It is now on display in the lobby of our museum and people are clamoring to see it. It is part of our Lowrider exhibit which has been our most well attended exhibition and helps tell the stories of an important part of our Latino community and culture,” said Terry Kargas, Executive Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum.