Senators Drop Partisanship, Introduce National Historic Vehicle Register Act

Sens Peters, Portman push for new register.

by on Apr.28, 2017

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) is co-sponsoring the National Historic Vehicles Register Act with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Michigan and Ohio both have had a huge shared stake in the automobile industry for more than a century and U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are teaming in a bi-partisan effort to create a national register to preserve the records of historic vehicles.

The pair have sponsored the National Historic Vehicle Register Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Interior to establish a register of vehicles that have had a “significant impact on America’s history and culture.”

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The register would be 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, according to the proposed legislations states.

“Of all of the innovations that have driven America’s success, nothing has had the same cultural and economic impact as the automobile,” said Peters. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Portman to help preserve the history of American’s automotive industry.”

(What is the U.S. auto market likely to look like this year? Click Here for some educated guessing.)

The idea is essentially to replicate the Nation Historic Building Register for cars. Portman’s endorsement is fitting given Ohio’s role in auto production.

A vehicle register may include Ford's Capri and Montier.

“Ohio is the second biggest car producing state in the Union and more than 90,000 Ohioans work in the auto industry. Making cars is part of who we are,” Portman said. “At home in my garage, I have a Model T Ford with its original 1917 Ohio license plates: the same model and year that my Dad drove to high school in Cincinnati,” he added.

Currently there are 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 and roads.

The National Historic Vehicle Register Act 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.

(April sales likely dropped again. Click Here for a preview.)

“Cars, motorcycles and trucks chronicle our past and help us understand who we are, where we have been and where we may be headed, and the Historic Vehicle Association is focused on ensuring this history is carefully preserved for future generations,” said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association.

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.

McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, a global company specializing in products and insurance for classic cars, hailed the legislation saying it will enhance the appreciation cherished of long-cherished vehicles.

(Chevy aims to top spot in brand sales. Click Here for the story.)

“As the largest company focused on the classic car market, Hagerty understands the value of not only protecting classic vehicles, but celebrating the memories and enjoyment that come with them,” he said.

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