Peters, Portman Introduce the National Historic Vehicle Register Act

Bill Will Create Register to Preserve American Automotive Innovation & History

WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today announced they are introducing legislation to create a national register to preserve records of historic vehicles in recognition of their significant impact on America’s history and culture. The bipartisan National Historic Vehicle Register Act would require the Department of Interior to 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.

“Of all of the innovations that have driven America’s success, nothing has had the same cultural and economic impact as the automobile,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Portman to help preserve the history of American’s automotive industry, which helped grow Michigan’s economy and build our nation’s middle class, and ensure those records are available to inspire the next generation of engineers and designers who will build the vehicles of the future.”

“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,” Senator 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. I’ve bought two Ohio-made cars in recent years, but that Model T will always be special to me. 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.”

“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. “We thank Senator Peters and Senator Portman for introducing the National Historic Vehicle Register Act to broaden awareness of America’s automotive heritage.”

“As a long-time motorcyclist, Senator Peters knows there are few things better than the freedom of two wheels on the open road,” said Wayne Allard, Vice President for Government Relations of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and former U.S. Senator. “Whether traveling cross country or just across town, motorcycles are a part of America’s automotive culture. The American Motorcyclist Association thanks Senators Peters and Portman 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.”

“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,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, a global company specializing in products and insurance for people who love cars. “We applaud Senator Peters and Senator Portman for introducing the National Historic Vehicle Register Act, which will help enhance the appreciation of our members’ cherished vehicles.”

There are currently eighteen 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 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.

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.