Bipartisan Bill Would Create Register to Preserve American Automotive Innovation & History
WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to establish a national register to preserve records of historic vehicles that have made a significant impact on American history and culture. The National Historic Vehicle Register Act would require the Department of Interior to create a register administered by the Library of Congress to safeguard the innovative feats of American engineering by documenting historically significant automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, and commercial vehicles.
“Ever since the first cars rolled off the assembly lines, generations of innovative automobiles have helped power our economy and redefine our culture,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to preserve Michigan’s rich automotive history and recognize the significance of automotive innovation towards transforming everyday life in America.”
“Ohio is the second biggest car producing state in the Union and more than 300,000 Ohioans work in the auto industry. Making cars is part of who we are,” said Senator Portman. “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.”
“We are grateful to Senator Peters and Senator Portman for championing the reintroduction of the National Historic Vehicle Register Act,” said Diane Parker, Vice President of the Historic Vehicle Association. “This bi-partisan legislation would fill a long-neglected gap in recognizing the automobile as part of American technological and engineering legacy, along with its cultural impact over the past 120+ years.”
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.