Meetings

Historic Vehicle Association Event Showcases Automotive History 

By / Mar 2, 2018 (Handout photo)

The Historic Vehicle Association will hold its monthlong Cars at the Capital event to illustrate the role of the automobile in American life. The Ferris Bueller Ferrari will be among the five famous cars on display on the National Mall in Washington, DC. 

Car collectors and the general public can get a closeup look at some of the most famous automobiles in history, thanks to the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA). In its fourth year, Cars at the Capital will put five historic cars on display on the National Mall in Washington, DC, beginning March 30. 

The monthlong exhibition includes a replica 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from the 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a 1918 Cadillac Type 57, a 1927 Ford Model T, a 1984 Plymouth Voyager minivan, and a 1968 Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen. 

The five cars will take turns in an illuminated “glass garage” display on the walkway between the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art, facing the U.S. Capitol building.  

“We can’t think of a better location to be,” said HVA President Mark Gessler. “It tells the story we want to talk about—the place of the automobile in the American heritage inventory—which has been overlooked for decades.” 

As the largest owner group in the U.S. for antique and collectible cars, Gessler said the event helps HVA share American automotive history and illustrate the key role of the automobile in American life. 

“Although automobiles have been so ubiquitous in our environment, we haven’t really taken a step back and celebrated and recognized the historic impact in the same way we’ve done for aviation, our homes, and institutions,” he said.  

In addition to events like Cars at the Capital, HVA partnered with the U.S. Department of Interior in 2013 to create the National Historic Vehicle Register, a permanent archive of historic vehicles in the Library of Congress. Four-out-of-the five cars that will be on display were recently added to the registry, which now includes 24 automobiles.    

“It’s the cultural value—much like the National Register of Historic Places,” Gessler said. “In terms of the automobile, its impact on American culture is incredibly deep. Virtually every aspect of American life has been touched by [it], and the way we live has been dictated by the automobile.” 

While HVA is on the road participating in around 30 events nationwide throughout the year, Gessler calls Cars at the Capital its signature event. 

“These cars are some of the most important automotive and cultural examples that reflect the early days of our American automotive history, as well [as] the role automobiles have played in film history,” he said in a press release. “They all tell a uniquely American story and reflect the broad impact the automobile has had on our culture.” 

Cherise Bathersfield

Cherise Bathersfield is a contributing writer for Associations Now. More »

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