US: The Library of Congress opens a Registry of Historic Vehicles image

The Library of Congress has launched a US national registry of historically significant vehicles, each one of which will be arrived at and certified by The Department of the Interior through collaboration with the Historical Vehicle Association.

The announcement came at the Washington D.C. Auto Show Day. The first vehicle to be entered onto the registry will be displayed for the public at the show—the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe—number CSX2287—one of six such racecars produced by Carol Shelby to take on Ferrari in the GT Series.

The Shelby was the first car on the Registry, said HVA President Mark Gessler, because it “so perfectly” fit all the criteria the group will use going forward to get vehicles certified by the Dept. of Interior for the Library of Congress.

“Isn’t it amazing that the Library of Congress has never established a Registry for automobiles when they are so much a fabric of the country?” Gessler remarked. There are registries for film, books and buildings among other categories.

The HVA has more than fifty vehicles it is currently considering for nomination to the Dept. of Interior. It plans to clear at least ten of those to announce this coming October. Among those, said, Gessler is the very first Willys Jeep to roll off the assembly line for service during World War Two.

A process by which any member of the public, museums, collectors and car companies can nominate a vehicle will soon be up and running, said Gessler. The vehicles to be included are not merely examples of classic cars. They have to have unique and documentable associations with people, events, or represent special design and craftsmanship. Gessler said the HVA would not, for example, just submit an early Volkswagen Beetle for the registry, but one of the first two Beetles exported to the U.S. and delivered by Dutch automotive magnate Ben Pon. The Shelby, one of six, was chosen because it was the prototype model.