Group seeks national registry for historic cars

The Historic Vehicle Association wants to change the fact that there are national historic registries for places, boats, planes, and trains, but nothing to protect vehicles with historic value. The Association, started in 2009 by Hagerty Insurance, a company that specializes in coverage for classic vehicles, is championing the passage of laws that further protect historically significant vehicles and allow them to stay on the road.

Determining which vehicles are significant and assigning a degree to that significance is one of the head-scratchers the Association is up against right now. "We're looking at how things are treated, everything from a Marmon Meteor to a milk truck," says Carmel Roberts, Association Director of Government Relations. There are design, ownership and origin factors that determine a vehicle's place in history, and the association is open to upgrading vehicles so they can continue to be used, the same way historic homes can be outfitted with modern plumbing and wiring.

It's unclear whether the effort and expense to pass laws protecting older cars will have any effect on their preservation. Cash for Clunkers didn't apply to 1957 Chevrolet Bel Airs or 1973 Lamborghini Espadas, for example, and legislation doesn't change the expensive reality of just storing a car properly, let alone restoration.

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