Cars at the Capital

One interesting way to look at our past is through the history of our cars. The Historic Vehicle Association is curating that history, and as part of that, they’ve put historic cars in a glass case right in the middle of the Mall for the past five Septembers.

Alan Beam was the 4th man to walk on the moon, and when he came back to earth, General Motors let him and the other astronauts on his mission lease any Corvette of their choosing for $1 per year. They chose custom-made gold and black Stingrays. Beam’s car has been on display on the Mall until yesterday – if you missed it, see the next car on display, a 1966 Volkswagen Wagon owned by civil rights workers Esau and Janie B. Jenkins, on display from September 20-27th.

Some of the other cars that have been displayed in past years on the Mall:

President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car

Taft road a horse-drawn carriage at his Inauguration, but he was a big supporter of the fledgling automobile industry and asked Congress to give his office $12,000 to purchase this vehicle and two Pierce Arrow limousines. This White Steam Car is considered the first official White House limousine.

Hirohata Merc

The Hirohata Merc is a 1950’s custom car commissioned by Bob Hirohata and executed by Barris Kustoms, based on the 1951 Mercury Sport Coupe. It led the way in showing what could be possible in radically altering and customizing cars.

The Gypsy Rose

The Gypsy Rose 1964 Chevrolet Impala lowrider is a classic lowrider designed by Jesse Valadez in 1973. The design was inspired by the burlesque of Gypsy Rose Lee. The car was famous on the streets of East LA, and was in the opening credits of Chico and the Man.

McGee Roadster

The McGee Roadster is a car designed by Bob McGee in 1947, based on an 1932 Ford V8 Roadster. It’s considered to be the first template for future hot-rod designs.

Fifteen Millionth Ford

The fifteen millionth Ford was the end of the 19-year production of the Model T cars. It was driven off the assembly line by Edsel and Henry Ford on May 26, 1927 to commemorate the historic end of the Model T era.

The Historic Vehicle Association aims to “promote the cultural and historical significance of the automobile and protect the future of our automotive past.” You can see more about their work at their website.

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