At a reception last week, the Historic Vehicle Association staged the formal opening of its National Automotive Heritage Laboratory, a facility designed for doing laser scanning and measurement and archival photography of entire automobiles, as well as providing library research space, all in support of documenting the most significant automobiles in American history for future generations.
The laboratory is located on the grounds of the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and is dedicated to the documentation of vehicles for the National Historic Vehicle Register.
In 1966 the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places. The register is the nation’s official list of “buildings, structures, objects, sites and districts worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archeology, and culture.”
In March 2013, HVA entered into partnership with the U.S. Department of Interior to document and recognize historic automobiles within the Library of Congress using the Register of Historic Places as a model.
The vast majority of Americans today take the automobile for granted, much like their refrigerators, yet the automobile was such an instrument of change, economic growth and social impact in shaping America. The HVA was founded to preserve, document and promote America’s automotive heritage.
The first car qualified for the register was the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe Prototype currently housed in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Another dozen vehicles also have been registered and more are going through the tedious process.
The latest, revealed at the laboratory’s opening, is the 1938 Buick Y-Job, considered the first concept car produced by an automaker’s design staff. The announcement of the Y-Job’s inclusion coincided with the 50th anniversary national gathering of the Buick Club of America.
NB Center for American Automotive Heritage founder is Nicola Bulgari, perhaps the world’s foremost collector of Buick vehicles.