Exhibition of presidential cars opens at the National Mall, Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) announced today that its second Cars at the Capital exhibition on the National Mall in Washington, DC will feature two iconic presidential autom

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) announced today that its second Cars at the Capital exhibition on the National Mall in Washington, DC will feature two iconic presidential automobiles: President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car, the first White House limousine; and the 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 President Reagan used at the Reagan Ranch in California.

Each of the vehicles will be displayed on the National Mall for approximately one week in a “glass jewel box” on the pathway between the National Air & Space Museum and National Gallery of Art from April 14 to April 26.

The exhibition follows the widely acclaimed 2014 Cars at the Capital exhibition that brought many historically significant automobiles to the National Mall.President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car and President Reagan’s 1962 ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 will become the ninth and tenth vehicles, respectively, to be documented in and recognized by the National Historic Vehicle Register and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Historic American Engineering Record. Each vehicle’s documentation will be archived as national automotive heritage in the Library of Congress.

To document and prepare these automobiles for this important national heritage exhibition, HVA worked together with the curators at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Mass. which owns the 1909 White Steam Car and Young American’s Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. which owns the 1962 ‘Jeep.’

“The core mission of the HVA is to share America’s automotive heritage with the American people,” said Mark Gessler, President of the HVA. “The exhibition brings to life the personal side of these two former presidents. President Taft was the first president to promote the automobile and insist on an automobile parade in nearly all the American towns he visited. For President Reagan, his ‘Jeep’ reflected his unpretentious nature and enjoyment he derived from working on his ranch.”

President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car
Exhibited from April 14 to April 19

• The first official White House automobile
• The only known survivor of the first four automobiles in the 1909 White House fleet
• Capable of speeds in excess of 60 mph, which President Taft enjoyed and encouraged

“We are delighted to have this significant auto from our collection honored and its history further preserved by the Historic Vehicle Association,” said Ellen Spear, President and CEO of Heritage Museums & Gardens. “At Heritage, our American automobile collection inspires visitors to explore the evolution and revolution that the story of the American automobile manufacturing and production represents. Our collection, and this exhibit of the first presidential limousine, President Taft’s vehicle of choice during his presidency, echoes the love affair Americans have long had with their cars, and provides unique insight into the social impact they have on our way of life.”

President Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6
Exhibited from April 20 to April 26

• Purchased new by Ronald Reagan in 1962
• Used extensively by President Reagan for chores on the Reagan Ranch (Rancho del Cielo)
• The most used and beloved of the ‘Jeeps’ owned by the President

“Young America’s Foundation is honored to have Ronald Reagan’s beloved Jeep included in the National Historic Vehicle Register. This 1962 Willys Jeep is very much connected to the history of Rancho del Cielo, Ronald Reagan’s Western White House, and representative of the man himself. Once referred to as ‘scroungy’ by Barbara Walters during an interview with the then President Reagan, this faithful, resilient vehicle provided years of service — and joy — to the President. The Ranch was the one place Ronald Reagan could get behind the wheel while in office, and he loved loading the Jeep with brush clearing tools and heading out on the trails. Transporting the Jeep to Washington, DC, for the very special Cars at the Capitol exhibit provides a rare opportunity for Easterners to catch a glimpse of this historic vehicle, as well as gain insight into Ronald Reagan’s life and character. We are grateful to the HVA for their work in identifying, recording, and showcasing these important vehicles in our country’s history.”

– Andrew Coffin, Director of the Reagan Ranch and Vice President of Young America’s Foundation

Opening Ceremony

An opening ceremony for the exhibition will take place on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 10:00 am. Both vehicles will be on display until approximately 12:00 noon. President Taft’s 1909 White Steam Car will be unveiled in the “glass jewel box” and will remain displayed until April 19. President Reagan’s 1962 Willys ‘Jeep’ CJ-6 will also be unveiled at the opening ceremony and then depart until it returns inside the “glass jewel box” starting on April 20.

The opening of the exhibition also fittingly coincides with the anniversary of Presidential Taft’s first pitch at the Washington baseball team’s season opener in 1910. Since that time, every subsequent U.S. President has thrown a first pitch.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.