3 Cars Added to the National Historic Vehicle Register

Custom American classics immortalized by Historic Vehicle Association.

byEric Brandt|
Culture photo


The third annual Cars at the Capital exhibition is underway and it’s going with a hot rod theme for this year. Three custom classics graced the National Mall in Washington, DC this week. The Historic Vehicle Association teamed up with the US Department of the Interior to show off the Gypsy Rose, the McGee Roadster, and a Hirohata Merc. Because of their place in American automotive history, these cars will be added to the growing National Historic Vehicle Register. A few rides already in that register include a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Prototype, a 1940 GM Futurliner, and Ronald Reagan’s 1962 Willys CJ-6.

The Gypsy Rose is a ‘64 Chevy Impala lowrider with a particularly extravagant paint job. You may have seen it in the opening credits of “Chico and the Man” or on the cover of Lowrider Magazine back in 1980.

The McGee Roadster is a ‘32 Ford V8 Roadster. It was built and raced by a soldier named Bob McGee who played football for USC. He sounds like the most American dude who ever lived. An old Ford V8 is historically significant on its own, so the fact that they’ve decided to add a beautifully done custom one with a story to this registry is pretty cool.

Finally, there’s the Hirohata Merc. It’s a ‘51 Mercury Coupe customized by Sam and George Barris in Lynwood, CA in 1952. The original owner, Bob Hirohata, drove from LA to Indianapolis to Detroit and back in his gorgeous custom Merc.

The three cars are being exhibited individually from 4/12-5/4 so if you’re in the DC area, go check them out. If these cars’ induction into the National Historic Vehicle Register proves anything, it’s that Americans love a good story.