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Mark Gessler (second from right) presented his association's ideas for cooperation to the SAE International Motor Vehicle Council (Chair Jim Keller seated in middle) on April 10.

Group seeks SAE expertise to keep historic vehicles humming

The SAE International Motor Vehicle Council (MVC) has indicated support for a proposal by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) to cooperate in the development and publication of best-practice guidelines for preservation, restoration, and responsible use of historic vehicles.

Mark Gessler, President of the HVA and Vice President of the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens, formally proposed the idea to the SAE MVC on April 10 in Detroit as part of the SAE 2014 World Congress. In addition, he said, HVA is exploring the potential for collaboration with the SAE Mobility History Committee on SAE archives and heritage documentation efforts.

The U.S.-based organization is the largest such one in the world, with over 360,000 members. It claims there are about 2.75 million historic-vehicle owners in the U.S. and Canada, with annual mean spending per owner of about $12,500.

The group’s request of SAE follows a successful collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Interior for inclusion of historic automobiles in the agency’s Heritage Documentation Program.

“It has been nearly 120 years since the first automobiles were produced in the U.S.,” Gessler said in a Jan. 22 press release identifying the first automobile (a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe) to be recorded under the DOI’s Heritage Documentation Program for automobiles. “During that time, we have implemented national programs to recognize our historic buildings, airplanes, spacecraft, and vessels—but not our historic automobiles. Through our work, we hope to celebrate the contribution of the industry’s pioneers, the vehicles they produced, and the preservation efforts necessary to ensure future generations appreciate the unique role of the automobile in shaping America.”

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