Amelia Earhart Car Added to National Historic Vehicle Register
This International Women’s Day, the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, announced Amelia Earhart’s 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton as the 33rd vehicle to be inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register, the only federally recognized program to document the historical and cultural significance of the automobile. Later this year, the Foundation will announce the 34th vehicle to be added to the Register.
Earhart purchased the Cord less than a year before she, navigator Fred Noonan and her Lockheed 10E Electra disappeared over the South Pacific in 1937. It will be on public display inside a special case erected this September on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the Foundation’s annual “Cars at the Capital” celebration. The free event will feature both vehicles added to the National Historic Vehicle Register in 2023 and have activities for all ages.
In honor of Women’s History Month and Earhart’s passionate advocacy of women’s rights, the announcement of the Cord’s enshrinement was made by Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty at The Amelia, an annual event in Florida celebrating cars and automotive heritage. The Cord’s current owner, The JBS Collection, as represented by Laura and Jack Boyd Smith, Jr., were on hand, accompanied by the car’s restorers from LaVine Restorations, Inc.
In September 1936, Earhart was famously photographed standing with the Cord and the airplane she would ultimately take on her final flight. Her husband, George Putnam, sold the Cord shortly after Earhart’s disappearance and the Phaeton passed through a number of owners throughout the decades. It was eventually disassembled and split up across the country. In 2004, after decades of research, travel and acquiring the original components, the car’s body, frame and engine were finally reunited by collector Ray Foster, who sold it to its current owner, The JBS Collection. In 2018, The JBS Collection commissioned noted marque experts LaVine Restorations, Inc. to return the car to its original specifications with a restoration that has captured numerous awards.
“Highlighting the story of Amelia Earhart and her passion for the automobile is a unique glimpse into the varied and widespread love of cars that has captivated our society since the turn of the 20th century. We are thrilled to honor this American hero and advocate for women’s rights during Women’s History Month. It is one more example of the way America’s automotive history is woven into the diverse past of our nation,” said Casey Maxon of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation.
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