Tucker, Duesenberg, Nash-Healey, and you: A rare opportunity to Drive History

If you long to see a 1948 Tucker 48 up close, or perhaps even fanaticize about riding in one, it’s time to make that dream a reality. Among the cars participating in the fourth International Drive History Conference April 23–25 is Tucker #1026, one of 51 built by automotive visionary Preston Tucker.

Registrants will have the opportunity ride in the legendary “Car of Tomorrow,” as well as many other historic vehicles—like a 1929 Duesenberg Model J and 1951 Nash-Healey Roadster—on the test track of The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Allentown complex is also home to the Historic Vehicle Association National Laboratory.

According to the HVA, the International Drive History Conference brings together scholars, practitioners, hobbyists, students, and others “who are interested in the history and preservation of motor vehicle heritage. [The conference is a place] to exchange ideas and learn how the preservation of motor vehicle heritage can be made a more centrist part of the historic preservation field, in respect to both tangible material culture and intangible traditions.”

Well-known collector Dr. Fred Simeone put it more simply. “One of the reasons you drive a historical automobile is to have an understanding of what made it important—where it was before,” he told attendees at the 2019 conference.

The 1948 Tucker is an example of a car that has considerably more cultural value than it has monetary value. Preston Tucker’s groundbreaking sedan, subject of the hit movie Tucker: A Man and His Dream, is among the most iconic and sought-after collector vehicles, and his Tucker prototype “Tin Goose” was the fifth vehicle placed on the National Historic Vehicle Register.

International Drive History Conference participants will also have an opportunity to drive or ride in a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12, 1976 Datsun 280Z, 1933 Mack Model AB, 1963 Buick Riviera, 1950 Chrysler Town & Country, 1948 Buick Roadmaster, 1942 Hudson, 1934 Buick 98C Convertible Sedan, 1933 Graham Blue Streak, 1923 Buick Station Wagon, and many others.

“The HVA’s Drive History Conference incorporates an experiential aspect wherein registrants will have the opportunity to not only drive (or ride in) historic, but also test drive a variety of new model year vehicles,” says HVA Vice President Diane Parker. “We believe the experiential factor not only cultivates appreciation of our automotive past, but it facilitates conversation around the technological advancements of the future and how the automobile is one of the most transformative inventions in the history of our country.”

The event begins with the Driving Experience on Thursday, April 23. The day also includes a conservation demonstration by B.R. Howard and a cocktail reception, where the HVA will announce the next three cars being added to the National Historic Vehicle Register.

1923 Ahrens Fox Fire Engine
1923 Ahrens Fox Fire Engine HVA

Among the events scheduled Friday, April 24, is a seminar focusing on Cuba’s Car Culture, the new book co-written by Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Chairman and founder Bill Warner, who will host. Other seminars include the evolution of new car brochures in America, tips for engaging new audiences about old cars, and automotive video games, to name a few. A reception/dinner will follow.

The event will conclude on Saturday, April 25, with a private tour of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, led by Dr. Simeone, followed by the Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance.

Conference space is limited and registration closes on March 16, so sign up now.

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