THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #328

It’s been called ‘America’s smallest automobile museum’ and it sits in the middle of the National Mall for one month every year. Created in 2014, Cars at the Capital, organized by the Historic Vehicle Association, attracts approximately 500,000 viewers. A special car with historic value is placed in a gorgeous glass box for passersby to admire as they explore Washington DC. Partnered with the National Vehicle Register and the Library of Congress, Cars at the Capital was created to honor our automotive heritage. Our first interview is with the President of the Historic Vehicle Association, Mark Gessler, who details the event and introduces the 1968 Bullitt Mustang; Steve McQueen famously drove this vehicle 50 years ago in the popular blockbuster, ‘Bullitt‘. Next, we hear from Sean Kiernan, owner of the Bullitt, about the car’s exciting history. Then, since the event is also celebrating the 54th anniversary of the Mustang, we chat with Carl Widmann, Chief Product Engineer for the Ford Mustang, about the rich past of this nostalgic car. After that, Doug Clark and Tabetha Hammer of Hagerty Classic Cars sound off about their efforts to share automotive passion with future generations. Changing lanes, Kevin Marti, Founder of Marti Auto Works, describes how they work with Ford to create the ‘Marti Report‘.  Then, Paul Ianuario, Senior Advisor for the Historic Vehicle Association, explains how the glass display box was approved to be in the National Mall. Next, the owner of a 1918 Cadillac US1257X, Marc Lassen, discloses the exciting story of how he obtained this historic vehicle that was Rev. Dr. J.H. Denison’s car in WWI and once chauffeured President Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter-in-law. Lastly, we catch up with Shell’s Nancy Bruner and Mark Henry about their involvement with Cars at the Capital and why it is so important to them. Take a trip down memory lane for this special event broadcast.


  • [00:00:00] America’s Smallest Automobile Museum
  • [00:07:54] Ford Mustang Adorns National Mall
  • [00:12:31] 1968 ‘Bullitt’ Mustang’s History
  • [00:19:54] 54th Anniversary of Ford Mustang
  • [00:26:40] Assurance from Hagerty Classic Cars
  • [00:35:55] Hagerty’s Driving Experience
  • [00:42:16] China’s Love for the Bullitt Mustang
  • [00:48:31] Ford and the Marti Report
  • [00:54:47] Cars at the Capital
  • [01:02:08] 1918 Cadillac US1257X
  • [01:10:44] Diving Deep into History
  • [01:18:10] The Story of How America Became Mobile


Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] America’s Smallest Automobile Museum

Four years ago, the Historic Vehicle Association joined forces with the National Vehicle Register and the Library of Congress to bring to life Cars at the Capital. The Historic Vehicle Association’s President, Mark Gessler, explains that this event honors America’s automotive heritage; every car on display is recorded into the register for people to view for generations to come. The cars are put in a glass box in the middle of the National Mall and the case is even lit at night. On display this year is the Ferris Bueller Ferrari, the 1968 Bullitt Mustang (driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt), the 15-millionth Ford Model-T, the 1984 Chrysler Minivan (first minivan ever), and the 1918 Cadillac US1257X which chauffeured Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter-in-law during WWI. Tune in for more on this event now.

[00:07:54] Ford Mustang Adorns National Mall

This year at Cars at the Capital they celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang from the iconic chase scene in the movie Bullitt. Mark Gessler of the Historic Vehicle Association shares that the owner of the car was able to keep it a secret for over 30 years, making its first reappearance at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). It took the stage alongside the 2019 Bullitt Mustang built to pay homage to the original. The event also celebrates the 54th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. Find out more about the monumental impact the Mustang has had over generations.

[00:12:31] 1968 Bullitt Mustang’s History

When it comes to iconic cars, there is no doubt that many will think the famous 1968 Mustang driven by Steven McQueen. Gearheads feared that this car was lost because it went into hiding for over 30 years, but it just recently resurfaced. In 1974, just six years after the movie premiered, owner Sean Kiernan, tells us that a classified ad appeared in Road & Track for the Bullitt Mustang (misspelled Bullet), asking price was listed as ‘best offer’. After making this their daily commuter car for six years, the Kiernan family parked it for good in 1980. It made its first reappearance at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit (NAIAS), and it stole the show. Hear the rest of this enthralling story now.

[00:19:54] 54th Anniversary of Ford Mustang

The Ford Motor Company really enjoys participating in events that allow them to connect with a loving car community. This year at Cars at the Capital, they had the opportunity to celebrate the 54th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang and the 50th Anniversary of the movie Bullitt by showcasing the 1968 Bullitt’ Mustang driven by Steve McQueen. Ford Motor Company Chief Engineer for the Ford Mustang, Carl Widmann, also discusses how they paid homage to the original by building the 2019 edition. The team did their best to recreate the popular Bullitt, managing to remaster the dark highland green paint and tuned the ride to create a throaty (still legal) exhaust note. The Mustang has always been a thrilling car to drive, and Carl tells us that it was fun for the team to recreate the emotional experience associated with the film. Are you a fan of this classic pony car?

[00:26:40] Assurance from Hagerty Classic Cars

Hagerty Classic Cars exists as an organization for people who love cars. Hagerty’s Vice President of Marketing, Doug Clark, tells us that they have partnered with Shell and the Historic Vehicle Association for Cars at the Capital to keep the enjoyment of driving and the appreciation for cars alive. It was exciting to see the people enamored by the cars on the National Mall on their way to work. Doug also explains Hagerty’s ‘agreed value’ insurance policy makes sure that if something happens to your prized ride, you will be able to obtain something of similar value. Cars have changed the way we live throughout history, and it’s an important part of our heritage; Hagerty wants to make sure this culture continues to thrive. Does your classic car have the right insurance?

[00:35:55] Hagerty’s Driving Experience

Cars of the past are a completely different animal compared to the electronic machines of today. Tabetha Hammer, Senior Manager of Car Culture for Hagerty Classic Cars, sounds off about their dedication to keeping the classic car passion alive with the younger generations. The Hagerty Driving Experience is designed to teach the youth about what makes older cars significant, such as starting a carbureted engine or driving a manual transmission. If they don’t understand how to drive an older car, or learn to have a passion for them, then they won’t want to buy them. Hagerty even gives students the opportunity to drive awesome cars like a 1963 Corvette split window coupe, or a million dollar 1933 Stutz DV32. You can find out more about the program inspiring the love for classic cars in our children on

[00:42:16] China’s Love for the Bullitt Mustang

The 1968 Bullitt Mustang is an excellent addition to the Cars at the Capital display at the National Mall because this car is not only an icon in America, but in China as well. In 2015, John Clor of the Ford Motor Company took a trip over to China to promote the Mustang, and the second the Bullitt flashed across the screen the crowd started yelling, “Bullitt, Bullitt!” Kevin Marti, Founder of Marti Auto Works, values the Bullitt Mustang at somewhere in the $4-million range. The owner, Sean Kiernan, is not concerned about the money; he plans on keeping the car for many years to come. The revealing of this 50-year-old car alongside the 2019 model at NAIAS showed the confidence that the Ford has in the Mustang fandom. This car was lost, but now it’s found!

[00:48:31] Ford and the Marti Report

When it comes to the value of a Ford vehicle, there is one place you must look to find the answer. Kevin Marti, Founder of Marti Auto Works and the Marti Report, reveals that the Ford Motor Company is the only car company to allow access to all of its production records for the last 50 years. The Marti Report is where you can investigate these records before you purchase a vehicle. Simply enter the year, make, and model to obtain basic information about a vehicle. Choose from three report options including Basic, Deluxe, and Elite starting at $18. These reports can show you production information, sales records, significant dates, and even a reproduction of the original window sticker. Make sure you get a Marti Report before you spend too much on a car at an auction.

[00:54:47] Cars at the Capital

It took the Historic Vehicle Association seven years to discover the best way to express a deep passion for cars. Paul Ianuario, Senior Advisor of the Historic Vehicle Association, details how they’ve made Cars at the Capital a multisensory experience incorporating sight, sound, and touch. After deciding they wanted to put the historical vehicles on display, they thought what better place to do it than the nation’s capital on the National Mall. As the first vehicles to be displayed on the grounds, their goal is to pass the national heritage of the automotive industry on to the millions of visitors to Washington D.C. It is now the fourth year of the event, which proves America’s love for cars. If you’re interested in experience Cars at the Capital in person or online learn more at

[01:02:08] 1918 Cadillac US1257X

Marc Lassen is the owner of the last surviving, intact military Cadillac of WWI. The 1918 Cadillac US1257X is 1 of 128 remaining American Expeditionary vehicles that is verified to be at the Battle of the Marne in France. Many don’t know that the Cadillac was the official car for officers in WWI. It turns out that in 1916, General John J. Pershing returned from a failed expedition in Texas to track down Poncho Villa, and demanded standardization of war vehicles. A year later, the government staged vehicle tests in Marfa, Texas; as the pioneer of the V8 engine, Cadillac out-performed competitors in a big way. This was just the beginning of this vehicle’s significance in the war.

[01:10:44] Diving Deep into History

Who knew a historic car was hiding out on eBay? After searching for a part for another classic Cadillac he owned, Marc Lassen discovered the 1918 Cadillac US1257X on an eBay auction. Years of research revealed that the car was not only owned by WWI Officer, Rev. Dr. J.H. Denison’s and was also used to chauffeur Eleanor Bulter Alexander-Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter-in-law) around France as they created leave resorts for soldiers. Hidden for 80 years as it ran though obscure collections, many assumed the WWI Cadillacs had all been destroyed. This car is now the fourth car ever entered in the National Vehicle Register. Does your classic car have any historical value to it?

[01:18:10] The Story of How America Became Mobile

This car hobby isn’t just about making money – it’s about the passion for cars. Nancy Bruner and Mark Henry of Shell Lubricants expand on why Shell became involved with Cars at the Capital; they want to enable car owners to tell their stories so that future generations may learn how mobility evolved in our country. While Shell is not profiting from this event, they are pleased to have the opportunity to interact with car lovers who draw inspiration from unique details and enjoy researching the machines they admire. Come for the cars, stay for the stories.

Explore More with Helpful Links:

Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner

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This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, leave us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at

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