National Automotive History Collection Selects Tesla Model S as Collectible Vehicle of the Future



In order to fully understand the importance of the National Automotive History Collection (NAHC) selecting the Tesla Model S as its “Collectible Vehicle of the Future,” a brief history and background lesson is required.

The NAHC is the world’s largest public archive of automotive lore and a true treasure for automotive historians, journalists and collectors.  Its collection of books, magazines, manuals, photos, company histories, and historic documents is open to the public.

The Model S is the first electric vehicle to be named to the NAHC's collectible vehicle list.

Located in the Rose and Robert Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library, the NAHC is regarded as the nation’s premier public automotive archive.  The NAHC was established as a collection in 1953 and today contains over 600,000 items, including photographs, manuscript files, business documents, technical papers and so on.

Since 1995, the NAHC has voted to select an annual winner of its “Collectible Vehicle of the Future” award.  Of the 17 completely new vehicles launched in 2012, the Tesla Model S was selected as the vehicle most likely to become highly desired by future automobile collectors.

Tesla is the lone non-Detroit automaker ever chosen by the NAHC in its collectible vehicle category

Basically, the NAHC sets out to answer this question when choosing a vehicle worthy of its award: Which vehicle will turn heads at the Woodward Dream Cruise in 2037?

The Model S is the only electric vehicle to have ever been chosen as the “Collectible Vehicle of the Future” by the NAHC and Tesla is the lone non-Detroit automaker to ever win.  Some of the previous winners include the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 2008 Dodge Challenger 2007 Dodge Viper SRT and the 2005 Ford Mustang.

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16 Comments on "National Automotive History Collection Selects Tesla Model S as Collectible Vehicle of the Future"

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The Model S is the only electric vehicle to have ever been chosen as the “Collectible Vehicle of the Future” by the NAHC … Some of the previous winners include the 2011 Chevrolet Volt …

I bet there’s more than one person that will take exception to this statement…

That’s okay. The Volt is a hybrid in my eyes. It’s not what I’d categorize as an electric vehicle, but feel free to try to convince me otherwise.

All 2 motor hybrids are not created equal. The unique architecture that GM reconfigured the planetary gearset to is what makes it a real electric vehicle as opposed to the Ford or Prius plug in.

The Volt can go 102 MPH in electric mode, piP and Ford NOT.

Eric, it seems like the word “pure” should be added to the article in your statement, though it’s ultimately your decision.

A Volt is most assuredly an ALL electric vehicle for those first 35 miles or so of range, and can burn gasoline to go further after that point. The fact that the Volt can drive 100MPH and do so not burning gas reinforces this point. It is not a traditional “hybrid” by any definition. That’s why most agree it is best defined as an “Extended Range Electric Vehicle” and, of course, that term ends in “Electric Vehicle” and doesn’t include “Hybrid” 😉

I’ll toss my hat into the ring re: the “pure EV” correction.

Some of us call pure EVs, “BEVs”…But truly, the Volt
IS an electric car and not a “hybrid”. Can you name
another hybrid that goes 35 – 50 miles on electrons?

Due to the nature of Volt’s drive system – and that it
can be power-assisted by it’s 1.4L range extender, some
folks make the error to call it a hybrid. We have to
examine WHEN that rare occurrance happens – AFTER
the battery is fully discharged and the driver floors it
to over 70 mph. This doesn’t make a Volt superior
to a Tesla – but an affordable $35,000 car that NEVER
has to search for a charging station is a noted
plus over a BEV – especially one that costs $60-
110,000! Not taking away from the Model S, a sweet,
revolutionary BEV no doubt – but in lauding Model S
we should not demean Volt in the process.

Eric, the Volt was designed as a pure electric that, instead of towing around a separate gas-driven generator, had it built-in.

Green media authors who insist upon calling the Volt a hybrid are simply adding to the confusion people have with the Volt, and worse, you are diluting the Volt’s true value by elevating less capable cars to its level. In short, you and other writers like you give manufacturers like Toyota and Ford no reason to raise the bar set by the Volt, because you continually choose to ignore just how high the bar has been set by the Volt.

It does seem that the addition of “pure” in front of electric vehicle would have been appropriate. Good eye. It went right over my head.

It sould read “The Model S is the first ALL electric vehicle to be named to the NAHC’s collectible vehicle list.”


They were right to select the Tesla, it being noteworthy as a Game Changer due to its extreme simplicity (the stripped models, at any rate), and a beautiful quiet car in its own right.

Volt was also the first real main stream vehicle to help break dependence on Foreign Oil. While not totally electric, it has been in practice, albeit around 70% 110 volt charging and all, millions of miles driven in all electric plug in mode.

The Volt is a full performance EV with a built-in, gas-powered generator to extend its range. I think a correct term for it would be EREV, for Extended Range Electric Vehicle.

I refer to my volt as a Plug-in-hybrid because when traveling on the highway at 66mph, the engine mechanically connects to the wheels, if the engine happens to be running at the time. One advantage of having 3 clutches.

Bill, you are kowtowing to the GM haters (apparently who include some writers) that insist the Volt never be labeled an electric car.

Sure – after the battery only mode is expended, the Volt has a patented clutching system that will sometimes connect the ICE operation to the drive system when efficiency demands it be done. But the ICE does not need to be connected to drive the Volt down the road – its two electric drive motors will do the job, running off the (charge sustained) battery.

‘Hybrid’ is a term which was created for cars that NEED a gas engine to directly propel it. Plug-in hybrids like the PIP and Energi still need their gas engines to achieve full performance – the Volt does not.

Don’t confuse the issue. Treat the Volt as what it is – a full performance electric car with a built-in, gas powered range extender. With (patented) benefits.

Yes I am driving on the same tank of gas I bought in May. Tom would argue that I should have bought a BEV instead of my Volt. Bottom line EREVs are EVs or at least they are to the outside community. Millions of people do not understand the difference. The C-Max is an EV as well. The Plug-in Prius with less than 10 miles of range starts to marginalize this and most of us here just fail to comment on the PiP. But the point being even this vehicle is helping the cause which is much more important than EV snobbery. (my word)

Collectible implies rare. I certainly hope neither of these vehicles become rare.

Saw a white Model S yesterday parked at the Reston Town Center. I stood there and drooled for a few minutes. Then on my way back I saw the owner get in and silently with such a grace pull out go on their way.


It’s about time someone wrested this honor from Detroit.

I agree in hoping these vehicles don’t become collectibles
due to their rarity. A lot of premier vehicles, like Duesenberg
or Auburn in their day, are not around today.

Tesla absolutely needs to produce a car for everybody,
followed by a couple models in that category to solidify
it’s place as a lasting entity. I know I’m getting ahead of
the game since Tesla is only now struggling to fill it’s
early orders, but I have high hopes to see Tesla around
for many decades to come.

Model S is already outselling the Volt snd is the dominant EV this year. The Volt is not a serious contender long term and will never approach the Model S in quality, performance, electric range, and looks. Even with cost, the smaller Tesla battery is comparable and still blows the Volt away.