Our feature Corvette at the 2020 Corvette Chevy Expo is the Alan Bean’s 1969 Astrovette. This historical vehicle has been featured before but this time it comes with a very prestigious award. In fact, it is the first Corvette to be recognized by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) as a historically important vehicle and enshrined in the National Historic Vehicle Register.
- Apollo 12 Astrovette Named to National Historic Vehicle Register
- Danny Reed Shares His Personal Experience owning the Astrovette
At the end of this article is a video that Corvette collector and NASA enthusiast Danny Reed talks about the journey with the Astrovette and its role in the space program.
Apollo 12 AstroVette Named to National Historic Vehicle Register
Alan Bean’s Apollo 12 Corvette is the first Corvette to be named to the National Historic Vehicle Register (NHVR). The NHVR is part of the way that the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) carries out its mission “To promote the cultural and historical significance of the automobile and protect the future of our automotive past.” The HVA, founded in 2009, now has over 490,000 members and is the designated U.S. representative of FIVA (Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens), the international federation of historic vehicle organizations.
The aims of the HVA are to:
- Recognize and document historically important vehicles in a National Historic Vehicle Register
- Establish and share best practice guidelines to ensure that authentic examples of our automotive past will be available for future generations
- Promote the historical and cultural significance of the automobile through media and events
- Protect the future of our automotive past through affiliations with museums and academic institutional programs, and support of legislative action
The criteria for considering a vehicle for the NHVR are:
- Associative Value-Event – A vehicle associated with an event or events that are important in automotive or American history
- Associative Value-Person – A vehicle associated with the lives of significant persons in automotive or American history
- Design or Construction Value – A vehicle that is distinctive based on design, engineering, craftsmanship, or aesthetic value
- Informational Value – A vehicle of a particular type that was the first or last produced, has an element of rarity as a survivor of its type, or is among the most well-preserved or thoughtfully restored surviving examples
The HVA is working with the Department of the Interior’s Heritage Documentation Programs to create a comprehensive record of our most historically significant vehicles, which will reside in the Library of Congress.
Bean’s Corvette was fully restored to original, award-winning standards. The Apollo 12 Corvette recently added to its honors—it is the first Corvette to be recognized by the Historic Vehicle Association as a historically important vehicle and enshrined in the National Historic Vehicle Register.
Having a car named to the National Historic Vehicle Register is not all work and no play. The HVA has an annual Cars at the Capital exhibit on the National Mall in Washington.
Danny Reed shares the experience of owning the first Corvette named to the National Historic Vehicle Register:
On the evening of 9/11, 2019, Astronaut Alan Bean’s 1969 Gold & Black Apollo 12 Corvette was named to the National Historic Vehicle Register. The car was displayed in a beautiful glass case on the National Mall in front of the Capitol in Washington DC between the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art from September 12th through the 19th. As owners, my wife and I were invited to flip the switch that lit the glass case in the opening ceremony.
The Historic Vehicle Association helps choose the vehicles each year for the National Historic Vehicle Register and the United States Department of Interior Historic American Engineering Record. Once selected, the vehicles are highly documented, photographed and then exhibited in a full-size lighted glass case that looks like a typical display case for a small model. Vehicle owners and invited guests participate in the HVA evening ceremony and a press party the following morning. The event is quite breathtaking, especially when you see the lighted Capitol building and the Washington Monument in the background.
The process and incredible experience as an owner of a Historic Vehicle began with the purchase of Alan Bean’s Apollo 12 Astrovette in 1971. Interest increased after I started displaying the car at events at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston Space Center, Cosmosphere, and National Corvette Museum.
History and originality are very important; however, the documentation process of the vehicle is most critical. The documentation on Alan Bean’s Corvette started when I joined NCRS in 2001. Under the guidance of Ray Repczynski, owner of Corvettes by Ray in Houston, we entered the car in NCRS Regional and National Events, where the judging of originality and condition are held to the highest standards by Master Judges. In preparing the car for NCRS judging, we dropped and removed the gas tank. Ray immediately noticed Alan Bean’s name printed on the tank sticker. We have never seen another tank sticker listing the car’s owner.
Bean’s car received back-to-back NCRS Top Flight Awards, Performance Verification, followed by the NCRS Duntov Award of Excellence and finally the prestigious NCRS American Heritage Award. To my knowledge, Alan Bean’s Corvette is the only car to receive both the NCRS Duntov Award of Excellence and the National Heritage Award.
Car magazines started calling, and soon Bean’s car was featured and on the cover of the 2001 August Car Collector Magazine and November Vette Magazine. It has since been featured in dozens of magazines including Corvette Magazine, Vette VuesMagazine, Motor Trend and Motor Trend Classics.
Magazine coverage transformed into appearances on TV – Top Gear with James May, Classic Car Rescue, Wheeler Dealer, French PBS, Motor Trend Epic Drives, Jay Leno’s Garage, and Iron Resurrection – plus online and YouTube videos by Michael Brown, Bruce Troxell, Corvette Corner, and many followers.
Interest increased with each year. Franklin Mint made 427 precision limited edition 1/24th scale models of the Apollo 12 Corvette. TMS followed with a 1/43rd scale model and this year Greenlight released a 1/64th scale model. Greenlight will be releasing a 1/24th scale model early next year.
My admiration for the Space Program and Astronaut Corvettes has continued. In July of 2017, I purchased Alfred Worden’s Apollo 15 Corvette; a barn find that had been in a field for years. In March of this year, I found and purchased Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 Corvette – totally original with only 42,000 original miles.
January through July of this year, the National Corvette Museum wanted to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Man on the Moon with a “Gas Station to Space Station” display of Astronaut Corvettes. At the request of Derek Moore, Curator of NCM, I agreed to put Alan Bean’s ’69 and Alfred Worden’s & Dave Scott’s ’71 Corvettes on display in the Museum. That is when Diane Parker, VP of the Historic Vehicle Association, contacted Derek Moore at the NCM about adding Astronaut Alan Bean’s car to the National Register.
Derek gave Diane my information. Diane contacted me and walked me through the HVA process. The rest is History!
Here are some more photos of Alan Bean’s 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Alan Bean’s 1969 Astrovette to be the featured Corvette at the 2020 Corvette Chevy Expo. It is the first Corvette to be recognized by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA). The 42nd Corvette Chevy Expo is March 14 & 15, 2020.
Video of the Apollo XII Astrovette
Corvette collector and NASA enthusiast Danny Reed has owned the sole surviving Corvette built for the crew of Apollo XII for almost 50 years. Danny shares with us his journey with the car and its role in the space program. Its travel is out of this world…
Want to learn more about the history of the 1969 Astrovette? Vette Vues Magazine dives in the historical facts of how the astronauts chose the colors, logos, how Danny Reed found the 1969 Astronaut Corvette and more if it’s history.