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1952 Porsche America Roadster welcomed into National Historic Vehicle Register

The Hagerty Drivers Foundation has announced that the 1952 Porsche Type 540 America Roadster, chassis no. 12336, is the 34th 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.

Vetted by the Hagerty Drivers Foundation for the Library of Congress, the America Roadster, serial number 12336, is one of sixteen aluminum-bodied cars made specifically for U.S. racers, the result of efforts made by importer Max Hoffman and famed racer and dealer John von Neumann. Von Neumann and Hoffman recognized the potential competition and sales success for a modified roadster in the burgeoning, sports car-crazed post-war U.S. and rallied Porsche to build a more competitive model than its standard 356.

HVA 1952-Porsche-356-America-Roadster front three quarter
Michael Furman

Josie von Neumann raced this America Roadster after it was sold by her stepfather to entrepreneur John Crean. Josie took home victories in the car as she began her brief racing career, besting some of the most significant European competitors in the 1950s California racing scene.

The Porsche 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 also feature pilot Amelia Earhart’s 1937 Cord, the 33rd vehicle added to the National Historic Vehicle Register.

The announcement of the America Roadster’s enshrinement in the National Historic Vehicle Register was made by Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty at the 75th Anniversary Broad Arrow Group Porsche sale at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta today. The celebration of the car’s entry into the Register was held in honor of the car’s late owner and Porsche collector, Robert “Bob” Ingram.

HVA 1952-Porsche-356-America-Roadster engine
Michael Furman

Ingram, with his wife Jeanie and sons Rory and Cam, became caretakers of the America Roadster when they added it to their collection of Porsches in 2009. North Carolina Porsche restorers Road Scholars, led by Cam Ingram, performed an exhaustive, nut-and-bolt restoration of the car in 2018 in just seven months. Afterward, it took third in class at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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“Having the America Roadster added to the National Historic Vehicle Register and documented for perpetuity on the anniversary of Porsche is an enormous honor,” said Rory Ingram. “Of all of the significant Porsches, we feel this is a fitting example for the Register. This is a tough year to have lost our dad, and to honor his legacy with the celebration of this important car and to document Porsche heritage in the U.S. in our father’s honor is a great distinction.”

“Porsches have long captivated auto enthusiasts in the United States, and while there are many tremendous examples, this is a great place to see where that influential history began in the United States. The car’s unique tie to Max Hoffman, as well as to John and Josie von Neumann, makes its story a fantastic example to document and preserve in the Library of Congress for future generations,” said Casey Maxon, senior manager of heritage for the Hagerty Drivers Foundation.

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