Z. Taylor Vinson, Esq.

  • Born: July 7, 1933
  • Died: October 25, 2009
  • Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary

328 6th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701

Tel. (304) 525-8121

Tribute & Message From The Family

Z. Taylor Vinson, 76, of Alexandria, Va., died Sunday, October 25, 2009.

Born in Huntington on July 7, 1933, a son of the late Taylor and Betty Jane Vinson, he attended Cammack Jr. High, and was a graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, and Princeton University where he was president of Key & Seal Club and vice president of the Princeton Triangle Club. After serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, he spent a year in advertising in New York. Mr. Vinson then obtained a law degree from the University of Virginia where he was president of the international law society and originated the publication that his successors developed into the Virginia Journal of International Law, the nation’s first student-published international law review.

A member of the California Bar, Mr. Vinson was an associate at the firm of O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles until moving to Washington, D.C. to join the International Finance Corporation, the private development arm of the World Bank, In 1967, he joined the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he served for 36 years in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), retiring as senior attorney in 2003, at that time the agency’s longest-serving employee. Among other things, Mr. Vinson drafted the regulation on the center high-mounted stop lamp, required on all passenger cars beginning with the 1986 model year.

A lifelong automotive enthusiast, Mr. Vinson was president of the Society of Automotive Historians in 1993-95, and editor of its Automotive History Review from 1995 to 2009. He was internationally known for having one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of automotive sales materials, and was consulted on many ocasions by the National Museum of American History.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he was presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 2004. He was also a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., the Order of First Families of Virginia, and the Order of St. John. He also served a term on the Advisory Board of Woodberry Forest School.

He is survived by sisters Betty Jane Helander of Mountainside, N.J., and Mary Blair Koehl of Dallas, Pa., and brother Edwin N. Vinson of Huntington, as well as by numerous nephews and nieces.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, Huntington, WV on Saturday, October 31, 2009 with interment following in Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington, WV. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. A memorial service will be held in Washington, DC at a later date.