The American public has had a long and complicated relationship with the automobile.

Cars once symbolized freedom, rebellion and adventure, and the open road reached out to all of us: rebellious teenagers, vacationing suburban families, slick hot rod enthusiasts, rootless counter-culture drifters and middle-aged husbands alike.

Then things changed.

The Ford Mustang, the classic Cadillac and macho GTO took a back seat to more energy-efficient cars made by employees living on the other side of the planet. Foreign-built cars were more reliable, less expensive and–most importantly–got better gas mileage. The American automobile industry has never been the same. Read more