Inspired by Luxury Yachts, Station Wagons Were Once the Height of Mid-20th-Century Design

Before the Minivan and SUV, American Families Rode in a Vehicle Fashioned for Comfort and Room for All

Today SUVs clog American roads, but in the middle of the 20th century, the station wagon ruled supreme. Built for growing postwar families—with a distinctive nod toward style and luxury—the iconic car with the “wayback” democratized driving for families across the United States.

In dozens of photographs assembled in the self-published Looking Backward: America’s Love Affair With the Station Wagon, Southern California-based co-authors John Jordan and Will Bodine recall the days when wagons were targeted mainly to the wealthy (the Buick Special Estate Wagon of 1941 had interior woodwork “worthy …

The Postcards That Captured America’s Love for the Open Road

From Mid-Century Until Today, “Greetings From” Postcards Have Combined a ‘Fantastical View’ of the Country With Car Culture Obsession

The most prolific producer of the iconic 20th-century American travel postcard was a German-born printer, a man named Curt Teich, who immigrated to America in 1895. In 1931, Teich’s printing …

Why Americans Invented the RV

In 1915, New Creature Comforts Created by Technology Merged with the Back to Nature Movement

On August 21, 1915, the Conklin family departed Huntington, New York on a cross-country camping trip in a vehicle called the “Gypsy Van.” Visually arresting and cleverly designed, the …

How the Pickup Truck Carried the American South Into the Future

From 'Rusty Rattletraps' to 'Big Black Jacked-Up' Rides, the Iconic Vehicles Symbolize Blue-Collar Identity While Flaunting Bourgeois Prosperity

The pickup truck’s rise from its crude, makeshift origins to the almost luxury-item status it enjoys today amounts to a Horatio Alger tale with a technological twist, providing a striking …

Volkswagen’s Long, Strange Trip Through Pop Culture

How Did the Sensible German Automobiles Come to Symbolize Both Counterculture Cool and American Family Fun?

It looks like Volkswagen is going to owe billions for the illegal sleight of engineering hand that enabled its once-vaunted diesel car engine to cheat on emissions tests. The German …