The first family car I remember was our 1957 Ford station wagon. The most important feature of that car to me was the rear most seat faced backwards. On our regular summer excursions to visit an aunt and uncle who lived in Western Iowa my sister and I sat in that back seat. So instead of staring down at a small electronic device like kids do today we were looking out a picture window with a wide-angle view as the countryside rolled by. Our parents would let us know as we approached familiar landmarks. The favorite was crossing the Missouri river on the old narrow steel girder bridge of Highway 2 at Nebraska City. That also meant we were close to our destination. On the trip home there was also extra room to take a nap. With mini vans coming out in the early 80’s, station wagon models began their fade into history.
In my grade school years, the Ford was replaced by a ’62 Chevy four door Impala sedan. Today major car makers are reducing the production or eliminating some full size four door sedan models completely. All the various SUV models are making them obsolete. When I was young, four-wheel drive pickups were largely limited to some farmers, ranchers, mail delivery, and various emergency services. Today, oversized four-wheel drive extended cab pickups are common throughout city neighborhoods.
Yet there is a growing cry is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and move to electric vehicles. Ford even recently revealed an electric powered pickup. Will motorcycle enthusiasts embrace electric power? How about the racing industry? I am not convinced that the EV move is going to solve a lot of our problems. But advancing technology will drive constant changes. Our industry has changed a lot just in the last 20 years and will continue to do so.