Paul Ingrassia – 15 cars for America

Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia was with our Revs Program yesterday at the VAIL Facility of CARS (the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford). He was sharing with us his superb new book: Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in 15 Cars.


Written in his crisp and elegant prose, the book connects social movements, the great shifts and changes of the twentieth century, personal experiences, dreams and aspirations, local and global politics and economics, and the cars that gave all these material expression.

This is spot on our Revs mission – to connect cars with human experience.

There are some great chapter titles:

Zora, Zora, Zora: A Bolshevik Boy Escapes the Nazis and Saves the Great American Sports Car

Ohio Gozaimasu: Godzilla, Mr Thunder, and How a Little Japanese Car Became America’s Big Ichiban

The Jeep: From War to Suburbia, or How to Look Like You’re Going Rock Climbing When You’re Really Going to Nordstrom

I’ll not spoil the storyline by telling you what they’re about!

Here is his Paul’s list of the 15 cars that shaped the America Dream, mixing pretension with practicality:

Ford Model T
La Salle
Chevrolet Corvette
1959 Cadillac Eldorado
Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen Microbus
Chevrolet Corvair
Ford Mustang
Pontiac GTO
Honda Accord
Chrysler Minivan
BMW 3 Series
Ford F-Series
Toyota Prius

The Ford F 100 pickup of 1953 – ancestor of the trucks that would best selling vehicles in America (photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Archives)

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