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The purpose of this paper is to provide a clear picture of automobiles in the 1950s and the impact the automobile had on American societyThe 1950s were a time of economic growth for America where income exceeded car prices and vision was limited only by ones imagination This was a time when you are what you drive President Eisenhower and his administration were friendly to big business for the first time since Herbert Hoover For example new highways were built by Eisenhower administration in 1956 The automotive industry in general was determined to make up for lost time Immediately after the war America began switching from coal to oil in a big way In 1949 consumption was 58 million a year and went up to 164 million just before the oil crisis of 1973 These gas-guzzling giants had incredible horsepower Cars already too big for basic space needs and ease of parking became bigger and lower slung so that the slightest bump could smash the oil pan muffler or gas tank Gasoline was cheap and plentiful in the 1950s even if you were going across the country The National Defense Highway Act of 1956 developed a 41000-mile interstate highway system that encouraged travel The countrys motels recorded 850 million in receipts in 1958 Not only motels but also the steel rubber petroleum and construction industries all grew rich and dependent on cars Add to this garages automobile dealers drive-ins carhops and tourism generally to see how the automobile industry had the worlds most powerful lobby Cars brought status The Cadillac was the highest status car and to firm up its image it brought out the El Dorado Brougham The least expensive Brougham cost 14000 dollars complete with vanity case perfume bottle lipsticks dashboard tissue dispenser and four gold finished drinking cups American baroque Ads suggested that the mere ownership of a Cadillac provided instant entry into High Society As automobiles became larger fancier
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