While our parents have memories of riding around in station wagons, watching the highway disappear out the back window (instead of staring through an expensive moon roof), the newest generation will remember the 4 E’s: The Escape, The Explorer, The Expedition, and the mammoth massive dinosaur, the Excursion. Whether the family is Ford-loyal or not, most brands have their equivalents—the old Isuzu Trooper. The Chevy Suburban XL (because the original huge bus wasn’t big enough). The oh-so-trendy gas drinker, the Hummer, and on and on.
Little did we know that our parents’ super sized driving habits may have been the result of the post 9-11 security push. Author Marita Sturken claims in her recent book that we purchased such extravagant cars for the safety functions—you were higher up, you were the squisher not the squishee in an accident, and if you had a Hummer, you were as secure (and trendy) as our top military officials. Doesn’t get much safer than that, right? As we approach 9/11’s ten-year anniversary, we have regained our sense of safety and fuel economy. But the ghosts of models past will never completely cease to exist, because how can we resist driving a mini-house everywhere we go? We can’t.