AUTOS: The Painful Change to Thinking Small

Not many love affairs have maintained as high a level of passion over decades as the romance between Americans and their huge, gleaming cars. Like all long affairs, it has had its ups and downs, even periods of disenchantment, but it has always held together. More than any other purchased object, more even than other complex machines, the family car historically has been a symbol of status, power and freedom. For many citizens, few other experiences could match the exhilaration of rolling down the highway at 65 m.p.h.; fewer still could top the pride of telling the family that the latest...

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