AUTOMERICA: A Trip Down U.S. Highways From World War II to the Future by Ant Farm

AUTOMERICA: A Trip Down U.S. Highways From World War II to the Future

Email this review


A cheeky freeform chronicle--part confession, part scrapbook, part critique--of how America's post-WW II autofanaticism collapsed. Author Chip Lord was a founder of Ant Farm, the West Coast design collective that buried ten Cadillacs up to theft tailfins, Stonehenge-like, on a Texas ranch; once upon a time, in the Fifties of his childhood, the car had been synonynous for him ""with love, with romance, with driving off into the sunset."" His characteristic journey from infatuation to disillusion to amusement is implemented with a quick, sharp history of auto manufacturing, design, and marketing; of motels, drive-ins, and the Interstate. For his generation, the Vietnam War was the eye-opener: ""the myth of techno-supremacy . . .was challenged and defeated for the first time by a people whose lifestyle was agriculturally oriented. . . We knew we had the power to make independent choices about our lives."" One result was ""nomadic truckitecture,"" the funky mobile homes now on the roads; another, Lord's assessment that neither mass transit nor cars can make traveling 20 or 30 miles cheap. (""The real future belongs to the bicycle."") Lots of old ads, candid photos, publicity shots; some nostalgia; plenty of solid thought.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1976
Publisher: Dutton