When one is asked to name the most influential vehicle in automotive history, the matronly minivan likely doesn’t come to mind first. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Ingrassia begs to differ. In his new book, Engines of Change, he lauds the quintessential soccer mom-mobile as having revolutionized the auto industry.
The minivan “would help define the lifestyle of a generation, or at least the lifestyles of baby boomers who were into painting the nursery instead of painting the town,” Ingrassia writes. “All this would signal a shift in America’s love affair with the automobile from sleek cars to tall and burly trucks, a change that would resonate with America’s restless national psyche in the last two decades of the twentieth century.”
Introduced by Chrysler in late 1983, the minivan was an instant success that helped bring the automaker back from the brink of bankruptcy. But it wasn’t the only vehicle to drive such massive transformations.
Among the game-changers profiled in Engines of Change are:
Do you agree with Ingrassia? Post your vote for the most influential vehicle in automotive history on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.