• The Automobile as an Iconic Symbol

    The Automobile as an Iconic Symbol

    “This car of mine…. I never want to part with her you see. This little car means a heck of a lot to me…. Ain't no amount of gold any mine would be enough to take away this car of mine.”
    - Excerpt from “This Car of Mine,” Beach Boys, 1964
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There is an old saying that “clothes make the man.” When it comes to California, it seems that one's car just as much makes the person. Part expression of personal identity, part fetish, part dream machine, the automobile continues to serve as both personal expression and an extension of the self.

From the customized dragster to the surfer's wood-panelled station wagon, from the Volkswagen “Hippie Bus” to the fiberglass “Dune Buggy,” cars have both helped to define who their owners are as well as create new car crazes. Cruising, drag racing and drive-in movies and hamburger stands all became activities and places to show off or be seen with your “wheels.”