...Trains and buses ran to schedules, but with cars you just jumped in and off you went - poop-poop, vroom-vroom - down the open road. At a recent rally, Henry Ford's great-grandson, Edsel II, described the Model T Ford -currently celebrating its centenary - as "a product that delivered freedom". And to the millions who owned one (15m sold in 18 years of production), it was no lie. "You know, Henry," one satisfied customer wrote, "your car lifted us out of the mud. It brought joy into our lives. We loved every rattle in its bones."
Times have changed. Once a key to the future, the car is now a menace to it. Freedom has given way to gridlock, pleasure to road rage. Even the best - fastest - car journeys are a guilt trip, now we've learned what carbon emissions are doing to the planet. The credit crunch and rise in fuel prices might lie behind the plunge in car sales across the world (a 20% fall in Italy in June, 31% in Spain, while in the US Ford has recorded losses of $8.7bn over three months). But the crisis goes deeper. Carmageddon looms.
Read more at - 'It was the cathedral of modern times, but the car is now a menace'