Dearly Beloved… We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of Ford cars; specifically the classic sedan, after a long, excruciating battle with ravaging mediocrity as well as declining popularity. Ford has recently announced that they will be phasing out their current models, aside from the iconic Mustang, to make room for more innovative products.
As a cornerstone of our American society, the Ford Motor Company requires no introduction. Always present. Perpetually reliable. Under-appreciated, even. Ford has become the equivalent of a 14-year old husky kid that just got friend-zoned at a Freshmen dance by a girl who just discovered Upperclassmen. And as we gather here to pay our respects, we place ourselves in the role of the girl, crying in her room after the backup quarterback was mean to her, looking for comfort from the ever-present husky kid. But he’s not there. Why? Because he hung himself by the dam in a state of auto-erotic asphyxiation. We’re not judging, though…
But metaphor aside, Ford’s status as the premier domestic automaker of the last century brings to light one of their biggest links to our collective culture. The simple fact that, as long as sexually-inexperienced teenagers have found themselves behind the wheel, Ford has given those horny kids a place to feel each other up.
Think about it for a moment. That experience was shared by teenagers of the Great Depression, post-WWII boppers with the youth culture of the early-60’s through their Vietnam-era evolution. It united rockers and disco-fans alike, embodied 1980’s status, and then every bit of teen angst since. First kisses and over-the-sweater stuff, and even first times. Sure, there were other automakers that contributed, but none have enjoyed the longevity of Ford.
Correlation aside, the passing of time makes it easy to see just how much the experience of crawling in a backseat seems slightly less relevant. Prior to the 70’s and 80’s, the car served as a magical surrogate to our parents’ homes. So much of classic Americana depicts a working father and an ever-present homemaker mother, standing guard. After all, she doesn’t like that Mary Sue. She’s not a ‘nice girl,’ Johnny. But you just got your license, and Mary Sue is the kind of girl who gets whatever she wants. In fact, fifty years from now girls like her will be praised as empowered women. So take that new license to the drive-ins, Johnny, and let that Mary Sue her take you to the future.
Sound familiar? If you’re older, it might. But these days, latchkey kids have unbridled access to privacy. It’s probably why they’re not doing stuff in cars anymore. It’s also why your liquor cabin gets raided, and your bong isn’t where you left it. It really makes you think about those good old days, doesn’t it?
So, whether you’re an elderly woman who once went necking with a colored boy to the sounds of ‘black jazz,’ or a sophomore Frat boy still insisting that ‘its not yours,’ the backseat of a Ford has probably played a major role in your life. And with that in mind, it seems appropriate that those back seats are now fading into the rearview mirror…much like your dreams and the unbridled optimism of youth.
Here’s to you.