A Drive Through History

The car has greatly evolved over the past century, and Popular Science has been along for the transformational ride.

Popular Science has been documenting the love affair between Americans and their cars since the first Model T rolled out of the factory in 1908. Like any relationship, it has changed over time, and that's reflected in the magazine's coverage.

This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Popular Science.

December 1920

Car ownership almost tripled by the end of the '20s. Early gear-heads benefited from how-to's and stories about maintenance.

May 1932

The '30s saw the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam. Futuristic car concepts were designed to fit the worlds of tomorrow.

March 1948

After World War II, more cars took to the road, only to find highways unprepared. Safety was a focus of R&D; departments -- and drivers.

March 1952

Love for cars turned into an obsession. Readers devoured details about the newest models.

June 1963

Car technology had come a long way -- but humans hadn't. Attention shifted from everyday driving perils to more challenging conditions.

February 1979

In the '70s, an oil embargo caused gas prices to soar, putting alternative fuel sources front and center.

November 1984

The '80s brought more regulation. Uncontrolled skidding clearly topped safety concerns; five covers featured skids and tires.

May 1993

A stronger economy helped advance car technologies. The '90s were all about sleek designs to drive us into the 21st century.