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Cruising: A Nostalgic Look Back at the Joy of Driving

The car culture of the 1950s is making a comeback during the pandemic

couple driving a 1952 Buick Super Riviera four-door Sedan

Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

Cruising has always been about the journey, not the destination. Getting behind the wheel, driving slowly and often times aimlessly, hoping to see and be seen; those are the goals — not getting somewhere in a hurry. Car cruising had its heyday in the 1950s and into the early 1960s. After World War II, automobile manufacturing started to boom. And as more Americans became car owners, they needed excuses to drive them. The cultural phenomenon of cruising, especially among teenagers, was born.

Today, amid the coronavirus pandemic, cruising is making a comeback. It has become a safe escape for so many who have been cooped up at home for weeks on end. Take a look at these vintage cruising photos to get a glimpse of how Americans found joy in driving decades ago.


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