<i>"While, in the 1890s, young couples courted on the porch swing under the watchful eyes of their elders, by the late 1920s, parents (no doubt justifiably) feared that their daughter’s boyfriend’s family’s sedan would serve double duty as a “motel room on wheels.”"</i>
In 1960 you would rather have had your daughter's date pick her up in a two-seat Corvette than a Rambler. Rambler front seats would recline almost flat, creating, together with the back seat cushion, a large, mattress-like surface.
Torn is still my favorite broken heart woman's pop ballad, along with No Doubt's Don't Speak and Alanis Morisette's You Oughtta Know... Those came out in my teenage years, so my opinion might be biased.
As for Driver's License, I still haven't heard it, but I already pronounce it less culturally and historically significant as "Baby Shark Doo doo doo doo doo doo" people will still be singing Baby Shark in 20 and 30 years for now... Then it will be as forgotten as Tiny Tim (I had to Google him sorry. Even though I'm old, well I'm not American)
Responding to your comment about Tiny Tim, I believe that the "Great Divide" in music listening is that some people listen to music very consciously, as the major focus of their attention, while other people listen to music only as an accompaniment to other activities, such as reading knitting, or socializing. I believe that serious listeners are in the minority, and that "convenience" listeners are in the majority.
That's the reason some songs, whether "Baby Shark," or "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," break through and become cultural artifacts. As the great orchestral conductor Sir Thomas Beecham observed, "Most people don't really like music; they just like the noise it makes."
An excellent overall read, tangentially-connected to car culture, albeit with a tortuous sentence or two "(...including Phil Ochs, but only to the extent Ochs might not have been being totally ironical)".
Sensitive artistic girls, unrequited/unreturned love are evergreen themes.
When I first arrived at a prestigious New England prep school, the first book they had me read in English class was "Tom Brown's School Days," in which Flashman was a bully. Flashman later was the anti-hero of a series of historical novels. Is your moniker derived from that character?
As far as my at-times-Byzantine prose, from time to time I leave a convoluted sentence as-is, rather than Strunking it to death. Such sentences, I think of as "Speed Bumps," the reader's slowing down, to cause. Like the sentence I just wrote.
BTW, a friend of mine, upon reading a draft of this essay, commented that there was something of Jack Baruth's style in it, and I took that as a compliment. My guess is that that guy was referring to my Parthian shots directed at Olivia.