Forget the 1970s-chic Beetle debut at the 1998 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Automakers are stepping back another 20 years when the economy wasn't in the tank, automotive design wasn't an oxymoron and “Happy Days” was a mood not a television show. Welcome to the 1950s, with a 90s spin. Although Ford Motor Co. is careful not to call its Thunderbird concept “retro,” there's no mistaking the heritage of the car. Classic design elements such as the afterburner tail lamps, ...

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