45 Years Ago Chrysler Corp. President Lester L. (Tex) Colbert in May 1955 predicts that the one-car family likely will become a thing of the past within a decade. And by 1975, Colbert predicts, the one-car family will be in the minority and many families will be using "three or four" cars.

At the same time, the dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering predicts the return of electric cars by the year 2000. He sees some of the new electric cars receiving their "juice" from overhead power lines supplied by atomic power stations.

Also this month, the National Used Car Dealers Assn. votes to change its name to the National Independent Automobile Dealers Assn. in an effort to "remove the connotation which has been associated in the minds of many with the name 'used car dealer.'"

23 Years Ago With U.S. new truck sales heading for a record 3.7 million units in 1977, an unnamed market study quoted in Ward's Automotive Reports says truck sales will grow by 3.4% annually through 1985, with light trucks running at a 3% annual growth rate. One problem in forecasting market growth is that "the light-duty truck market has been so explosive that it has been difficult to pin down its real strength."

However, by about 1980 light truck "demand will likely be little more than replacement, at least in the personal transportation category."

General Motors Corp., not Chrysler, would have been credited with creating the minivan had it stuck to plans for such a vehicle that it had developed in the mid-1970s. Buyers could expect a new vehicle that is a "cross between a car and a van-type station wagon," in the '80 or '81 model years, according to WAR. "The vehicle will have front-wheel drive, probably swivel seating, a lot of interior space and many car-like features in a compact and efficient size that is comfortable and fun to drive." It is to be based on the up-coming front-drive X-body car platform set for '79 model year introduction. (GM's financial woes in the early 1980s forced cancellation of the project, paving the way for Chrysler to pioneer the concept in model year '84. GM didn't get a front-drive small van until '89.)

17 Years Ago What a difference a month makes. Ford Motor Co. in May 1983 decides not to shift the Mustang to an all-new, front-drive platform for model year '87 as it had planned to do only a month earlier. In- stead, the car will remain on its current rear-drive platform with new front and rear styling for '87, according to Ford. Likewise, the company says it has decided not to move the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis to a smaller front-drive platform in model year '86 as earlier planned. (Instead, the front-drive sporty car appears as the Probe in 1988. The '86 front-drive platform becomes the midsize Taurus and Sable.)

At the same time, GM says the all-new front-drive C-body cars - Cadillac DeVille, Buick Electra and Olds 98 - will debut in spring 1984, a six-month delay from the planned fall 1983 launch. Due to the delay the cars will appear as '85 models instead of '84s. Cadillac also confirms plans to continue selling indefinitely its large rear-drive car alongside its smaller front-drive model as a hedge against the large rear-drive Lincoln Town Car.

On the fuel front, a mid-May survey by the Automobile Club of Michigan finds gasoline prices up for the eighth consecutive week. Unleaded regular gasoline averages $1.42 per gallon, while leaded regular is $1.35 per gallon.