Aside from daily newspapers, no other big business has suffered more dearly over the past few years as a result of the country's financial misfortunes than the domestic auto industry. In the convulsions of the recession, four American car brands died, promising models fell to the crusher, and there seemed to be a new CEO at General Motors every other month. But this is nothing new; it's been covered in the news ad nauseam.

But what about the brands and cars that survived, the road icons that have lasted for 20, 30, even 75 years? We rarely hear about them. So with the help of Ray Magliozzi, co-host of NPR's "Car Talk," and Sheldon Steele, curator of the historic Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Mass., we've rounded up 10 popular American cars that have enjoyed uninterrupted series production. These cars rewired our brains, changed our expectations and satisfied us with each generation.

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Chevrolet Corvette

Click to enlarge pictureChevrolet Corvette ZR1 (© General Motors)

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The best sports-car value on this planet was, is and forever shall be the Corvette. From its tame 1953 roots as a 6-cylinder roadster to the supercar theatrics of the latest 638-horsepower ZR1, the Corvette is a rumbling, humbling machine built for the everyman. A $50,000 Corvette can hit 190 mph in one moment, and then switch to a 26-mpg highway cruise in the next. And that's just the base car. "Guys in upper management at GM, they aspire to that car," Magliozzi says. "That's one of the reasons GM probably never killed it."

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Ford Mustang

Like the Corvette, the Ford Mustang has never missed a beat — well, almost never — in nearly 50 years. "The Mustang has always been a pony car, except in the '70s when they got compact," Steele says, referring to the less-than-glorious Mustang II models built during the gas crisis of the 1970s. But even our favorites from the past — the butch Boss and Mach 1 models, the SVT Cobras — can't hold a candle to the latest Mustangs. Today's Mustang GT is almost European in its handling and is positively brilliant for a $30,000 car. Here's hoping it never grows up and moves out.

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Lincoln Town Car

Click to enlarge pictureLincoln Town Car (© Ford Motor Company)

Lincoln Town Car

This year marks the final run of the stately Lincoln Town Car, the beloved cruiser for prom dates, Wall Street executives and, Magliozzi says, "Italian contractors." Sure, the Town Car was outclassed 20 years ago by fancier Japanese and European flagships. But to this day, the long-wheelbase Town Cars and their enormous interiors make ordinary people feel like kings on their way to the airport. That hushed, wafting momentum as you glide down the road is a classic American art, unsurpassed by luxury cars costing two to three times more. Everyone else can have their European-tuned shocks; the Town Car lives one pillow-deep rebound at a time.

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Chevrolet Suburban

Click to enlarge pictureChevrolet Suburban LTZ (© General Motors)

Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

While most truck-based SUVs have made their final trip to Target, the Chevrolet Suburban seems to defy all industry wisdom. For 75 years, its performance as a plus-size people-mover has been unmatched. No other vehicle can seat up to nine, tow a huge boat and clean out an attic in the same day.

With its stump-pulling torque and rock-hard frame, the Suburban practically begs for a beating, and never seems to die. No wonder it is America's longest-lasting nameplate and the preferred machine-gunner of the Secret Service.

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