The cars that Willy Lowman own in Death of a Salesman symbolizes his mental well-being throughout his life. This will be examined in three separate sections, Willy's flashbacks, the 'present time' sections of the play, and finally the car crash. These explanations will be presented in chronological order to keep things from becoming confusing.
When Willy is having flashbacks on his life it is shown that he was a very happy and stable person, the kind of person people liked. He had a job which let him travel and kept him from a cramped office space, he was able to pay the bills without too much trouble, and he loved his family and they loved him back. At this time in Willy's life he owned a red Chevy pickup. It was 1928 and Willy lead a happy life with a happy family. He had a great relationship with his children. "I've been wondering why you polish the car so careful. Ha! Don't leave the hubcaps, boys. Get the chamois to the hubcaps. Happy, use newspaper on the windows, it's the easiest thing. Show him how to do it Biff! You see, Happy? Pad it up, use it like a pad. That's it, that's it, good work. You're doin' all right, Hap.” That quotation shows how much of a hero Willy was to the boys at this time in their lives. It also shows how he was indeed active in their lives and proud of them in every way. He, at this time coached them and taught them how to be successful. The relation of him to the car even goes further with things Willy says that don't seem to be directly related to him in any way. When he says "Chevrolet, Linda, is the greatest car ever built.” It can be related to him at the time. Willy had a nice piece of land, a happy family, a good job and a neighbour he could get along with. He was living the American dream, the greatest dream ever dreamt. It is not said in the story when exactly the car next replaced but it most likely would be soon after Biff caught him with another woman.