Finally tracked down something with tuition from the 1970s (I started MIT in 1976). I remember my parents had to send me $1000 for the first year (after that I was first of 7 kids going through and I got more aid) so that was 1/3 of the tuition bill. I don't remember what kind of a car you got get in 1976 for that, but in 1978 I got a 1970 Valiant for $1500 (they're worth more than that now...) which is about as nice and reliable as a $10,000 car now.
Now it's 40,732, enough to buy a BMW. That's an increase of about an order of magnitude in a generation. (My kids are at University of Washington and Seattle University)