Can You Match the Auto Innovation to Its Original Car?

By: Robin Tyler
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Can You Match the Auto Innovation to Its Original Car?
Image: Tim Stocker Photography / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Lights, windshield wipers, tail lights, CD players, heated seats ... these things were not standard on the cars produced one hundred years ago or more. 

Those cars were very simple. Many were steered using a tiller! In fact, steering wheels were used for the first time several years after the first modern car had driven its first few 100 meters. And there were many ways the motor car was improved over time. Take starting a car, for example. This is something we certainly take for granted. But before the starter motor made this job easier when first introduced in 1912, the driver had to use a crank and some good old elbow grease to turn the car's engine over to get it started.

Innovations followed in every decade and in all departments. The first V8 engine, the first Wankel engine and the first W16 engine are just some of the significant milestones when it comes to power units. And then there are others, like the first air conditioning unit in a car, the first radio, the first Bluetooth system and much more!

But do you think you would be able to match each auto innovation to its original car? Let's see just how much you know!

It all had to start somewhere! Which of these was the first fully functioning modern automobile?
1885 Benz Patent-Motorwagen
Built in 1885 by Karl Benz, a German engineer, the Benz Patent Motorwagen is classified as the first modern car using an internal combustion engine. The vehicle, which steered with a tiller arm, not a steering wheel, was produced until 1893. Only 25 were built.
1895 Ford Quadricycle
1901 Oldsmobile Curved Dash
1899 Peugeot Steam Tricycle

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Which vehicle was the first to introduce a steering wheel as we know it today?
1905 Ford Model A
1894 Panhard Levassor 4 hp
Also known as a hand wheel or driving wheel, the first modern steering wheel was seen on a vehicle from a French manufacturer, the Panhard Levassor 4 hp. For the 1894 Paris-Rouen road race, someone at Panhard Levassor had the clever idea to remove the tiller from the vehicle and replace it with a steering wheel. And thank goodness they did!
1899 Columbia Electric Automobile
1900 Liberty-Brush Runabout

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It's always been good to know how fast you're traveling in a vehicle, even early in the 20th century! Which car was the first to use a speedometer?
1902 Cameron Runabout
1905 Ford Model A
1901 Oldsmobile Curved Dash
The Curved Dash Oldsmobile was released between 1901 and 1907. Over 19,000 Curved Dash Oldsmobiles were produced, and it was the first car to come equipped with a speedometer. Soon Cadillac and Overland models followed, and the speedometer became a factory fitted standard.
1900 Buffum Roadster

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Seeing behind you is a good thing when driving, but which vehicle was first to include a rear-view mirror?
1901 Cadillac Touring Car
1908 Franklin Model A Roadster
1907 Jewell Stanhope
1911 Marmon Wasp
The rear-view mirror was used for the first time at the 1911 Indy 500, the first ever held. Ray Harroun won the race without the traditional second crew member who would call out the cars behind. Instead, he used a mirror, which saved considerable weight!

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Always good to know when you are about to run out of fuel, right? From the list below, can you pick the first car to have a dash mounted fuel gauge?
1914 Studebaker
The 1914 Studebaker was the first car to use a dashboard-mounted gas gauge. Although simpler than what we know today, it was a far cry from earlier models, in which a dip stick was placed in the gas tank to tell the driver the gas level. Doesn't sound particularly safe at all! There were certainly few health and safety requirements in the old days!
1914 Chevrolet Light Six
1915 Fiat 70
1919 Peugeot Type 159

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Hybrids are all the rage now, but did you know they were first manufactured in the late 1800s? Which of these was the first?
1895 Ford Quadricycle
1899 Lohner-Porsche
The Lohner-Porsche was the first hybrid vehicle ever made. It ran on a combination of battery power and gasoline. Each front wheel had its own motor, run on battery power. These were charged up using onboard gasoline engines. This vehicle was made until 1905 and was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
1898 Scharbach Roadster
1892 Schloemer Motor Wagon

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One of the most powerful engines in the world is the Volkswagen W16, which has propelled cars at 250 mph. In which car was it first used?
Audi A4
Volkswagen Amarok
Bugatti Veyron
One of a handful of cars to hit 250 mph, the Veyron was introduced by Bugatti in 2005. It features an 8.0-liter W16 quad-turbo engine. It is also a little thirsty and gives gas mileage figures of around eight in city driving.
Ford GT

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From the list below, can you name the vehicle that was the first to break the 100-mph mark?
1905 Napier
Believe it or not, the first car to reach the 100-mph mark did so back in 1905, and the car to achieve it was a 1905 Napier. Driven by Arthur MacDonald, the vehicle reached just over 104 mph on a track at Ormond Beach in Florida.
1893 Duryea
1905 Indian Tri-Car
1897 Roberts Electric Stanhope

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Aluminum engine blocks are found in a range of modern vehicles, but the metal was first used almost 100 years ago in engines. Which car had the first aluminum engine block?
1922 Lancia Lambda
Built in Italy from 1922 to 1931, the Lancia Lambda was a pretty unique vehicle. It was the first car to have an aluminum engine block and four-wheel brakes. Around 13,000 were built.
1922 Citroën Type C 5HP
1923 Opel 10/30 (10/35) PS
1924 Peugeot Type 173

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Vehicles with 1,000 bhp engines have become somewhat the norm in the last few years. Which was the first car to achieve this feat, however?
Aston Martin DB9
Ferrari F50
SSC Ultimate Aero
The first car to officially break the 1,000 bhp barrier was the SSC Ultimate Aero in 2006. This hypercar is powered by a supercharged Chevrolet V8 that propels the Aero to around 256 mph. It was considered to be the fastest production car in the world from 2007 to 2010.
Porsche 911

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The first diesel engine car in Europe was designed in 1933. Which of these was it?
Citroën Rosalie
Although there were plans to put the Citroën Rosalie with a diesel engine into production as soon as it was developed in 1933, legislation prevented it until 1935. The engine was not designed by Citroën, but by English diesel pioneer Sir Harry Ricardo.
Zbrojovka Z 5 Express
Jawa 700
Steyr 220

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In 1964, which of these became the first car in the Western world to be powered by a Wankel engine?
Ford Thunderbird
NSU Spider
Manufactured by NSU Motorenwerke AG in Germany, the NSU Spider was in production for a period of four years, between 1964 and 1967. With a body designed by the Italian styling house Bertone, the Spider was a looker. But it also was the first car in the West to use a Wankel rotary engine. This was a 498-cc unit which produced 54 hp!
Aston Martin DB5
Chevrolet Corvette C1

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Although V8 engines existed before, which American car manufacturer was the first to mass produce cars with this powerplant?
Marmon
Cadillac
Cadillac started producing cars with V8 engines in 1914. These were 5.1-liter units, and in the first year of production alone, 13,000 vehicles with this powerplant were sold. The V8 became popular thanks to the fact that it offered more power, and the electric starter, invented in 1912, made the vehicle far easier to start.
Dureya Motor Company
Nash

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From these options, which vehicle was the first to be equipped with a trip computer?
Ford Fairlane
Saab GT750
Produced by Swedish car manufacturer Saab between 1958 and 1960, the GT750 was a version of the Saab 9-3, specifically marketed with the United States in mind. It included a number of performance upgrades and was the first car to include a trip computer. This mechanical analog system was dubbed the "Halda Speedpilot."
Porsche 911
Oldsmobile Cutlass

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Although they are part of modern vehicles nowadays, LED instrument panels were unheard of decades ago. What was the first car to make use of them?
Ford GT40
Lamborghini Countach
Ferrari F40
Aston Martin Lagonda
The Aston Martin Lagonda first rolled off the production line in 1976 and was produced until 1990 by the British performance car maker. 645 were made during this period. The Lagonda has the distinction of being the first production car to include an LED instrument panel. Interestingly, to develop this, Aston Martin paid four times what they had budgeted for the car alone! Sadly, it was not very reliable, and by the third series of the car, the instrument panel had moved from LED lights to cathode ray tubes. That proved problematic as well.

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Today we take GPS systems for granted. Two decades ago, they didn't exist. What was the first car to come with a GPS system in America?
1995 Oldsmobile 88
Oldsmobile was the first to introduce a modern GPS system on their vehicles in America — they did so in 1995. This wasn't standard but was an optional factory package that appeared on vehicles such as the Oldsmobile 88. Called "GuideStar," it only included maps for California at first. Las Vegas soon followed, and then other cities which could be loaded onto the system using a cartridge.
1995 Acura SLX
Fiat Barchetta
Suzuki X-90

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Do you know which of these was the first vehicle able to park itself?
2010 Nissan Leaf
2004 Toyota Prius
For some of us that hate parking, a self-parking car is a real blessing. The first car to offer this amazing extra was the 2004 Toyota Prius hybrid. This system was named "Intelligent Parking Assist" and could parallel park the car without any driver input!
2006 Ford Focus
2006 Nissan Almera

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Which vehicle was the first to offer a third headlight that swiveled?
1948 Tucker 48
The dream of Preston Tucker, the Tucker 48 only saw 51 units built. Why? Well, Tucker was indicted for fraud, although many say he was set up, as he was later acquitted of all charges. Sadly, it ruined Tucker, and his dream car never went into full-scale production. The Torpedo, as the Tucker 48 was called during development, was very modern for its time and included a third centered headlight that swiveled when the car was turning, plus a pop-out windshield for safety in a crash.
1954 Chevrolet Corvette
1957 Lotus Seven
1957 Vauxhall Victor

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From the options below, can you pick the first car to have brake lights?
1935 Alvis Firebird
1919 Phianna
Phianna was an American car company which in 1919 produced a vehicle with brake lights — the first to have such an innovation. Yes, something we take for granted now took decades to make it onto a car! Phianna models were expensive, and the company eventually closed in 1922 due to lack of sales.
1957 Moskvich 410
1943 Toyota AC

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Bzzzz! Today, we can't imagine how we ever lived with car windows that you had to wind up and down. When do you think the first electric windows were installed, and on what make and model car?
1938 Buick Y-Job
The Buick Y-Job was an interesting vehicle. Essentially a concept car, the Y-Job was designed by Harley Earl. Not only did it have power windows, but it also had hidden headlamps. Oddly, the original car was at some point restored at the Henry Ford Design Center, although it is now back in GM hands!
1955 Fuji Cabin
1956 Pegaso Z-103
1955 Peugeot 403

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Which vehicle maker was the first to offer air conditioning for their models?
Packard
Packard vehicles between 1939 and 1941 came with the option of air conditioning, installed by the Bishop and Babcock Company. The system wasn't a massive success, as it was clunky, took up a lot of trunk space and was expensive. Packard discontinued the option in 1941.
Bentley
Ferrari
Volkswagen

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Instead of focusing on changing the radio station, watch the road! Which car was first to offer radio controls on the steering wheel?
1984 Nissan 300ZX
Part of the famed Fairlady brand from Nissan, the 300ZX was an acclaimed sports car. It was sold between 1983 and 2001 and over two generations, the Z31 and Z32. The 300ZX 50th Anniversary Edition was the first vehicle to include stereo controls on the steering wheel, making finding your favorite station much easier.
1987 Eagle Medallion
1988 Škoda Favorit
1989 Bohse Eurostar

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Can you name the first American car, although not produced in great numbers, to feature a V8?
Ford Model T
Curved Dash Oldsmobile
Buffum Runabout
The first car to have a V8 engine in the United States was the 1905 Buffum Runabout. This engine produced up to 40 hp, which was pretty impressive at the time. Not many were manufactured, however, and it would take a few more years for V8s to become more mainstream, via Cadillac.
Austin 18/24

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A VCR player in a car? Yes, it really happened! Which make and model was the first to have this installed?
1999 Alfa Romeo 166
2000 Audi TT
1998 Oldsmobile Silhouette
A minivan, the Silhouette, was the first vehicle to offer a VCR system. Don't worry ... it wasn't anywhere near the driver to distract them. The system included a fold-down screen which could be viewed from the rear seats. The perfect gadget to keep the kids occupied on a long trip!
1997 Smart Fortwo

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Which manufacturer offered a Bluetooth capable music system for their 2000 models?
Chrysler
Chrysler decided to embrace Bluetooth technology back in 1999, for their 2000 model year. Their interface was — and still is — called UConnect. Surprisingly, some manufacturers today still categorize Bluetooth as an option, not a standard feature.
Saab
Ford
Citroën

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Brrr! Nothing like a heated seat to warm up a cold posterior! Can you name the car to first provide us with warm rear ends?
1965 Ford Mustang
2003 Jaguar XJ (X350)
1966 Cadillac Fleetwood
Well, it would have to be a luxury brand that offered heated seats, right? In 1966, the Cadillac Fleetwood came with both heated seats and backrests. And how did they work? Well, with the flick of a switch, a coil within the seat would get warm and provide some heat. If left on, it could get pretty hot! Even today, heated seats work in pretty much the same way.
1970 Pontiac GTO

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Are you able to tell us which of these cars was the first to offer four-wheel braking?
1910 Isotta Fraschini
Isotta Fraschini was formed in 1900 in Milan, Italy. Although four-wheel braking was invented in Scotland by Arrol-Johnston, it was the 1910 Isotta Fraschini model that first put them into production. Isotta Fraschini was also responsible for a number of other motoring firsts, including the first production vehicle to have an inline 8-cylinder engine.
1927 Pierce Arrow
1921 Duesenberg Model A
1907 Ford Model T

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Objects in your mirror may be closer than they seem. That's where a backup camera comes in useful. But which car had it first?
1990 Opel Monza
1991 Toyota Soarer
Although the 1956 Buick Centurion concept car had a backup camera, this never featured on the production car released a few years later. The first car to have this feature was the 1991 Toyota Soarer Limited, which was only marketed in Japan. The first car to come with such a device in the United States was another Japanese model, the 2002 Infiniti Q45.
1985 Volkswagen Golf II
1976 Datsun 120Y

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Seat belts save lives. That's for sure! The modern shoulder seat belt appeared on which car first?
1958 Moskvitch 410
1957 Mercury Colony Park
1959 Volvo PV444/544
With its two-door fast back styling, the PV44 was a product of Volvo from 1944 to 1966. It was specifically designed to be a smaller, more fuel efficient model than the larger cars around at the time. It was noted for its distinctive sloping back. It was also the first car to feature the shoulder seat belts we know today. Volvo never patented the design, allowing other manufacturers to copy it to help promote road safety!
1960 Fiat 500

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What car was the first to offer a modern air-conditioning system as we understand it today?
1953 Chrysler Imperial
Although Chrysler, like Packard, had tested the waters with air conditioning in the early 1940s, it was the 1953 Chrysler Imperial that would be considered the first model to use a relatively modern air-conditioning system, known as the Airtemp. It was much smaller and more reliable than Packard's earlier attempts.
1955 Saab 93
1957 Toyopet Master
1955 MG MGA

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Can you identify the first car that came with a CD player?
1987 Lincoln Town Car
Car entertainment systems jumped from radios to 8-track players, cassette players and then CD players in the space of around 30 years! Now that is progress. The first car to include a CD player was the 1987 model of Lincoln's Town Car. Just 30 more years later, CD players are being phased out for audio streaming.
1982 Opel Kadett
1989 Ginetta G32
1988 Plymouth Acclaim

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Power steering makes turning a car so much easier. But which vehicle had this useful system first?
1959 Mini
1951 Chrysler Imperial
If you have driven a car with power steering and then tried to drive an older vehicle without it, you realize what a luxury it is. The first car to have this as an optional extra was the 1951 Chrysler Imperial. The feature was called "HydraGlide."
1948 Volkswagen Beetle
1967 Porsche 911

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Which of these cars was the first to use an electronic parking brake?
2002 BMW E65/E66 (7 Series)
BMW has been a leader in innovating car systems for a number of years. In 2002, they introduced the electronic parking brake to one of their flagship brands, the 7 Series. Instead of pulling a lever to engage or disengage the brake, you simply press a button on the dashboard.
1989 Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo
1990 Daihatsu Applause
1995 Holden Nova

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In 1922, an Italian car manufacturer introduced a vehicle with the first ever V4 engine. Can you identify it?
Lancia Lambda
The Lancia Lambda is an Italian car that was produced between 1922 and 1931. Around 6,700 units were built. Not only did the Lambda have an aluminum cylinder block, but it was also the first car to make use of a V4 engine. The engine itself went through a number of refinements over the years, and around 11,000 were built.
Lamborghini 350 GT
Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta
Maserati Tipo 26

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