There's something to be said for that whole retro-cool feeling you get when you check out something from back in the day that stirs up all those nostalgic feelings. Whether you were around in that time period yourself or just feel a strong connection to it, retro just has a cool factor to it. That's why so much in style and fashion is cyclical. We get tired of something and then a new generation brings it back because it has charm and appeal that maybe some of us forgot about or got too accustomed to.
Now when it comes to clothes or home decorating, retro has its place; but when it comes to cars you're on a whole different level. Retro cars never really stop being cool. if anything, they get cooler just by being retro, just look at the original Mustang or the Corvette. The scarcity of them is part of it, but there's also something about the old-school design aesthetic that we've not managed to reproduce in the modern era, even with retro-inspired stuff.
Any car fan worth their motor oil has to know some of the coolest retro cars, so why not show off your stuff by taking a drive down memory lane in this quiz?
"Smokey and the Bandit" featured a '77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, a car that defined the sports-styling of the late '70s and early '80s. Thanks to its appearance in several movies, especially "Smokey and The Bandit," and as a pace car in the Indy 500, it's been linked ever since with fast times and adventure.
This may be the most recognizable sports car in American history. What is it?
Plymouth Road Runner
In 1953 Chevrolet produced the first Corvette (shown here rolling off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan, on June 30, 1953) and set a standard for years to come. The Corvette has been produced for more than 60 years and is coming up on its eighth design generation. It's arguably the most popular sports car in history.
Which of these vehicles was famous for being not quite a pickup truck and not quite a car?
Chevy El Camino
While some people hated Chevy's El Camino, it certainly inspired a lot of retro-designs later on as well. The El Camino has been around since 1959, and even in modern times, vehicles like the Hyundai Santa Cruz bear signs of inspiration from it.
Which of these was the first mass-produced American automobile?
Ford Model T
You don't get much more retro than Ford's Model T. Introduced in 1908, this was the car in many people's minds for years. Not "a" car but "the" car. Over 16 million of these were sold at a time when almost no other affordable competition had been conceived of.
John Wick drove this car at the beginning of his first movie. Do you recognize it?
Boss 429 Mustang
John Wick's 1969 Boss 429 Mustang is the car that started all the trouble for him in the movie and is one of Ford's most memorable Mustang models. The retro design of these classic Mustangs has been resurrected by Ford, and there's even a Classic Recreations 429 licensed by Ford.
Which of these cars has been in production since 1963?
Few cars have reached the status of Porsche's 911, in production across six decades and barely changing its design at all in that time. The 911 has been used as a rally car, as a race car and of course just a production car for people who want to look sleek.
This car was a direct response to Chevy's Corvette. What was it?
The Ford Thunderbird, better known as a T-Bird, was produced from 1954 all the way to 2005. The T-Bird evolved into a personal luxury car in 1958 when Ford added a backseat to the design, effectively creating a new market segment.
Do you know which one of these is closely associated with hippies?
VW Type 2
The VW Type 2 is known more often by the unofficial name of "VW Bus." Few vehicles exemplify not just the 1960s but, in particular, the hippie movement of the 1960s and early 1970s quite as well as this vehicle.
Do you know which of these was designed to compete with Ford's Mustang a year after it came out?
Since 1966, over 5 million Camaros have been sold, making it one of the most popular pony cars/muscle cars ever made. The modern Camaro got a huge profile boost when the writers upgraded Bumblebee from the "Transformers" movies from a VW Bug to a Camaro.
Which of these traveled to the past in "Back to the Future?"
The DeLorean DMC was only produced for three years in the early 1980s and now stands as an icon of a weird sort of retro-future cool design. It looked like the future in 1980 and now it looks like the future as seen from the past. Less than 7,000 DeLoreans still exist.
This pony car was produced as a rival to the Ford Mustang and others like it. What is it?
Introduced in 1966 and then redesigned for 1968, the Charger is one of the most recognizable cars of the era, thanks to its constant use in pop culture. From the movie "Bullitt" to "Deathproof" to "The Fast and the Furious" and, of course, "The Dukes of Hazzard," the Charger has been around.
Which of these is one of the most iconic muscle cars of the '70s?
The Chevrolet Chevelle SS was Chevy's foray into the world of muscle cars alongside others like the Plymouth Barracuda, the Pontiac Firebird and the Oldsmobile 442. SS stands for SuperSport, incidentally.
Do you know this roadster that was manufactured from 1966 to 1994?
Alfa Romeo Spider
Maybe because it was featured in the movie "The Graduate," the first generation Alfa Romeo Spider has stood out as one of those retro cool looks that people can't forget. It still instantly screams the 1960s when you look at one.
Which of these essentially created the "personal luxury car" segment?
Starting back in 1939, the Lincoln Continental created the luxury car movement by emphasizing comfort and style over performance. They were even used as presidential state cars by the Secret Service from 1961 to 1977.
Do you know which of these was released as an off-road vehicle in 1965?
Ford's Bronco was an early entrant into the SUV market back before anyone really called them SUVs. Proving that everything old is new again, even though Ford discontinued the Bronco line in 1996, 2020 is going to see them resurrected.
When this hardtop car appeared, it was one of the first to successfully market itself as a "convertible" with a non-detachable solid roof. What was it?
Chevrolet Bel Air
The Chevy Bel Air is one of those cars that just says the 1950s, and its aesthetic is inextricably linked to that era. With its high-powered V8 and distinctive '50s styling, it's a car you can't forget.
Some people called these cars land yachts. What is it?
Cadilac Coupe DeVille
There's a reason they call something luxurious the Cadillac of whatever field is being discussed. Cadillac is synonymous with top of the line, and the Cadillac Coupe DeVille was not just luxurious it was enormous. At over 20 feet long, you couldn't fail to notice one of these in the '70s.
The Porsche 550 was made from 1953 to 1956 and only 90 were manufactured, making it an incredibly rare car. Fortunately, its design has inspired numerous retro tributes over the years, including the Banham Spyder kit car and French automaker's retro P550 that was obviously a clear tribute to Porsche.
Which of these cars was known for its angular "folded paper" design?
Bugatti Type 35
The Lotus Esprit was very indicative of a certain blocky sort of style that became closely associated with a '70s aesthetic that remains popular today. Also, for a fun twist, there was an "aquatic" version of the car, made for the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me"!
Which of these classic '50s cars was a huge favorite among stock car racers?
The Hudson Hornet had the same aesthetic as a lot of cars in the early '50s, but some key differences made it stand out. Notable was the lowered chassis, which gave the car a lower center of gravity for improved handling when racing.
Which of these cars was made famous by James Bond?
Aston Martin DB5
The classic sophistication of the Aston Martin DB5 is what made it such a cool car for James Bond to drive in the movie "Goldfinger." He also drove one in "GoldenEye" and "Tomorrow Never Dies." "Casino Royale" also included a DB5. The DB5 shown here appeared in "Skyfall."
Do you remember which of these cars was involved in numerous lawsuits?
The Ford Pinto is arguably the most memorable of the 1970s compact cars which included the Gremlin and the Vega. Though never a beauty contest winner, it was affordable and efficient. That was until it became embroiled in some serious controversy surrounding its safety concerns that resulted in deaths after rear-end collisions.
Do you know which of these featured an exotic design that started an "Italian Wedge" trend?
In 1974, Lamborghini released the Countach which is an easily recognizable design now, but back in the day it was something sleek, bold and very new with a cab-forward design to allow for a rear-mounted engine. Many modern sports cars still follow this design standard
Which of these came out in 1964 with a massive V12 engine?
The Ferrari 275 was a beastly automobile designed for racing. The vehicle has made numerous lists ranking not just top Ferraris but top cars of the '60s, and in 1967, Road and Track called it the most satisfying sports car in the world.
Ronald Reagan used to own one of these cars. What is it?
The name BRAT is actually an acronym for "Bi-drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter" which is a bit of a mouthful. President Ronald Reagan owned a 1978 model until 1998. It's still at his old ranch in California.
Do you know which of these cars is closely associated with British culture of the '60s?
The Mini, also called the Mini Cooper and the Austin Mini depending on the year it was made or whether it was a rally car or not, is one of the smallest cars ever produced. It started production in 1959 and the marque has been used by numerous manufacturers. BMW currently makes the Mini.
Do you know which of these cars was driven by Roger Moore in "The Saint?"
The Volvo P1800 was a sports car produced from 1961 to 1973 back when Volvo was heavy into competing in that market. The company resurrected some of the style elements years later in the 2006 Volvo C30.
This car first appeared in 1957. Do you know what it is?
If you need any evidence of how appealing the retro look of the 1957 Fiat 500 was, look no further than the 2007 Fiat 500. Sometimes called the New New Fiat 500, the company brought back the design for a 50th-anniversary edition that went with old-school styling.
After WWII, this redesign was billed as being stronger and sleeker than older models. Do you know it?
VW Type 2
Chevy's Advance-Design trucks were rolled out in 1947 and the same basic design was used for panel trucks, Suburbans, canopy express and cab overs. In the early 2000s, Chevy took a page from its own book and released the retro Advance-Design-inspired Chevrolet SSR.
This vehicle is still prized for its teardrop design. What is it?
Talbot-Lago T150 CSS
Talbot-Lago was a French auto manufacturer that produced some of the sleekest looking cars of the '30s and '40s. They're hugely popular today among serious car buyers, and by serious we mean one sold at auction in 2010 for $4.6 million.
Do you know which of these classic cars had an aluminum body on an ash wood frame?
In 1948, cars like the Jaguar XK120 were handbuilt from ash wood and aluminum. By 1950, Jaguar had switched to steel frames which makes these models exceptionally rare on the market and highly prized if you can still find them.
This car debuted at the '84 Paris Auto Show. Do you know it?
The Ferrari Testarossa is emblematic of the luxury style of the '80s. Built not just for style but performance, the Testarossa came with a flat-12 engine and hit a top speed of nearly 200 miles per hour.
Do you know which of these cars won at LeMans from 1966 to 1969?
Ford's GT40 was built to be a Ferrari-killer and stop Ferrari's reign as the winner of the race at LeMans, which it did. How influential is the retro design? Ford currently produces the GT, shown here, modeled after its '60s racer.
Most people know what a Hemi engine is thanks to this car. What is it?
The iconic Hemi 'Cuda set a standard for muscle cars that's still seen on the road today. Though the car first appeared in the '60s, it was the 1970 model that gave you the option of a 426 or 440 cu in Hemi engine that blew the competition away.
Which of these cars was nearly twice as expensive as comparable models that came out in 1953?
The Buick Skylark was all about luxury with its fancy carpeting and Selectronic AM radio, which was a big deal in 1953 even if it wouldn't sell many cars today. Along with a Nailhead V8, it had the look and performance that's still impressive even today.
This car was originally supposed to be designed by Lamborghini but it backed out of the deal. Do you know it?
The BMW M1 was the first BMW in its iconic M series of cars. Though many of them were produced in later runs, the M1 is pretty rare and less than 500 were ever made. Like the Lotus Esprit, it uses that same angular design that really stood out in the late '70s.
This old-school monster had a straight-8 engine and was introduced at the Paris auto show. What is it?
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
Aston Martin DB2
The Mercedes-Benz 540k was produced from 1936 to 1940 and was available as a cabriolet or a coupe. It had that sleek '30s style that was clearly the inspiration for Gatsby Coachworks' retro designs in the 1980s.
Which of these cars clearly influenced the design of the Plymouth Prowler?
Bugatti Type 57 C
Bugatti had numerous designs for the 57 between 1934 and 1940, but the 57C racing car had a completely different frame and design that can be seen in the more modern retro-cool Plymouth Prowler. Less than 100 57Cs were ever produced.