Can You Name the Most Popular Cars of All Time?

AUTO

By: Ian Fortey

7 Min Quiz

Image: Jörgens.mi via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

Someone once said that popularity was not a guarantee of quality, and that may be true of some things but not all things. When it comes to cars, popularity is born from form, function and sometimes even something as simple as price. The best-looking cars, the best handing cars, the best-priced cars can all rise to the top and become people's all-time favorites. That, in turn, can have a considerable influence on the market, sometimes for generations to come. The Model T got to where it was by being first to the table. The Corolla got to be popular because it was affordable and reliable. The McLaren F1 is popular because it was faster than lightning. The DeLorean was popular because it traveled back in time. 

With so many different ways to make a car popular, it's going to take some serious knowledge to be able to name them all. This isn't just about super fast sports cars,  or the most over-the-top luxury cars,  all-time top sellers or the most media-friendly. Each one has its own story, and each one captured the hearts and minds of the driving public at some point in history. Now, let's see how many of them you can identify. Buckle up!

Over 20 million of which of these cars were sold between 1938 and 2003?

The VW Beetle, officially known as the Volkswagen Type 1, is one of the most popular cars in automotive history. Between 21 and 23 million were sold, depending on where you look up the numbers. Though the car first appeared in 1938, World War II limited availability for civilians until sometime in the '40s.

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Which of these is arguably the most popular sports car in history?

Chevy's Corvette has been in production for over 60 years. The first-ever Corvette, named for a kind of warship, was a convertible model that went on sale in 1953. In that first year, they produced 300 of them, all hand-built and available only with a polo-white paint job.

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Which of these cars is also known as the Rabbit?

The Volkswagen Golf was first marketed in North America as the Rabbit when it was introduced in 1974, ostensibly because Golf was not that popular a sport in North America in the 1970s, but a rabbit evoked images of small, swift things.

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Only about 8,500 of these cars were ever made, but it's also one of the most recognizable ever. What is it?

The DMC DeLorean likely would have been a forgotten relic of history if not for "Back to the Future." In the original screenplay, the time machine was actually a refrigerator. One of the producers thought a car would be better. John DeLorean was on trial for drug possession at the time, so the car was in the news. The rest is history.

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These vehicles are worth $41 billion annually. What is it?

Ford's F-Series has been in production since 1948. They've been the best-selling trucks in America since 1977 and the best-selling vehicles since 1986. Over 1 million of the F-series were sold last year alone.

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The pony class of automobiles was created by which of these cars?

The Ford Mustang was made for the 1964 production year. Designed by Lee Iacocca, the idea behind the Mustang was to create a sporty car that would appeal to women. Within two years of its introduction, Ford had sold over 1 million units.

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Nearly 4 million of these were sold from 1959 to 2005. Do you know it?

Arguably the most famous Cadillac model of all, the DeVille began its life as a trim-level before graduating to its own model. In 1959, when it became its own model, they sold 53,000 units in that first year alone, accounting for 37% of all Cadillacs sold.

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No one is actually sure where the name of which of these famous cars came from?

The Chevy Camaro has been in production since 1967 when it debuted to compete with the Mustang. The name of the car was said to have been found in a French/English dictionary by the vice president of GM and the head of merchandising. They said the word meant "friend" or "comrade," but it's not a French word, and it's not known where they found it.

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Introduced in 1966, which of these was the best-selling car in the world by 1974?

Over 43 million Corollas have been sold by Toyota since 1966, an impressive number by any stretch of the imagination. The 40 millionth was sold in 2013, and they're not even sure who bought it or even what country it was sold in because no one was keeping track.

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Which of these cars had an engine that was more popular than the car itself?

The Plymouth Barracuda may be the most famous car of which most people don't know the actual name. It has gone down in history, not as the Plymouth Barracuda, but as the Hemi 'Cuda, named in honor of the big block V8 Hemi engine for which it was famous.

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James Bond made this car world famous. What was it?

The Aston Martin DB5 is known as James Bond's go-to car and has been so since the movie, "Goldfinger," in 1964. Currently, the company is up to the Aston Martin DB11 which has been in production since the 2017 model year, but Bond still opts for DB5s.

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Which luxury sedan debuted in 1981?

The Lincoln Town Car had only been around since 1981, but during that time, it came to be synonymous with quality and luxury in much the way Cadillac was. Production ended in 2011 after over 2 million of them were sold.

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This was the first of the Big 4 muscle cars in the '60s. What was it?

The Pontiac GTO appeared in 1964 and kicked off the muscle car trend that lasted for a solid decade or so. It was Motor Trend's Car of the Year in 1968 and was designed, in part, by John DeLorean.

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1983 was the last year that fewer than 250,000 of these were sold in the US. What is it?

The Honda Accord has been manufactured since 1976, and it quickly became one of their most popular models. Though it's a Japanese car, the Accord was the first model the company had assembled in the U.S, and it has been one of the best-selling models in the U.S. since 1989.

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1975 was the year which of these cars went into production?

BMW's 3-series is currently in its 7th generation as of 2019. Over 14 million of them have been sold in their history, making it BMW's most successful model. Car and Driver magazine has added it to its 10 Best list 22 times.

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No other electric car has a range as high as which of these?

The Tesla Model S is the company's best-selling model and also arguably the best electric car on the market. With a range of 373 miles on a single charge, it far exceeds the competition, such as the Volkswagen e-Golf which only has a range of 125 miles.

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About 860,000 of these were sold between 1970 and 1977. What is it?

The AMC Hornet was the most popular car AMC ever produced, getting up to near 1 million units before the line was discontinued. AMC was the most popular company outside of the Big — Ford, GM, and Chrysler — back in the day. They famously also produced the Pacer and the Gremlin.

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Every week, audiences watched "The Dukes of Hazzard" destroy one of these cars. What was it?

"The Dukes of Hazzard" made the Dodge Charger world famous and convinced a generation that if you want to have fun in a somewhat reckless way, you need to get behind the wheel of a Charger. The show apparently went through hundreds of them during its run.

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Over 1 million of these sports cars have been made. What is it?

Porsche has been making the 911 since 1963, and it has proven itself on racetracks around the world. It has made great showings at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Championship for Makes title in four separate years.

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What was the most popular car produced by Oldsmobile?

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was manufactured from 1966 until 1997, and it was not only the most popular car in the Olds lineup, it was the most popular car in its class. They sold nearly 12 million across its production run.

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This model has been retired and brought back three times. Do you know it?

Chevy's Impala has been a staple of the carmaker's lineup since 1958 and has sold over 13 million units, though modern sales have slumped compared to its heyday. When it debuted in 1958, it was a top of the line version of the Chevy Bel Air.

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Do you know this car that was introduced to merge sports and luxury cars into one?

The Pontiac Grand Am was a response to European automakers that made sports cars with luxury features. It was designed to be a merging of the sportiness of the Trans Am and the luxury features of the Grand Prix.

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The hippie movement made which of these vehicles famous?

The VW Type 2 is better known as the VW bus or the VW Mini Bus. In some circles, it's just a Hippie Bus. The hippie movement of the late '60s made these vehicles famous. They were renowned for their fuel efficiency, reliability and reasonable price.

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This car has been voted the second most influential car ever made. What is it?

When the Mini was first introduced in 1959, it was being sold under more than one name in a strange twist of branding. You could buy it as the Austin Seven or the Morris Mini Minor. By 1962, Austin changed it to the Austin Mini.

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Stephen King's "Christine" was about which of these cars?

From 1955 to 1989, Plymouth manufactured the Fury, but the car likely never achieved any greater fame than it did in the movie based on Stephen King's book, "Christine." When the Fury was introduced, it was a subseries of the Belvedere until 1959. The Fury in the movie was actually a '58 model, making it a Belvedere and not a true Fury.

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What was the most popular Buick model ever?

Buick manufactured the LeSabre from 1959 until 2005 and in that time, they produced over 6 million units. It was the best-selling full-sized car in America when they discontinued it and replaced it with the Lucerne.

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Do you know what the best-selling hybrid electric car in the world is?

Since 1997, over 4 million units of the Toyota Prius have been sold. If you include the Prius v hatchback and the Prius c subcompact, there have been over 6 million sold, which accounts for over half of all the hybrid sales in the world.

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Which model made it into Car and Driver's 10 Best list five times?

The RX-7 was made from 1978 until 2002, and over 800,000 units were sold during that time frame. The RX-7 and its rotary engine was a favorite of the race circuit back in the day and placed first and second at 24 Hours of Daytona the first year it entered the race in 1979

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Which of these tiny cars is sold in 46 countries?

Marketed since 1998 the Smart fortwo has sold over 1.5 million units around the world. The name "Smart" has a second meaning, which is "Swatch Mercedes ART," in reference the two companies behind the car, Mercedes and Swatch, the watchmaker.

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This was Lamborghini's best-selling model. Do you know what it's called?

The Lamborghini Gallardo was manufactured for a decade between 2003 and 2013. Over 14,000 units were sold in that period and, like everything Lamborghini does, the name comes from a breed of Spanish fighting bulls.

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Do you know this car which is generally credited with kicking off the North American auto industry?

Ford's Model T is an icon in the industry, the first mass-produced car that everyday people could afford to buy. Dating back to 1908 and in production until 1927, if you want one today, you can find plenty of the to buy online for as little as $20,000.

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Nearly 9 million of which of these economy cars were sold from 1948 until 1990?

The Citroen 2CV stood for "deux chevaux" which essentially means "two horses" or "tow steam horses." It was designed to help French farmers still using horses to get behind the wheel of something with a motor.

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Which of these cars set a speed record in 1998?

The McLaren F1 was clocked at 240.1 miles per hour, giving it a place in the Guinness Book of Word Records for being the world's fastest production car at the time. It was called the "finest driving machine yet built" by Autocar magazine.

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Do you know which of these vehicles had been the company's highest trim level at one time and lowest at another?

From 1949 to 1959, the Dodge Coronet was the top of the line from the company, but when it was reintroduced in 1965 through 1976, it was at the bottom of the ladder. Over 2 million were sold in its lifetime.

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The best-selling all-electric car of all time is which of these?

Despite Tesla's popularity in the media, they don't produce the most popular electric car in the world just yet. That honor goes to the Nissan Leaf which has sold over 375,000 units so far, putting it well ahead of Tesla's 250,000 or so.

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Do you know what Subaru's best-selling model is?

Subaru introduced the mid-size Legacy in 1989. In 2005, they celebrated their 3 millionth sale, indicating that this particular model was hands down their most popular. In Australia, it has sold as the Liberty out of respect for an organization called Legacy that cares for the families of veterans.

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This car has sold over 15 million units since 1973. What is it?

Volkswagen has produced the Passat for eight generations. Depending on the time and place, it has also been made available on the market as the Carat, the Corsar, the Quantum, the Santana, the Magotan and the Dasher.

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The Fiat 124 was the base for which of these cars?

Lada has been making cars in Russia since 1963. The Riva was its best-selling model, and though it was mostly discontinued in 1997 when European exports ended, it remained in production in Russia through 2012 and in Egypt until 2015. In total, over 13,500,000 were produced, making it the fourth best-selling car in history after the Model T, the Corolla and the VW Beetle.

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Do you know which of these is Honda's most popular model?

In 2018 alone, Honda sold over 812,000 Civics worldwide and has sold around 20 million over the car's history. It was first introduced in 1972 as a subcompact car but has gone through considerable changes in its lifetime. Part of its popularity stems from the ease with which it can be modified and customized for something like street racing.

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This car was introduced to North America in 1981 after selling in Europe since 1968. What is it?

The Ford Escort isn't actually in production anymore, but the company sold millions from its European introduction in 1968 until they ended the nameplate in 2004. It was the best-selling car in Britain several times throughout the '80s and '90s.

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