How Much Do You Know About American Performance Cars?

Steven Symes

Image: That Racing Channel

About This Quiz

Can you identify the difference between a Corvette and a Viper? Do you know what makes the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon special? Not everyone values American performance, but you might be one of those people who do. 

While Europeans think they own the world of automotive performance, they fail to realize that Americans have been pushing the envelope for decades. After all, this is the land of muscle cars, not to mention some impressive sports cars and even a few roadsters. We love big, snarling V-8s that can pound the pavement like nothing else, as well as a road-hugging chassis. Whether on the road or track, American performance is alive and well. 

The heritage of American performance cars runs deep. After all, Ford, GM, Chrysler, and others have been producing cars that are made to accelerate faster, hit blistering top speeds, and overall thrill you as the driver in every way possible. Plenty of them are good-looking, too. 

Just how much of a student are you of American performance cars? Test your knowledge now with this quiz. 

When did the Pontiac Firebird debut?

Sharing a platform with the Chevy Camaro, the Firebird debuted right as the muscle car market was heating up. It was created to compete against the Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar. The car survived through four generations, but ultimately reached the end of the road in 2002.

To what car did the Ford GT hearken back?

The Ford GT40s were legendary race cars that racked up some impressive victories in the 1960s. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ford, the automaker released the GT, a mid-engine two-seater with plenty of styling that hearkened back to the old racers.

The Dodge Stealth was a rebadged version of what car?

Chrysler and Mitsubishi had a long-standing arrangement where the two would share technologies, and even rebrand each others' cars for resale. As a result, many Mopar fans had serious disdain for the Stealth, viewing it as disrespectful of true American performance cars.

What was the original Super Snake?

Road & Track called this car "The Cobra to End All Cobras" thanks to its massive power. Carroll Shelby had stuffed a 427 with a twin Paxton supercharger into the car, so it packed 800 horsepower. Even by today's standards, that's impressive. The term, "Super Snake" has been used many times since, but not on such a vehicle.

How many generations of the Javelin did AMC make?

The first generation of the Javelin launched in 1968, when the American muscle car market was first really heating up. That generation ran until 1970. The second generation was also short-lived, going from 1971 to 1974. AMC made a whole range of Javelin models that offered various levels of performance.

How quickly does the Jeep Trackhawk do 0 to 60 mph?

To make the Trackhawk, Jeep took the Hellcat V-8 and dropped it in a Grand Cherokee. Modifications, such as a lower ride height, help accommodate hard acceleration. In fact, the SUV makes it to 60 mph faster than many performance cars.

What kind of engine does the 2018 Cadillac ATS-V pack?

Cadillac has proven that there is a replacement for displacement: advanced engineering. The twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 pushes 464 horsepower and 445 lb.-ft. of torque, allowing the car to charge from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.

What is the claimed top speed of the Hennessey Venom GT?

Hennessey Performance made the Venom GT with one goal: to create the fastest road car in the world. With that in mind, the company designed the vehicle to be lightweight, produce little drag, and throttle out an impressive amount of power. To have such a vehicle, you need plenty of money. The base price is $1.6 million.

With what car does the 2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 share its engine?

To make the mightiest Camaro ever, Chevy borrowed its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine from the Corvette ZO6, making it especially potent for track driving. Car and Driver found it rockets the car from 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds and does the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds.

What years was the Saturn Ion Redline made?

A performance vehicle from GM that's been pretty much forgotten, the Ion Redline made a bold statement from a brand usually associated with sensible vehicles. It used the same powertrain found in the Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged Edition, and received more praise and attention from enthusiasts.

When did the Dodge Viper first hit the market?

The first production Vipers hit the market for the 1992 model year, after two pre-production versions were used in 1991 to pace the Indianapolis 500. Most impressive about the car was its engine, which was created with the help of Lamborghini.

You could get the SVT Mustang Cobra R in just one color. What was it?

Technically, the color used was called Performance Red Clearcoat. Only 300 SVT Mustang Cobra Rs were made for the 2000 model year. At the time, it was the most capable and fastest factory Mustang ever produced, thanks in part to the 5.4-liter V-8 that pumped out 385 horsepower.

How heavy is the Tesla Model S P100D?

Tipping the scale at 4,941 pounds, before anyone gets in the thing, the Tesla Model S P100D isn't exactly a lightweight. Still, the car boasts a claimed 792 lb.-ft. of torque and the ability to hit 60 mph before plenty of supercars, and it can go over 300 miles on a single charge ​if driven conservatively.

What's unique about the engine in the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350?

If you're ever fortunate enough to hear the 5.2-liter V-8 in this car rev in person, you know why this version of the Mustang stands out from the rest. The layout that's typically used in Ferraris and other exotics gives this track-ready car a truly unique quality that will turn heads.

What is the main purpose of the COPO Camaro?

The COPO Camaro has been designed specifically for NHRA drag races, so you can take it to the track and go toe-to-toe with some of the best out there. The 2018 model year has something extra special: a Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition of the car.

What is the name of the Callaway shooting brake package for the C7 Corvette?

After plenty of speculation, Callaway finally released a sportbrake kit for the C7 Corvette Stingray, Grand Sport, and ZO6 coupes. It directly replaces the OEM rear hatch assembly, giving the car a more European flavor.

How much horsepower does the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon boast?

The Demon is a truly unique vehicle, considering it packs more power than any production car made before it. It also produces more g-force, is quicker in 0-60 acceleration, does the quarter mile faster than any other production car, and is the only one to perform a wheelie.

The more modern Pontiac GTO was actually a rebadged car from what brand?

The original GTO was produced from 1964 to 1974 and had become an automotive legend. When the nameplate returned in 2004, it was actually a Holden Monaro, which is a performance car from Australia. Many people don't suspect much of that final iteration of the GTO, thanks to tame looks, even though it was outfitted with either a 350- or 400-horsepower V-8.

From where did the Dodge Ram SRT-10 get its engine?

Dodge dropped the 8.3-liter V-10 from the Viper into the Ram SRT-10, meaning the truck packed a serious punch with about 500 horsepower. The truck was also lowered, plus it featured a hood scoop and racing stripes to set it aside from the rest of the lineup.

Which brand made the S7 supercar?

Saleen wowed the world with the S7, which debuted in 2000 and was made until 2006. It was the first mid-engine supercar to hail from America, proving that those types of vehicles aren't reserved just for Europe and Honda.

What was the last production year of the Plymouth Road Runner?

The Road Runner, like other old American muscle cars, got its start in 1968. The car was marketed as a more affordable option for people who had a need for speed. The third generation launched in 1975 and featured an exterior design that was strikingly similar to the Fury.

What vehicle was the Ford Lightning based off of?

While it's been largely forgotten, the first generation of the Ford Lightning launched in 1993. The one everyone remembers came out in 1999 and featured a body kit that really made the truck stand out, signaling it was no regular F-150 but instead a high-powered street truck.

What was the styling inspiration for the Chevy SSR?

Chevy designers really used the old pickups to get the overall feel of the SSR down, especially evidenced in the headlights and grille. Many people still don't know what to call the vehicle, considering it's part truck, sports car, and roadster. Chevy outfitted it with either an LM4 or LS2 V-8 engine.

What engine did the first-gen Chrysler 300 SRT-8 use?

To really spice up the new 300 sedan, Chrysler made the decision to drop a 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 in it, versus the 5.7-liter Hemi used in the 300C. It packed an impressive 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, making the sedan really come to life.

When was the first Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 made?

Even though everyone automatically thinks of the ZR1 that debuted in 1990, Chevrolet first offered the ZR1 special engine package for the 1970 Corvette. It outfitted the car with engine and suspension upgrades. Buyers could get the car with power steering, power windows, air conditioning, or a rear window defogger.

Which of the following items did the 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 not feature?

The legend of the 1967 Shelby GT500 has lasted decades. The car was even given a name and a starring role in "Gone in 60 Seconds," and fetches big prices at auctions, plus really turns heads at any car meet.

Where did the Chevy SS Sedan come from?

GM made the decision to import the legendary Holden Commodore, rebadging it as the Chevy SS Sedan. While the car packed a fire-breathing V-8, its mundane looks and lack of marketing doomed it to mediocre sales.

How quickly does Tesla claim the second-generation Roadster can do 0-60 mph?

Tesla claims the new Roadster is the quickest car in the world, although it's not officially on sale yet. The American car supposedly can hit over 250 mph and go 620 miles on a single charge, making it highly advanced for electric vehicles.

What was the peak horsepower output for the second-generation Eagle Talon TSi with a manual transmission?

Many people know this was the same car as the Mitsubishi Eclipse, but most have no idea it was made in America. The TSi models could come with front- or all-wheel drive, predating when most cars were available with the combination of turbocharging and all-wheel drive.

The Cadillac XLR shared its platform with what performance car?

From 2003 to 2009, Cadillac made the XLR, which rolled off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was the flagship of the brand at the time, but critics weren't impressed with what they described as unrefined characteristics of the vehicle. Sales were disappointing, falling well short of GM's projections.

The Buick Regal GNX came in only one color. What was it?

Buick really wanted the Regal GNX to look sinister, because even the wheels were black. Supposedly, the turbocharged V-6 engine was rated at 245 horsepower and 355 lb.-ft. of torque, but many owners claim those figures were grossly low. With some simple modifications, owners have been able to squeeze amazing power levels out of the car.

Even though Dodge refused to refer to the car as such, what was the SRT-4?

To create the SRT-4, Dodge turbocharged the Neon and gave it a ram-air hood. It was made from 2003 to 2005, with the 2.4-liter engine putting out 230 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque in its most potent form, which was included in the 2004 and 2005 models.

The GMC Syclone was the high-performance version of what vehicle?

GMC made the Syclone for only one year: 1991. At the time, it was the quickest production pickup truck. Under the hood was a turbocharged 4.3-liter V-6 engine, which was rated at 280 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.

With what car did the Chrysler Crossfire share many of its parts?

Chrysler created the Crossfire back when the company was tied to Daimler, which is why it shared a vast majority of components with a Mercedes-Benz model. It also wasn't built by Chrysler, but instead was built in Germany by Karmann.

Which British automaker did Carrol Shelby convince to build the body of the original Cobra?

To make the big American V-8 engine fit, AC Cars had to modify its Ace roadster, which originally used a Bristol straight-six engine. The combination of raucous American power and a lightweight body was a car that scared many people, and the creation of a performance legend.

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