The car industry in America has been a massive force for over a century, so it's easy to forget that they weren't the innovators in auto manufacturing. Some European companies date all the way back to Napoléon's empire, even if they weren't making cars the entire time. Others have truly innovated both design and technology in the industry. Who can forget the VW Bug or the Mini — two of the most popular tiny cars in history — or the exquisite performance of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini? What about the unparalleled luxury of a Bentley or a Rolls Royce? It's safe to say Europe has more than proven itself in pretty much every segment of automaking, and they've kept up the tradition for a very long time.
As a car buff, you're probably pretty familiar with some of those big gun European automakers, but can you identify more of them? Do you know a Citroen from a Peugeot? A Bugatti from a Bentley? A Land Rover from a Rolls Royce? Let's hope so! Take a look at some of the most famous logos in European automaking and see how many you can identify and just how fast you can do it.
Which of these companies made the world's first mass-produced front-wheel-drive car?
Citroen was founded by André-Gustave Citroën, a French industrialist. He founded his company in 1919 and by 1930, it was the world's fourth-largest auto manufacturer. In 1925, he used the Eiffel Tower as a billboard for the company.
Land Rover is most famous for its Range Rover and has been producing four-wheel-drive vehicles since 1948. The original cars were just called Land Rovers, but that became the company name after they started producing the Range Rover in 1970.
Founded in 1966, Dacia is the largest company in Romania and makes up 8% of the entire country's exports as well. They currently offer a range of cars and SUVs — like the Dokker, the Lodgy and the Duster — throughout Europe and parts of Africa.
This luxury carmaker was founded in 1906. Do you know what it is?
Rolls Royce has a very curious history if you follow it back. Currently, the name is a subsidiary of BMW that was established in 1998. It's not actually related to Rolls Royce from before 1998 since that falls under the realm of Bentley.
This company's slogan is "The best or nothing." What is it?
Mercedes-Benz has the honor of creating what is considered the very first production automobile in history. The Benz Patent-Motorwagon was manufactured in 1885 and cost 600 Imperial German marks to buy. Word is that would be just over $4,000 US today. It's not a bad price for a new car.
Stuttgart's coat of arms is included in which company's logo?
The classic Porsche logo is actually a melding of two pre-existing coats of arms. The first is from the city of Stuttgart, the horse on the field of yellow, as the company is based in the city. The second is for the Wurttemberg coat of arms featuring the antlers and the alternating red and black stripes.
Three French brothers founded which of these companies?
Renault dates back to 1899 when it was founded as the "Société Renault Frères" or the Renault Brothers Society. Louis Renault is considered the main founder alongside his two brothers, Marcel and Fernand. The company's original logo was a stylized version of the brothers' initials. They began using the diamond logo in the 1920s.
This brand's name refers to a kind of small boat. Do you know it?
Lada is one of the most well-known brands in Russia. The name is a type of boat, which is also what you see in the logo. Originally, they were marketed under the name Zhiguli, but that word proved to be hard for non-Russian speakers to properly pronounce.
Which of these carmakers used to make zeppelin engines?
Maybach is currently a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz and is known for making luxury automobiles. The company was founded in 1909 but didn't produce a car until 1919. During the war, they devoted most of their time to producing engines for German war machines.
The headquarters of which of these companies is in Martorell, Spain?
SEAT is an acronym name that is derived from Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo. In English, that's basically the Spanish Society of Touring Cars. Volkswagen bought the company from the Spanish government in 1986. It's the largest automaker in Spain.
Skoda was founded in 1895 in Mlada Boleslav. The logo might look like a weirdly stylized bird, but it's supposed to be a winged arrow with three feathers. The company is currently a subsidiary of Volkswagen.
Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the German Labor Front, a labor union of the Nazi government at the time. British forces took over control of the company after the war. The British offered the entire company to Henry Ford at no charge, and he turned them down.
The slogan for which of these companies is "Being ahead through technology"?
Audi has a long and somewhat winding history of name changes and alterations to the core of what the company was. The final settling on the name Audi is its own interesting story as it's named for its founder, August Horch. Horch means "listen" in German, which is "audi" in Latin.
This company currently manufactures the fastest production car on Earth. Do you know it?
Bugatti is a French auto manufacturer founded by Italian automaker Ettore Bugatti in the one-time German city of Molsheim in Alsace. Molsheim is part of France again, hence the French connection. Their Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ has been clocked at 304 miles per hour.
Do you know which of these companies famously made the Mini?
The British Motor Corporation made one of the most famous cars in history, the Mini. Though BMC no longer exists, and was defunct as of 1968, the Mini lives on, having changed hands from British Leyland to Rover to BMW over the years.
Munich is where which of these companies is headquartered?
BMW was founded in 1916 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines that were used during the war. When the war ended, they shifted gears and started producing things like railway brakes, motorcycle engines and farm equipment. BMW didn't make a car until 1928.
James Bond has made which of these companies world renowned?
Aston Martin traces its roots to 1913. The company was developed as a partnership between Lionel Martin and, in a curious twist of naming, Robert Bamford. The Aston part of the name comes from where they raced and made their cars, a town called Aston Clinton.
Bullfighting inspired this company's logo and many of their model names as well. What is it?
Ferruccio Lamborghini was so into Spanish bullfighting that he included the bull, also his zodiac symbol as a Taurus, in the logo for his company. Many of the vehicle names were also taken from bulls, like the Miura, named for a famous breeder of fighting bulls.
Which company announced plans to be fully electric by 2040?
Swedish automaker Volvo has been producing cars since 1927. The logo for Volvo, the circle with an arrow pointing up to the right is an ancient symbol for the element iron. It also stood for Mars, the Roman god of war, which was associated with iron as the metal used for weapons and warfare.
Before this company made cars, it made sewing machines. What is it?
A man named Adam Opel founded Opel in 1862 as a sewing machine manufacturer. By 1886, they had graduated to bicycles. In 1889, they made their first car. In North America, a number of the company's cars are badge-engineered under the Cadillac and Buick names.
The first car by which of these companies was called the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815?
Enzo Ferrari had been involved in making cars for Alfa Romeo before branching out on his own with his famous company. Ferrari's first branded car wasn't made until 1947 when they produced the 125S. The newest car they produce is the Roma, which won't be available until 2020.
Esprit, Elan and Europa were all cars made by which of these companies?
Lotus Cars was founded by a pair of Colins. Colin Chapman and Colin Dare came together in 1952 after Chapman had been making cars in his garage. They were mostly interested in racing to begin with, and their first road car which was not from a kit was the Lotus Elan in the 1960s.
This company's cars won the 24 Hours of LeMans five times between 1924 and 1930. What is it?
Bentley has been producing automobiles for 100 years. The company is known for a history of luxury cars. Over the years, the company has been owned by Rolls Royce in the 1930s and currently by Volkswagen.
Which of these was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company back in the day?
In 1922, Jaguar was making motorcycle sidecars. Eventually, it began making automobiles and formally changed its name to Jaguar in 1945. The company has been bought and sold several times. Ford and Land Rover both owned the company for a spell, and in 2008, Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover together to Tata Motors. Jaguar Land Rover has been in business since 2013.
Jaguar's variants are often produced by which of these companies?
Lister was founded in 1954 and was known for variants of the Jaguar XJS. It made its first vehicle, the Lister Storm, in 2003. It was known for having the largest V12 in a production car since the Second World War. Only three of them still exist.
Which of these companies was founded with an acronym for a name?
Alfa Romeo dates back to 1910. At that time, the company was called "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili," or A.L.F.A. That, in English, is Anonymous Lombard Automobile Factory. They've been involved in racing since 1911.
This logo belongs to the largest manufacturer in Italy. What is it?
Fiat was founded in 1899 in Turin, Italy, and used to be one of the three largest automakers in the world until the 1980s. Currently, it's also the largest manufacturer in Brazil and has received nine European Car of the Year Awards, which is more than any other manufacturer.
Which company started as a manufacturer of bicycles during Napoleon's empire?
Peugeot was founded in 1810 by Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frederic Peugeot. At the time, they made bicycles and coffee mills. The distinctive lion in their logo was trademarked in 1858 by Emile Peugeot, and in 1889, the company built its first steam-powered automobile.
Do you know which company used the tagline "Luxury, sports and style cast in exclusive cars"?
Maserati has been in business since 1914. The company was started by the Maserati brothers — Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore and Ernesto. The brothers had designed cars for other companies before deciding to branch out on their own, with Alfieri taking the lead.
If you like a fast car, you might want to check out which of these Swedish manufacturers?
Though Koenigsegg was founded in 1994, the company didn't produce a street-legal car until 2002. That first model was the CC86, which introduced those remarkable dihedral synchro-helix actuation doors for which Koenigsegg has become famous.
You're only going to find this brand in the U.K., the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. What is it?
Vauxhall is the same company, for all intents and purposes, as Opel. The difference is that Opel is sold everywhere except in the U.K. The cars are the same but are just sold with different branding depending on the country. That said, Vauxhall was founded in 1857, when they used to make pumps and marine engines.
Some of the fastest cars in the world are made by which of these British manufacturers?
McLaren is probably best known by the average person for the McLaren F1 which dates back to 1992. In 1998, it snagged a world record as the fastest production car in the world with a speed of 240.1 miles per hour. They currently make the McLaren 720S with a max speed of 212 mph.
Do you know which of these companies made the E10 sports car?
British manufacturer Zenos isn't technically out of business, but they haven't been doing too much since 2017. The only model they made was the E10, starting in 2015 and ending in 2016. They made over 100 units, and you can pick one up today in the neighborhood of $35,000.
This Italian automaker has been around since 1906. What is it?
Lancia was founded by Vincenzo Lancia, one-time pilot and engineer. By 1969, they became part of the Fiat group and though they have a strong history in rally and race cars, their current big model is the Ypsilon, a supermini.
The first model made by which of these companies was called the Zonda?
Italian manufacturer Pagani makes sports cars and supercars. Their first model, the Zonda, debuted in 1999. By 2018, only 140 had been built. The fact a new one will set you back $1.4 million or so is part of the reason they're not more widely available.
This French marque was announced in 2009. Do you know what it is?
DS is an automaker under the banner of Groupe PSA. Groupe PSA is a conglomerate, and under the name, they manufacture not just DS but Citroen, Peugeot, Opel and Vauxhall. Needless to say, it's a large company.
Do you know this company that got its start making Bugatti replicas?
De La Chapelle
De La Chapelle is a French automaker started by Xavier de La Chapelle in the 1970s. Usually abbreviated simply as DLC, they produce a DLC Roadster, a Grand Prix, a Tourer and a couple of other very British-looking cars.
This company makes armored military vehicles. Do you know it?
Auverland was formed in 1980 and was bought out by Renault Trucks Defense in 2012. That became Arquus in 2018. The company made an exceptional number of large trucks and military vehicles for the French army.
Which of these German manufacturers works with BMW?
Alpina was founded in 1965, though it's not one of Germany's larger manufacturers by any means. They've only been recognized as a manufacturer in their country since 1983. Before that, they were mostly doing work for BMW. That's why you can get your Alpina serviced at a BMW dealership.