The Ultimate Prop-Driven Car Quiz

The Ultimate Prop-Driven Car Quiz
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About This Quiz

Why, did prop-driven cars fail to take off, even though they accomplished some noteworthy strides? Can you keep up with the Helica (or is it the Helicron)? Take this quiz to find out!
Propeller-driven cars had unique, distinctive body shapes. What inspired the design of prop-driven cars?
Sailboats
Airplanes
It's advantageous for all vehicles to move through the air as efficiently as possible, but for propeller cars, it's especially important. Designers of prop-driven cars studied airplanes to understand how to direct air through the propeller but reduce wind resistance around the car's cockpit.
Hot-air balloons

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We're accustomed to automobiles that function like living rooms -- temperature controlled with entertainment at the ready, isolated from the hazards of the road. But prop-driven cars offered a much different sensory experience. Why was the cockpit open, despite the obvious dangers?
Open cockpits were typical of automobiles and aircraft of the era.
Driver and passenger safety wasn't really a priority at the time; everyone was used to open-air vehicles. Even though some engineers encased the propellers within protective shrouds, the whirling blades still significantly increased the possibility of injury.
It was the best way to enjoy the aromas of the French countryside.
Engineers were experimenting with ejection seats, and didn't want a roof to get in the way of a bailout.

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How did a prop-driven car run in reverse?
They couldn't go in reverse.
Drivers made the cars go forward with a throttle lever. The cars lacked clutches and transmissions, and couldn't actually go in reverse.
The driver switched the propeller to the "reverse" setting, and the change in airflow pushed the car backward.
The driver shifted the transmission to reverse.

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Where were the cars' propellers mounted?
The propeller was on the front of the car's body.
The propeller was on a post above the driver.
The propeller was on either the front or the back of the car's body.
Designers experimented with the propeller's location. Both front and back mounts worked, but each design had specific problems. A front-mounted prop will create considerable discomfort for the car's occupants from wind resistance and airborne objects; the rear option is only efficient on a tapered body profile.

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Which of these cars was produced and sold to customers?
The Helicron.
The Helica.
Marcel Leyat began selling the Helica in 1919, and continued building the car for several years.
The Helipod.

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Marcel Leyat designed the Helica, one of the most well known prop-driven cars. Where did the Helica's name come from?
It was named after the helicopter.
It was the nickname of Leyat's wife.
It was derived from the French word for "propeller."
The propeller: It does what it says, and it says what it does. Leyat named his Helica for its most defining characteristic, which, in French, is known as the "hélice."

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Why did Marcel Leyat believe the Helica would be successful?
It was more affordable than other cars.
He thought it would improve fuel economy.
Marcel Leyat thought that using a propeller for power would improve fuel economy, but over time, this theory proved to be untrue.
It was pretty.

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How many propeller-driven cars did Marcel Leyat build?
He built 25 to 30 cars.
Even after the Helica went out of production, Marcel Leyat continued to design and build prop-driven cars until 1926. It is believed that he completed a total of 25 to 30 cars over about 15 years.
He built only the six documented Helicas.
No one really knows, because his records were destroyed in a fire.

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So, how did a prop-driven car work, anyway?
Like a wind turbine: the propeller powered the motor that turned the car's wheels.
The propeller caught the wind, which pushed the car along like a sailboat.
Powered by an engine, the propeller spun and moved the car forward.
The driver started the motor, which turned a propeller and the driver controlled the car with a throttle lever.

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Which of these typical components were absent from prop-driven cars?
The transmission
Prop-driven cars were controlled by throttle levers -- no gear-shifting necessary. Marcel Leyat thought a simple drivetrain, without a transmission, was essential to the car's efficiency.
The steering wheel
The engine

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Which one-of-a-kind prop-driven car was rediscovered in 2000?
The Leyat Special Edition
The Helicar
The Helicron
The 1932 Helicron was found in a barn in France, where it had been stored for an undetermined period of time.

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Where can the Helicron currently be seen?
The Helicron is at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville.
The Lane Motor Museum acquired the Helicron in 2004, and, after a full restoration, it was put on display at the museum. It's often taken to classic car shows and concours events.
You can see the Helicron at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois.
The Helicron currently belongs to a reclusive French car collector.

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How much does the Helicron weigh?
The Helicron weights 400 pounds (181.4 kilograms).
The Helicron and its propeller each weigh 250 pounds (113.4 kilograms), for a total of 500 (226.8 kilograms).
The Helicron weighs 1000 pounds (453.6 kilograms).
The Helicron weighs about 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms). It's sleek considering its substantial wood craftsmanship, but hefty compared to the 400-pound (181.4-kilogram) aluminum Helica.

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What kind of engine was originally in the Helicron?
An ABC Scorpion engine
The Helicron was designed with an ABC Scorpion engine, but is currently powered by a Citroen GS 1.3 liter powerplant that can achieve a cruising speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour (48.3 to 64.4 kilometers per hour).
A Harley-Davidson engine
A Citroen engine

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What design element of prop-driven cars can be seen on modern hybrid cars?
Disc brakes
Aerodynamic design
Aerodynamics were a defining factor of the prop-driven cars' aesthetics, and aerodynamic design is crucial to the success of today's energy-efficient cars.
Spoke wheels

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How fast could the first prop-driven cars go?
They could go about 40 miles per hour (64.4 kilometers per hour).
There was no way to record speeds back then.
Some cars could go up to 85 miles per hour (136.8 kilometers per hour).
On occasion, some cars were able to achieve speeds of up to 85 miles per hour (136.8 kilometers per hour).

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What was the fastest way to stop a prop-driven car?
Push the brake pedal
Reverse the propeller's direction
Although prop-driven cars did have brakes, there was a faster way to slow down or stop. The driver could use the throttle to reverse the propeller (make it spin in the other direction) which instantly created a lot of air resistance and stopped the car. Drifting wasn't really an option without a transmission, clutch, or emergency brake.
Drift it sideways

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What state almost hosted mass production of a prop-driven car, and when?
California, in 1989.
California, in 1955.
The Aerocar, powered by a Chevy 6-cylinder engine, was considered for production in California in 1955.
South Carolina, in 1940.

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What did The New York Times predict in 1912?
The French Blue paint popular on prop-driven cars would be declared unpatriotic in America.
Prop-driven cars were so dangerous, it was only a matter of time before someone famous was decapitated.
Prop-driven cars would eventually become so popular, they would hurt the airplane industry.
In 1912, The New York Times described a hypothetical future in which all disillusioned car owners could remedy their woes by throwing "the offending details on the scrap heap" and modifying their cars with propellers, causing airplane makers to weep for the future.

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Which of the following vehicles have NOT been inspired by prop-driven cars?
Bicycles and trikes
British double-decker buses
In the noble search for efficiency, and the less noble but still endearing quest for land speed records, both bicycles and kart-based race cars have been augmented by propellers.
Go-karts

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You Got:
/20
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