See How Much You Know About American Cars!



By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA via Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Although the motor car was not invented in the United States, Americans have been at the forefront of car development for many years. 

American engineers threw themselves into developing cars even before the start of the 20th century. Charles and Frank Duryea set up the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in 1893, Henry Ford built the Ford Quadricycle in 1896, and Ransom E. Olds formed Olds Motor Vehicle Company (later Oldsmobile) in 1897. It was the Olds Motor Vehicle Company that dominated the early car scene in America with their model, the Curved Dash. In fact, by 1901, the company was making use of production lines when making their cars. 

And of course, we know just how much Ford dominated the motoring scene, not only in America but worldwide with the introduction of the Model T in 1907. Over 15 million of these were produced over a 19-year period, making Ford the dominant brand in the automotive world. And it didn't end there for American motoring. Chevrolet and Chrysler joined Ford as the other pieces of the big three vehicle producers. Several other brands had success, with some failures as well.

In this quiz, we're going to test your knowledge of American cars and motoring in America.

Do you have what it takes to end the race in first place?

Can you name the Oldsmobile model that was the first to use a production line in American auto manufacturing?

The Oldsmobile Curved Dash was released in 1901 and built to 1907. Before Ford had dreamt about his production line, Oldsmobile was living it when producing the Curved Dash. Over 19,000 of the Curved Dash Oldsmobile were produced.


Before he started the Ford motor company, Henry Ford had already built his first vehicle. What was it called?

Henry Ford designed the Quadricycle in 1896 and over the next five years, built four models. It was a simple machine that ran on an ethanol engine and used bicycle tires.


What is the claim to fame of the Howmet TX?

A jet car ... yes, a jet car. Well, to be precise, a gas turbine. The Howmet TX was an experimental car powered by a gas turbine engine. It raced around the world, even at Le Mans in 1968, but was plagued with reliability problems.


True or false? The Model T went down in price from $825 to $260 from 1908 to 1925.

Thanks to advancements in production, including the use of universal parts and the introduction of a production line, Henry Ford was able to bring the price of the Model T down significantly. This meant it was within the reach of the average American, and that's why so many sold over the course of its production run.


Which of these is considered one of the first ever muscle cars?

Arguably the most iconic muscle car ever, the Mustang was first released in 1964. It proved one of the most popular debuts ever, and within a year, 400,000 units had been sold which quadrupled Ford’s sale estimates.


What was the name of the first electric car offered by General Motors?

The first electric car offered by General Motors, the EV1 was offered as a model between 1996 and 1999. Only 1,100 sold with General Motors, who eventually recalled them all and destroyed them.


The Chevrolet Camaro is an iconic muscle car. What was it originally going to be called?

The Camaro was first launched in 1967 and is still a Chevrolet model to this day. This muscle car has seen six different generations. Originally, the bigwigs at General Motors wanted to call it the Panther. And let's be honest, that would have been pretty cool.


Without a doubt, the Ford Mustang was popular from the start of its production run in the mid-1960s. How many sold on the first day it was introduced?

Ford executives knew they had a winner in the Mustang. They just didn't know how exceptional sales would be from the start. Within a year, 400,000 units had been sold, which quadrupled Ford’s sale estimates. And yes, 22,000 were sold on the opening day it was released.


The iconic TV show, "The Dukes of Hazzard," helped push sales of the Dodge Charger. How many Chargers were used during the duration of the show?

309! That's a lot of beautiful 1969 Dodge Chargers wrecked. But it's easy to see why: all that ramping and hard landings would kill a car in just a few takes.


Which vehicle did Henry Ford follow the Model T with in 1927?

The Ford Model A was the successor to the Model T, and was just as much of a success. In a period of only six months between February and July 1929, over 1 million were sold.


True or false? In 1916, 55% of all the cars in the world were Ford Model T's.

Incredibly, as huge a figure as it may sound, 55% of the cars in the world in 1916 were Ford Model T's. That just shows you the impact that this motoring icon had on not just America, but the world.


Which Chevrolet model helped break Ford's stranglehold on the American market in the late 1920s?

Although it was only produced in 1927, the AA Capitol series sold over 670,000 units, and for once, broke Ford's domination of the American motor scene. This series included eight different body types, all based on the GM A platform.


In 1932, the first mass-produced V8 engine arrived on the scene in American motoring. Who was responsible for it?

V8 engines had been around before Ford introduced the 'Flathead' in 1932; it's just that this new engine from Ford worked properly and was easy to produce. The 'Flathead' remained in production till the 1950s in America and up till the 1970s worldwide.


First released in the mid-1950s, this brand is the standout model in the Chevy range. Which vehicle are we talking about?

The Corvette name is loved around the world. From its inception in 1953, the Corvette brand is the jewel in the Chevrolet crown. Of course, everyone has their favorite Corvette, with many citing the C1 and the C2 Stingray as personal preferences.


Chrysler’s 426 HEMI V8 engine was not only powerful, but massive. What was its nickname?

"The Elephant" was the engine that dominated NASCAR at Daytona in 1964, taking the first three places on the podium. This dominance led to the governing body of NASCAR making changes to the engine rules.


True or false? By the late 1920s Henry Ford had opened factories around the world, including in Iceland.

Thanks to the success of the Model T, Henry Ford knew that it would be easier to manufacture vehicles in the countries where they were in demand. By the time the Model A replaced the Model T, Ford had opened factories in Europe, Japan and even Iceland!


Who invented the electric starter, which meant no more hand cranking the engine to get a vehicle going?

Charles Kettering was nothing short of a genius. Perhaps his greatest auto invention was the electric starter in 1912, but he was also responsible for duco paint and leaded gasoline, among others.


Which automaker was the first to use the electric starter in their cars in 1912?

It was the 1912 Cadillac that first used the electric starter invented by Charles Kettering. Interestingly, Ford only started using electric starters in the Model T from 1919 onward.


How many cars are on the roads of America?

Yes, the United States has a staggering 250 million cars on its roads each day. That is not the most in the world, however. China boasts 290 million cars on its roads each day. The U.S. does have the largest percentage of passenger vehicles, however.


How many cars are produced in the United States each year?

In 2016, automakers in the United States produced 12 million vehicles. By contrast, China produced 28 million!


Which of these trucks has been the top selling in the United States for over 30 years?

First released in 1948, the F-Series by Ford is the most iconic pickup in U.S. motoring history. Over the past 30 years, the F-150 has outsold every other competitor each and every year. And it's not difficult to see why. Now a thoroughly modern brand, the F-150 keeps that incredible personality of its predecessors.


What percentage of new vehicle sales in the United States are trucks?

Incredibly, 18% of new vehicle sales in the United States are trucks. That just shows how popular they are! It equates to 2.7 million units.


Of the options below, what is the average price of a new pickup in the United States?

Although they are extremely popular, expect to pay a pretty price for a new pickup. On average, a new pickup in the United States costs $40,696. Vehicles like the Ford Super Duty Limited cost over $100,000.


At once stage, electric vehicles were just as popular in the early days of motoring as gas-powered ones. When was the first electric vehicle introduced in the United States?

Yes, the first electric car was produced in the United States as far back as 1891. The man responsible for its design and introduction was William Morrison. Electric cars, however, became less popular thanks to their high prices, with gas-powered cars being a far cheaper option for the public.


In the United States, a car is stolen how often?

Grand theft auto is a massive problem in the United States, with one vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds in the country. The Honda Civic and Accord models are the most targeted by thieves.


Which American automaker introduced the car radio in 1922?

The first car radio saw the light of day in 1922 and could be purchased for your new Chevrolet. It would cost an additional $200, though! This price was way beyond what the average American could afford.


Inventor Ralph Teetor was responsible for which of these?

Ralph Teetor was a prolific inventor. In the 1940s, he designed the first cruise control system for vehicles. And what made this more impressive? Well, Teetor was blind.


What was the nickname of the Ford Model T?

Certainly one of the most famous cars ever made, the Ford Model T revolutionized motoring in not only America but the world. It was affectionately known as "Tin Lizzy".


In 2017, which of these models sold the most units in the U.S.?

Once again, it's Toyota that dominates. The Toyota Camry was the passenger vehicle with the most sales in the United States in 2017.


In America, traffic jams are a serious problem. How long does the average American motorist spend stuck in traffic each year?

That's not too bad, actually. In other developed countries, this number is far higher due to poorer road infrastructure.


"Henry Ford" is perhaps the most famous name in the auto industry. What did he do before he built cars?

Henry Ford was an exceptional man. Before he went into the car business, Ford repaired watches, often using tools that he made himself.


True or false? Chevrolet almost bought out Ford at some point in its history.

Yes, they did. In the early years of both companies, in fact. In 1909, Henry Ford agreed to sell his company to William Durant, the man behind Chevrolet. The asking price was $2 million. When Durant went to his bankers in New York, they would not loan him the money and the deal fell through.


Henry Ford's earliest cars had engines from another American manufacturer. Do you know which?

Dodge supplied engines at the rate of 400 per month to Ford in 1905. They also supplied transmission systems. By the time the Model T came out, Ford was producing its own engines.


What percentage of cars on the road in the United States use an automatic transmission?

Yes, Americans sure do love their automatic transmission. In Europe, it's the opposite, with 80% of cars on the road using manual gearboxes.


Highway congestion in the United States costs how much per year?

That's a huge amount of wasted money. This amount factors in things such as wear and tear on vehicles, lost productivity and gas used while idling.


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