The Ultimate American Auto Manufacturer Quiz



By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: da-kuk / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

When you think of the American car industry, you think of names such as Henry Ford, William C. Durant, Henry M. Leland, Louis Chevrolet and Ransom E. Olds.

At the start of the 20th century, these men dared to dream. They took the fledgling American motor industry and helped turn it into a major economic contributor for the United States. Not only that but it did and still does employ thousands and thousands of people. 

Without these visionaries, where would we be?

Sadly, for all their successes, there were failures, too. And some failures came after brands had been in business for many years. For instance, Oldsmobile. It was the oldest vehicle brand in the United States, yet in 2004, after over 100 years of vehicle production, it was closed. Why? Well, it simply stopped making money. 

Some of America's finest auto manufacturers have event had to undergo a change of ownership. They are now in the hands of European masters, but still produce cars for the domestic American market.

Do you know who they are? And what else do you know about the American auto industry? Well, this quiz is going to test your knowledge. Don't dodge the questions!

Good luck!


When you hear the term Model T, which American car manufacturer do you think of?

Possibly the most iconic car ever built, the Model T made vehicles affordable to the man in the street. Thanks to Henry Ford using interchangeable parts as well as using a production line to build the car, prices for the Model T were kept low enough for ordinary people to be able to buy a car. And it showed in the sales figures, with over 15 million sold from 1908 to 1927.


William C. Durant was involved in a number of auto manufacturer establishments in the early 1900s including ______

William Durant was involved in Buick and General Motors before forming Chevrolet in 1911 with Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss racing driver and engineer. Durant bought out Chevrolet's share in 1914 to become the sole owner.


Which vehicle produced in America was the first to be made using a primitive production line?

One of the first Oldsmobile models was the Curved Dash. It was made between 1901 and 1907. All told, around 19,000 were built. It was manufactured using interchangeable parts as well as a production line.


Which of these is NOT an American car brand?

Holden, although affiliated with General Motors for many years, is based in Australia. Eagle was part of the Chrysler group from 1988 to 1999 while the American Motor Corporation from 1954 to 1988. Finally, Hudson built cars in America from 1909 till 1954.


The car model known as the Belair was made by which American car manufacturer?

One of the most iconic vehicles ever produced by Chevrolet was the Belair. It is the model manufactured from 1955 to 1957 that will always be remembered for its fantastic trim and those beautiful pointy tail fins.


Oldsmobile was one of the earliest vehicle manufacturers in the United States. In which year did they form?

The Oldsmobile Motor Company was formed in 1897. Sadly, despite being one of the oldest motor car manufacturers in America, there is no room for sentiment in the car industry. A fall in sales saw the brand discontinued in 2004.


Who was responsible for establishing the Oldsmobile Motor Company?

Ransom E. Olds was the man behind the Oldsmobile Motor Company which he formed in 1897. Olds built his first steam car in 1894 and first gas-driven model in 1896. He went on to use his knowledge when forming Oldsmobile.


Which American auto manufacturer produced the first Indy 500 winner in 1911?

The first Indy 500 was held in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun driving a Marmon Wasp. Marmon were high-end luxury vehicles and Harroun, an automotive engineer who worked for the company, modified one to race at Indy.


The Ford Model T revolutionized the way cars were made. In 1916, what percentage of cars in the world were Model T's?

Yes, 55% of the cars in the world in 1915 were Ford Model T's. By this time, Henry Ford had perfected its production and could turn out a car in around a day. This brought the price down, making it more affordable for the man in the street. Ford also opened factories in Europe, bringing his car to a bigger market.


In which year was Buick formed?

Buick is one of the oldest surviving car manufacturers in the United States. The company was formed in 1903 by David Dunbar Buick, a Scottish inventor living in America.


What other company did Buick go on to form in 1908?

William C. Durant, who went onto form Chevrolet in 1911 was in charge at Buick during the early years. After acquiring a number of other companies, he would combine them all into General Motors in 1908.


Pick a country listed below where Buick makes 80% of their sales currently.

Interestingly, the Chinese love Buick vehicles. At the moment, around 80% of all Buick sales are generated in that country. General Motors only introduced Buick into the country in the late 1990s.


Of the brands listed below, which is not affiliated with General Motors?

GMC, Chevrolet and Cadillac are all part of the General Motors brand. Jeep, however, is not. Jeep came to prominence at the end of World War II when the first commercial model was made.


From the list below, pick a brand that is part of the FIAT group's American range.

The FIAT group is one of the biggest in the world. Their American manufacturing operations including Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler. Dodge became part of the group in 2014. It was owned by Chrysler for close to 100 years before that.


Any ideas as to which year the Dodge Motor Company was formed?

In terms of vehicle production, Dodge was established in 1914 by Horace Elgin Dodge and John Francis Dodge. Presently the brand is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


The list below includes an American sports car manufacturer first established in 1983. Can you identify them?

Established by Steve Saleen in 1983, Saleen Automotive make a range of sports cars. Perhaps their most well known is the S7, first released in 2000. Most of their current models are based on other cars, including the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.


Do you know which of these Chevrolet models was introduced as a muscle car option in the 1960s?

The Camaro was first launched in 1967 and is still a Chevrolet model to this day. This muscle car has seen six different generations. The current Camaro offers three different engine configurations, with the SS sporting a 6.2 liter V8 capable of producing 455 brake horsepower.


Which legendary race car broke Ferrari's dominance at the Le Mans 24 endurance race in the mid-1960s?

The first generation of the GT40 won the prestigious Le Mans 24-hour endurance race for four straight years from 1966 to 1969 which included filling out the top three positions in 1966. Only 105 were produced.


The Lincoln Blackwood, a luxury pickup, was based on what vehicle?

A uptrimmed version of the Ford F-150, the Blackwood was Lincoln's answer to the pickup market. It only sold in America in 2002 due to a poor reception from the public.


This vehicle had its 15 seconds of fame in the slacker comedy, "Wayne's World". In real life, it was a massive flop. Do you know what it is?

Although it received some fame for appearing in the cult slacker comedy 'Wayne's World' at the time of its release, the AMC Pacer was not well received. Since then it has become an entry on Forbes' Worst Cars of All Time list, among others.


Can you name the American car maker that formed part of the General Motors group but was closed in 2006?

Saturn, a division of General Motors, lasted all of 25 years. Formed to produce smaller models in competition to the Japanese cars flooding the U.S. market, after initial promise, Saturn sales dropped and General Motors eventually ended the brand in 2010.


Of the vehicles below, which was a convertible pickup that failed to find favor in the U.S. market?

A pickup with a difference, the SSR was produced by Chevrolet between 2003 and 2006. In fact, SSR stands for Super Sport Roadster with the vehicle actually a convertible pickup with a retractable hardtop! Unfortunately for Chevrolet, sales for the SSR were not exactly stellar.


Only 51 units of this car were ever made. Do you know what it is?

The dream of Preston Tucker, the Torpedo only saw 51 units built. Why? Well, Tucker was indicted for stock market fraud. Tucker had sold the rights to over 2,000 dealerships for his car even before he produced a proper prototype. He was found not guilty after a trial, but by now, his company was so far in debt that it was forced to close. Tucker died in 1956.


True or false. Ford was not the first motor company started by Henry Ford.

The Ford Motor Company was not Henry Ford's first auto manufacturer. In fact, he formed two before starting Ford. The first was the Detroit Motor Company formed in 1899 followed by Ford & Malcomson, Ltd. in 1903 which later became the Ford Motor Company.


Before Dodge began producing automobiles, what did they make?

When the Dodge brothers started out, they began by making bicycle parts and bicycles. They then moved on to making automobile parts for other manufacturers before starting to produce their own cars.


True or false: Dodge produced engine and transmission parts used on Ford Model T's.

Before they made automobiles, Dodge made car parts. This included engines and transmissions for the Ford Model T from 1903 onward. In fact, John Dodge was named a director of Ford in 1904.


Which Ford model was such a failure, it cost the company over $2 million?

Named after Henry Ford's son, the Edsel was a massive flop and only sold between 1958 and 1960. It's not that the car was bad, it was just really overpriced. And that always turns people away!


America has a "Big 3" when it comes to car production. Which of these is not part of that select group?

Buick are part of the General Motors group and sell 80% of their cars in China. The company was formed in 1903 by David Dunbar Buick.


The original Jeep used by the U.S. military was not known by that name. What was it called?

Over 335,000 Willys MB's were made for military use during World War II. They not only served with the US Army but with its allies and in every theatre.


Chrysler was officially founded in 1925. It had been operating before that but under what name?

Chrysler formation came about after reorganization of the Maxwell Motor Company, which before 1925 had been struggling financially. Walter Chrysler had performed a similar rescue job at Willys a few years earlier.


Which other car manufacturer did Chrysler purchase in 1928?

Walter Chrysler did such an amazing job in rescuing the Maxwell Motor Company (which became Chrysler) that in 1928, they purchased Dodge for $170 million. Chrysler also opened two new brands that same year: De Soto and Plymouth.


Tesla, a maker of electrically powered cars, released its first vehicle in 2008. What was it called?

The Tesla Roadster not only could travel up to 250 miles on a single charge, it could also go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. That puts many gasoline-powered sports cars to shame in the acceleration stakes.


A European auto manufacturer purchased Chrysler in 2014. Can you name them?

When the American auto industry underwent a massive restructuring in 2009, FIAT purchased a 58.5% stake of Chrysler. Then in 2014, they purchased the company outright. And how much did they pay? A massive $4.35 billion!


Jeep is currently owned by which other auto manufacturer?

Jeep has been owned by a number of companies over the years. These include American Motor Corporation, Chrysler and Renault to name a few. Currently, however, it is part of the FIAT group.


Lincoln, the luxury division of Ford, was formed in which year?

Lincoln was established in 1917 by Henry M. Leland. Ford purchased the company in 1922 and established it as their luxury car division. Since then, Lincoln and their General Motors counterpart, Cadillac, have been in competition.


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