Think You Can Name the Fastest Cars of the ’50s From Appearance Alone?

By: Ruby Scalera
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
1-Corvette What fast car was unveiled at the 1953 GM Motorama?
Ford Falcon
Ford Thunderbird
Chevrolet Corvette
The 1953 GM Motorama was the stage for the very first Chevrolet Corvette, a vehicle that would go on to become one of America's favorite performance cars. It is still one of the fastest performance vehicles available today.
Chevrolet Corvair

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Fastest '50s Cars 1 What was this era of Thunderbird called?
Flair Birds
Baby Birds
The 1950s introduced many great vehicles, including the Ford Thunderbird, which would remain in production for decades to follow. This Baby Bird was build as Ford's response to the Chevrolet Corvette.
Square Birds
Bullet Birds

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Fastest '50s Cars 2 In 2007, what incredible car sold for five million dollars at auction?
Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder
The Ferrari 250 series started in 1952 and lasted through the mid-1960s. These vehicles were designed with racing in mind, and they continue to blow away the competition today, in speed and value.
Ferrari 365 California
Ferrari Testarossa
Ferrari 430 Scuderia

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4-Delray What vehicle was tame design-wise, but had an available Chevy big block V8 engine that really made it stand out?
1958 Pontiac Catalina
1958 Chevrolet Delray
The Chevrolet Delray was a distinct series in the Chevrolet lineup in 1958, well below the other luxurious offerings from GM. Its design was limited, but its power was not. It was only produced as a line for a single year.
1958 Chevrolet Impala
1958 Buick Super 88

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Fastest '50s Cars 5 What vehicle won the Nurburgring Eifel Race in May 1953?
Porsche 718 Spider
Porsche Panamera
Porsche 911
Porsche 550
Porsche has a long and storied history of racing success, due largely in part to the Porsche 550. Only 90 were produced from 1953 to 1956, but they dominated on race tracks around the world.

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Fastest '50s Cars 5 What classic Italian car had an available 3.5L straight-six engine that could get it up to nearly 150 miles per hour?
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante
Even the smaller engine on the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante produced 156 horsepower. The engine mentioned above, available on later models, got 227. These are power outputs competitive even in today's automotive world.
Alfa Romo Giulia
Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo Spider

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Porsche 928
Porsche 356
Porsche has been making vehicles for a long time, but before the Porsche 356, they were either for the track or for another car company, like Volkswagen. This vehicle helped to put them on the consumer car map.
Porsche 987
Porsche 924

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Fastest '50s Cars 8 Which of the following statements about the Mercedes Benz 300 SL is true?
It was the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle sold in America.
It was the fastest production car of its time.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was at home on the open roads and the race track. It could reach speeds of up to 163 miles per hour, comparable to performance cars today, and Mercedes luxury performance vehicles are still delivering.
It was originally produced as a sedan.
It was tested on a rooftop race track.

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9-Corvette What was the initial response to the Chevrolet Corvette when it was unveiled in 1953?
It immediately sold out at every dealer.
People loved the concept car, but the production model didn't deliver.
The Corvette was anything unlike anyone had ever seen and the public fell in love. Unfortunately, the first few years of production would prove disappointing. Ultimately, however, the Corvette more than hit its stride.
Automotive critics hated it but consumers loved it.
The idea was immediately disliked and shelved for years.

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10-T-bird Up until the 2002, the Ford Baby Bird was the only Ford Thunder that:
Came with two seats
The Baby Bird was Ford's answer to the Corvette from Chevrolet, though it wasn't marketed as a sports car. Still, it had two seats, and the 2002 revival model did as well, unlike the other eras of T-Bird.
Had side mirrors
Had an available V8 engine
Didn't have a continental kit

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Fastest '50s Cars 11 What vehicle was incredibly successful at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and won in 1955, 1956, and 1957?
Jaguar C-Type
Jaguar D-Type
The Jaguar D-Type was produced specifically to win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, and it did. Unfortunately, not many vehicles were produced, and after a factory fire, even fewer survived.
Jaguar E-Type
Jaguar F-Type

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Fastest '50s Cars 12 How did the Aston Martin DB 2/4 differ from the DB2 it was based upon?
It was only available in convertible.
There was a three-wheel option
It had a wraparound windshield
The Aston Martin DB2/4 also had larger bumpers and repositioned headlights compared to the DB2. It was produced from 1953 to 1957 and available in a few different body styles and with custom options.
It was produced in Italian factories.

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Fastest '50s Cars 13 What car won the 1954 Mille Miglia, driven by Alberto Ascari?
Italy
Though there were only two models produced, the Lancia D24 was successful on international stages for a year. It was driven by racers like Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio to podium victories.
Germany
Spain
France

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Fastest '50s Cars 14 Which of the following facts about the Jaguar XKSS are true?
Only 16 vehicles survived a factory fire.
It was originally built for racing.
The actor Steve McQueen owned one.
All of the above.
Though there aren't very many, the Jaguar XKSS sure makes a statement out on the open road. Originally, there were supposed to be 25 models produced, but only 16 vehicles survived a factory fire.

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Fastest '50s Cars 15 Where was the Ferrari 250 GT first introduced?
The New York Motor Show
The GM Motorama
The Paris Motor Show
The 250 series was used for both motorsport and luxury road driving. This model was first unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1954. Could you imagine seeing this amazing car for the first time?
The London World's Fair

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16-BMW How successful was the BMW 507?
It sold very well in America
Due to pricing, it was not widely produced and lost BMW money.
Originally designed for the American market, the BMW 507 ended up costing too much and only 252 were ever produced. That said, it is considered one of the most important and beautiful early supercars produced.
It was successful in sales but not motorsports
It was successful in motorsports but not sales.

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17-Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss What vehicle won the 1955 Mille Miglia?
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
Stirling Moss and his navigator, Denis Jenkinson, drove 992 miles in 10:7:48, averaging 99mph, in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Imagine the kind of dedication you need to maintain those speeds!
Mercedes-Benz SLS
Mercedes-Benz AMG
Mercedes-Benz CLA

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Speed-Light-Road
Sport light racing
Mercedes-Benz has produced a lot of performance vehicles over the years, including SLR models. It was originally Sport Leicht-Rennen, which was then shortened.
Supreme Limited Runner
Short Lifted Racer

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19-Corvette What was the last year of single headlights for the Chevy Corvette?
1953
1955
1957
The 1957 Corvette was the last year of the single headlight design and was starting to smooth out and become sleeker, compared to earlier designs. This marked a design turning point that would lead to the style of race cars we know today.
1959

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Fastest '50s Cars 20 Which of the following statements about the Ferrari 340 is false?
It has a V8 engine
It actually had a V12 engine! Only a handful of them were ever produced but between the beautiful and classic exterior and the power below, it sure made a statement in automotive history.
Only 4 were produced
It was designed to race the Carrera Panamerica
It had a top speed of 174 mph

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21-Zora Arkus-Duntov What is Zora Arkus-Duntov known as?
The Inventor of Four-Wheel Drive
The Designer of Car Fins
The Father of the Corvette
Zora Arkus-Duntov is considered the reason for the Corvette. When GM was planning to pull their new invention, he persuaded them to give him a chance and he turned the 'Vette into one of America's most iconic cars.
The Genius Of Water-Cooled Engines

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Fastest '50s Cars 22 What can the early Corvette's performance success be attributed to?
New tire technology
Advances in fuel-injection
The Corvette wasn't the first vehicle to use fuel injection, but it took fuel injection to the next level, achieving speed and power output like no mass production American vehicle ever had before.
Higher quality oil
An improved transmission

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Fastest '50s Cars 23 Which of the following is not a member of the Ferrari America family?
The Ferrari 340
375 America
500 Superfast
500 Superfast America
These grand touring cars have V12 engines located in the front, unlike European Ferraris, which were mid-engine designed. These models were built in the 1950s and 1960s as grand touring cars.

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24-Le mans True or False: Ferrari has its first victory at the 24-Hours of Le Mans race in 1950.
True
False
Ferrari has its first Le Mans victory the years earlier in 1949, but it certainly wasn't the last. Ferrari is widely considered one of the top performance automakers from around the world--and for good reason.

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Fastest '50s Cars 25 How many models of the Maserati 5000 GT were produced from 1959 to 1965?
1500
100
34
The Maserati 5000 GT was also known as the Shah of Persia and sold for $17,000, twice that of the Maserati 3500. That's about what you would spend on a new sedan today — imagine spending it in the 1950s and 1960s!
12

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26-Jag C-Type What does the "C" in Jaguar C-Type stand for?
Cross-country
Coach-built
Competition
The Jaguar C-Type was produced from 1951 to 1953. The C-Type version of the Jaguar XK-120 (the road-going model) got about 205 horsepower and it showed. The Jaguar C-Type won at Le Mans twice.
Cougar

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27-BMW 507 Of which vehicle were the most models produced?
BMW 507
There were 252 BMW 507s, 34 Maserati 5000 GTs, 53 Jaguar C-Types and four Ferrari 340s produced. For enthusiasts, the chance to see any of these very rare and truly incredible vehicles would be an enormous and memorable experience.
Maserati 5000 GT
Jaguar C-Type
Ferrari 340

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Fastest '50s Cars 28 True or False: The first generation of muscle car was produced in the 1950s.
True
False
American muscle cars--vehicles that focused on performance and power--didn't come into production until the mid-1960s. Still, many of the innovations that appeared in vehicles from the 1950s made those muscle cars possible.

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29-AM DB4 How long was the Aston Martin DB4 in production for?
1950 - 1959
1951-1953
1955 - 1958
1958 - 1963
The Aston Martin DB4 was unveiled at the 1958 London Motor Show and produced until 1963. It has a 3.7L six-cylinder engine and delivered on 240 horsepower for a 0-60 time of 9.3 seconds.

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Fastest '50s Cars 30 What do you call the doors on the Mercedes 300SL?
Flying buttress doors
Gullwing doors
Many supercars today still use unique and stylish doors, but the gullwing look like you'll find on this Mercedes 300SL is classic. It's not hard to see why enthusiasts and designers love the look so much.
Golden Eagle Doors
Airplane doors

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31-Studebaker Golden Hawk What was the last Studebaker model until moving to Aventi to take styling inspiration from Raymon Loewy's studio?
Studebaker Champion
Studebaker Commander Skyliner
Studebaker Golden Hawk
The Studebaker Golden Hawk was produced from 1956 to 1958 and had a 5.8L V8 engine. Raymond Loewy was one of the industry's most influential designers and we owe many classic styles and trends to him.
Studebaker Avanti

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Fastest '50s Cars 32 True or False: The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado had a top speed of 124 miles per hour.
True
It did! Thanks to a 6.4L V8 engine that produced 350 horsepower. It was also a vehicle all about style and luxury and came equipped with some of the most advanced features available on the market.
False

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33-Jag D-Type Which of these vehicles was the fastest?
Jaguar D-Type
The Jaguar could do 0-60 in 4.7 seconds, a time that rivals many performance vehicles today. Still, the rest of the vehicles were also fast, especially for the era, and several dominated international motorsports.
Alfa-Romeo Disco Volante
Mercedes-Benz 300SL
Ford Thunderbird

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It only weighed 103 pounds.
Its top speed was exactly 103 mph.
It had 103 horsepower.
While it does look small, the Austin-Healy weighed nearly 3000 pounds and had a top speed of 106 miles per hour. The Austin-Healy is a beloved British classic, and it's not hard to see why.
Only 103 were produced.

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Fastest '50s Cars 35 What modern movie did the Hudson Hornet make an appearance in?
"Rush"
"Unsafe at Any Speed"
"Cars"
The Hudson Hornet is a beloved classic race car that made an appearance in the Pixar film "Cars." While the other two are also car films, "Unsafe at Any Speed" is actually a book written by Ralph Nader on automotive safety.
"The Art of Racing in the Rain"

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Fastest '50s Cars 36 True or False: The Corvette was once designed with a set of triple headlights.
True
False
Though the single and double headlights are often used to differentiate between eras of Corvette, there was never a triple headlight option. Corvettes are small vehicles, so even if they wanted to add one, where would it go?

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37-Thunderbird-Edit The original Ford Thunderbird was billed as a:
Sportscar
Family car
Personal car
Though the first generation Thunderbird was meant to compete with the Corvette, Ford focused on comfort and leisure rather than speed and power. The Thunderbirds that followed were very much considered luxury vehicles, albeit with large engines.
City car

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38-Hudson Hornet Which of the following vehicles is the fastest?
The Austin-Healey Sprite
The Studebaker Commander
The Mercedes 300S Roadster
The Hudson Hornet
The Hudson Hornet could do 0-60 in 12.2 seconds, faster than the others. While it may not seem very fast by today's standards, the Hudson Hornet was a successful race car and even appeared in the film "Cars."

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39-Chevy Corvette Which vehicle went into production first, the Ford Thunderbird or the Chevrolet Corvette?
Ford Thunderbird
Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette was first unveiled in 1953 and the Thunderbird in 1955 as Ford's response. They were markedly different vehicles, despite both being two-seaters. The Corvette was all power and the Thunderbird luxury and comfort.

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Fastest '50s Cars 40 True or False: A mid-engine Corvette was produced in the 1950s.
True
False
There have been many mid-engine Corvette prototypes but the 2020 mid-engine Corvette coming out next year is the first to make it to production. American automotive fans are excited to see how our own Corvette supercar will perform.

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