What's Your Classic Car IQ?

By: Torrance Grey

What's Your Classic Car IQ?
Image: VV Productions

About This Quiz

America didn't invent the automobile, but we certainly have a love affair with it. It was a relationship that started early in the 20th century, with the affordable Model T, the car that got the middle class on the road. But the mid-20th century was when America rolled out the cars that most people consider to be truly classic: the Ford Mustang and Thunderbird, the Buick Roadmaster, the Corvette and Camaro, the Charger and Challenger. Of course, not all classic cars are American. Germany gave us the beloved Beetle (twice, including its redesign in the 1990s). And Britain has made a number of fast, stylish cars -- some of them driven by their icon, James Bond. 

Nowadays, we have a complicated relationship with the vintage car. With the world's population approaching eight billion and fossil fuels in limited supply, we realize we can't all drive outdated, gas-hog cars. (In fact, we probably shouldn't all be driving gas-burning cars, period.) But there's no harm in admiring a classic car when we see one on the streets, or fantasizing about driving one. So, if you have such dreams, take your classic car IQ for a spin with our quiz! We promise it'll be a smooth, nostalgic ride!

Which automaker produced the Fairlane?
Chevrolet
Ford
An easy way to remember this is that it was the name of a movie in the early 90s -- "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane." This was a star vehicle (no pun intended) for briefly-hot comedian Andrew Dice Clay. The actual car was a full-size, tail-finned car of the 50s.
Buick
Dodge

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Which of these cars was made by now-defunct AMC?
the Gremlin
The AMC Gremlin was a subcompact car meant to appeal to buyers as gas prices rose in the 1970s. However, its slogan "the first American-made import car" must have had buyers scratching their heads.
the Pinto
the Corsair
the Vega

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Which classic car was named for an African animal?
Javelin
Impala
The Impala name might have been chosen for its suggestion of speed. The impala is a grazing animal, similar to an antelope.
Gremlin
Pacer

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By what name are third-generation Corvettes also known?
Duster
Pinnace
Mako
Stingray
The Stingray was one of the most coveted cars of the late '60s and early '70s. Rich girl Cherry Valance drives one in "The Outsiders."

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What car was specifically criticized by Ralph Nader in "Unsafe at Any Speed"?
the Chevy Corvair
Nader titled one chapter in his book "The Sporty Corvair: The One-Car Accident." It was a black eye for Chevrolet, though the book criticized the automotive industry in general for being reluctant to make cars safer.
the Dodge Dart
the Ford Mustang
the Rambler

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What car did Susan Sarandon drive off a cliff in "Thelma & Louise"?
a 1957 Chevy
a 1971 Chevelle
a 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang
a 1966 Ford Thunderbird
Oh, stop complaining about spoilers! You've had nearly 30 years to see this movie, people!

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Which carmaker produced the Bel Air?
Buick
Chevrolet
The Bel Air is the kind of car people think of when they think of classic 50s cars: big, sometimes two-toned, in pastel colors reminiscent of South Florida motels. Fun fact: Some Bel Airs came with fuel injection, long before this was the industry standard.
Ford
Hudson

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Which carmaker produced the Matador?
AMC
Though AMC didn't survive as a company, the Matador was popular in its day. The LAPD ordered a number for use as police cruisers.
Dodge
Ford
Cadillac

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Which of these cars took on the Big Three automakers in the 1940s and lost?
Duesenberg
Holden
Tesla
Tucker
The Tucker 48 was the dream of designer Preston Tucker. Production was shut down during a scandal about Tucker's capital-raising methods, which some people suggest was just a smear campaign by the Big Three. If you want to learn more, check out the film "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," (though it's admittedly slanted, as Francis Ford Coppola is a proud Tucker 48 owner).

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What innovation did the 1948 Buick Roadmaster offer buyers?
dagmars
Dynaflow transmission
Dynaflow was Buick's patented form of automatic transmission. It was said to be smoother than competitors' automatic transmissions.
a mid-engine layout
cruise control

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Which car was the unofficial star of 1971's "Vanishing Point"?
a Chevy Corvette
a Dodge Challenger
"Vanishing Point" is a classic movie about Vietnam-era disillusionment. A veteran and ex-cop takes a Dodge Challenger on a high-speed road trip, earning the ire of the Highway Patrol and the admiration of average Americans.
a Buick Roadmaster
a Ford Thunderbird

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Which year did Chevy first offer the Corvette?
1953
The Corvette has been around for longer than many people realize. Its early incarnations looked a lot like the small, light European cars of the 1950s.
1959
1963
1966

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What kind of car was "Eleanor" in 1974's "Gone in 60 Seconds"?
a Mercedes 300SL
a Ford Mustang
That's right, the prized car in the 1974 film is a piece of classic American rolling steel. The theft of a yellow 1973 Mustang proves strangely difficult for the "hero," Maindrian.
a Jaguar Mark I
a Porsche 911 Targa

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Which of these mid-century luxury cars was named for a mythical city?
Lincoln Continental
Cadillac Eldorado
The city of El Dorado was rumored to be somewhere in northern South America. European expeditions in search of it caused much of the Amazon river and basin to be mapped. And, later, a car to be named!
Buick Riviera
Chrysler Imperial

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Whose brainchild was the Ford Mustang?
Walter P. Chrysler
Edsel Ford
Lee Iacocca
Iacocca was an icon in the 1980s for revitalizing Chrysler. But it was during his term at Ford that he backed the Mustang, in an attempt to help the company recover from its misstep with the Ford Edsel.
Preston Tucker

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Which carmaker, known for solid and boxy cars in the 1970s, made the sleek P1800 sports car?
AMC
Renault
Volvo
The beautiful P1800 looks nothing like the heavy-bodied cars Volvo began making in the 1970s. Fun fact: A P1800 is said to be the longest-serving passenger car, racking up three million miles for its owner.
Volkswagen

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The lead engineer on the first VW Beetle was ______.
Karl Benz
Ed Cole
Ferdinand Porsche
Of course, he's better known for the sports cars that bear his name. But Porsche was a part of the German war effort, and he was lead designer on Germany's "people's car."
Gian Paolo Dallara

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What years did Porsche not make the 911?
1973 - 1977
1981 - 1983
1988 - 1994
The 911 has been in continuous production.
The 911 is one of the most successful sports cars ever made. About one million have been sold since 1963; a solid number for a car with a high price tag.

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Which car did Chevrolet stop offering for a six-year period in the 2000s?
the Camaro
It might have surprised people, but this popular car was discontinued from 2003 to 2009. It's available again today.
the Corvette
the Impala
the Volt

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The Volkswagen that was called the Trekker in the U.K. and the Kurierwagen in Germany was called the _______ in the U.S.
Golf
Jetta
Squareback
Thing
"Thing" is an appropriate name, given that you're almost not sure it should be called a car. A Thing is a convertible with straight-line military styling, akin to a Jeep.

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Which of these was not a secondary name for the Cadillac Eldorado?
Brougham
Biarritz
Seville
Skylark
The Eldorado was a luxury car, and the previous three names reflect that. Biarritz, for example, is an exclusive European resort town. The Skylark was a Buick product.

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Where on a 1950s car would you find "dagmars"?
the side mirrors
the front bumper
Dagmars were cone-shaped projections on the front bumper of full-sized 1950s cars. They were named for a full-figured TV hostess of the time.
the rear fender
the steering wheel

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The Pontiac GTO took the latter part of its name from a ______.
Cadillac
Ferrari
The GTO stands for "Gran Turismo Omologato." The first to have this acronym was the Ferrari 250 GTO.
Lamborghini
Hudson

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What year did the DeLorean DMC-12 reach the market?
1977
1981
We say "reach the market" because the prototype car had been designed some time earlier. The DeLorean never really took off, partly because of an economic slump in the early '80s, and partly because going up against the Big Three was never going to be an easy task.
1985
1988

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What does the name "Corvette" mean?
beautiful woman
a bird of prey
a warship
A corvette is a quick, light warship. It's Camaro that doesn't translate into anything that anyone's heard of.
no one knows

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What type of car did Emma Peel drive in "The Avengers"?
a Ferrari 250 GTO
a Lotus Elan
Diana Rigg played Emma Peel on the sexy spy show, "The Avengers." Her cars, both Lotus Elan convertibles, underscored her free-spiritedness.
a Lamborghini Miura
a gull-wing Mercedes

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What kind of car does Steve McQueen pass several times in the chase scene of "Bullitt"?
a VW Beetle
The same green Beetle is seen several times because the director and editor spliced together repetitive footage to create the chase scene. Well, at least the car was appropriate for the year, 1968. If McQueen had repeatedly passed a prewar Packard, it would have been a lot more noticeable.
a Ford Galaxie
a Ford Fairlane
a Lotus Elan

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Which of these is considered the first muscle car?
the 1957 Chevy Bel Air
the 1964-1/2 Mustang
the Dodge Charger
the Oldsmobile Rocket 88
It might look big and inefficient to modern eyes, but 1949's Rocket 88 had an overhead valve high-compression V8 in a relatively light body. For this reason, it's considered the first muscle car.

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Which of these introduced the concept of the "supercar"?
the Bugatti 57SC
the Pontiac GTO
the Lamborghini Miura
A miura is a type of Italian bull, with surprisingly good foot speed. The Miura car introduced the rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive setup that other supercars would follow.
the gull-wing Mercedes 300SL

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Which decade's Mustang was largely rejected by consumers?
the 1970s
The second generation of Mustangs were considered unattractive and too slow for Mustang fans. To this day, you'll hear people calling the second-generation Mustang a "Farrah Fawcett car" because her character, Jill Munroe, drove one on "Charlie's Angels."
the 1980s
the 1990s
the 2000s

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Which of these design elements does a DeLorean DMC-12 have?
a light-up bust of John DeLorean as a hood ornament
gull-wing doors
a stainless-steel body
both #2 and #3
Don't laugh about the light-up bust! Some DeSotos actually had this, except they were of explorer Hernando DeSoto.

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Which of these is named for two other car models?
the Miura
the Corsair
This compact (for the time) car was a Chevrolet product. Its name is a combination of "Corvette" and "Bel Air."
the LeSabre
the Roadmaster

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Which of these cars was rumored to have a special "high performance" model, of which only 120 were made?
the Volkswagen squareback
the Pontiac GTO
the Volvo 240
the Ford Thunderbird
These were supposed to have rolled out in the mid-1960s. Because the Thunderbirds of that era were heavy-bodied for their engines, the rumor of a 427 cid engine would naturally have caused excitement.

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Carroll Shelby is most associated with which car?
the Cobra
the Espada
the Mustang
either #1 or #3
Shelby, who died in 2012, was a legend in the world of high-performance cars. He is associated with both the Cobra, a British import he outfitted with a V8 engine, and Ford's Shelby Mustangs.

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What kind of Mustang does Clarice Starling drive in "Hannibal"?
a McLaren
a Roush
Thomas Harris, who is very particular about what consumer products he refers to in his books, gives Starling a Roush Mustang in "Hannibal." Starling is said to have bought it cheaply at a law-enforcement auction.
a Shelby
a Saleen

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