30 Little Known Facts About Sports Cars

Steven Symes

Image: Doug DeMuro

About This Quiz

Do you enjoy cars that can really move? Sports cars are about more than just flat-out acceleration, even though many of them boast plenty of capability in that area. They're also supposed to serve up tight handling, so you can really carve through a twisting road without much difficulty. 

The term "sports car" wasn't even created until after the close of World War I. The first two sports cars were made in 1910. One was the Prince Henry or Prinz Heinrich Vauxhall. The other was the 27/80PS Austro-Daimler, which was designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche himself. Both cars would be considered laughably underpowered, slow, and not great handlers by today's standards. 

Are you a sports car nut? Can you pick out the different makes and models, or even better, the model years, of sports cars as they drive by? Can you identify a sports car just from the exhaust sound? This quiz is designed to really test your knowledge of obscure facts. See just how many you know by taking the quiz right now! 

Where did Porsche get the name for the Cayman?

To give its new sports car an aggressive name, Porsche selected the amphibious predator. It's not a reference to the Cayman Islands, despite popular lore. Porsche also sued Crocs when the footwear company came out with a line by the same name.

What famous tuner and former race car driver drove the Dodge Viper pace car at the 1990 Indianapolis 500?

The man who most people associate with Ford, but who also had a strong relationship with Chrysler, was selected to drive a pre-production Viper after racing fans objected to the Dodge Stealth pacing the race.

What's uncommon about the current Acura NSX's cylinder banks?

The 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the NSX has two cylinder banks that sit at 75 degrees, something you don't see in too many V-6, V-8, V-10, or even V-12 engines ever.

Why did Honda use a 75-degree angle for the NSX cylinder banks?

With a tighter angle, the NSX's engine lowers the car's center of gravity some, which is great for handling. That angle also helps cut down on excessive vibrations, a nice bonus.

What did Lotus use for the Elise chassis?

Lotus is famous for lightweighting, so it only makes sense that the company chose a lightweight yet rigid material for the Elise when it launched in 1996.

What was the Lotus Elise body shell made of?

The other major lightweighting innovation was the hand-finished fiberglass body shell. Not only did it look amazing, it helped the car achieve an amazing curb weight of less than 1,600 pounds.

What did the original Corvette badge have that was quickly dropped?

Originally, the Corvette badge had a checkered flag and American flag crossed. The design was changed when the company learned that using the U.S. flag for commercial products was illegal at the time.

Who came up with the name for the Corvette?

Myron Scott was a photographer for GM, and he was the one who threw out the name "Corvette" when others were considering sea animals.

The Toyota Supra started off as a variation of what model line?

In 1978, Toyota revealed the Celica Supra, which was aimed at the Datsun Z and offered a more luxurious driving experience, including a nice V-6 engine.

What does the "DB" in the Aston Martin DB5's name stand for?

Sir David Brown was the owner of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972, so the DB5, as well as the DB4 and other DB models, were named to honor him.

What is the chassis code for the Alfa Romeo 4C?

This mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive Italian sports car isn't exactly made for comfort, considering air conditioning is optional and there's little in the way of sound insulation.

How many F-Type concepts did Jaguar produce?

The first F-Type concept, which only shared the name but had nothing to do with the modern car, was produced in 1982. It didn't result in a new model, thanks to Ford taking over the brand and putting a stop to the efforts.

Where did BMW originally make all its Z4s?

BMW has a large production facility in South Carolina, but in 2008 the company moved Z4 production to Regensburg, Germany.

What has the Boxster been credited for doing?

While enthusiasts decried the Porsche Boxster back in the day, the fact is the sports car pulled Porsche from the brink of financial ruin since it brought in a ton of sales.

What was different about the Fiat Abarth 124 Rally's rear suspension?

For FIA homologation, Fiat created this sportier version of the 124. It also featured a fixed roof, lighter body panels, and various engine upgrades.

What does the "SL" for the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class stand for?

American car importer Max Hoffman is credited with giving Mercedes-Benz the idea for the first SL, which launched in 1954.

What kind of doors did the first Mercedes-Benz SL have?

Because the doors on the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL opened upwards and resembled a bird's wings, they were called gullwing doors, a design element not present in the current SL.

What was the Mitsubishi 3000GT called in the Japanese domestic market?

From 1990 to 1999, Mitsubishi wowed the automotive world with the 3000GT or GTO. It was also sold as the Dodge Stealth, with some cosmetic changes.

What was the chassis code for the first generation of the Toyota MR2?

This mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car is a legend, with rumors about Toyota making it once more constantly flying around.

Who originally came up with the idea for the Mazda Miata?

Bob Hall is often credited with telling Mazda executives they should make an inexpensive roadster patterned after the old British roadsters, back in 1976.

What celebration did the release of the Honda S2000 mark?

When Honda launched the S2000 in 1999, the automaker had been operating for 50 years, so it was a phenomenal way to celebrate that milestone.

What kind of a forced induction setup did the third-generation Mazda RX-7 have?

Even though some people think this engine is temperamental, the FD's twin-turbo engine has been used successfully in motorsports, if you know how to tune it properly.

The Pontiac Fiero has a name that comes from what two languages?

GM decided to go with an exotic name, which means "very proud" in Italian and "ferocious" in Spanish.

What other model was supposed to debut with the original Corvette LT-1?

Thanks to production issues, what was supposed to be the pinnacle of Corvette big block performance was canceled, leaving the LT-1 to make history by itself.

Who manufactures the Toyota 86?

Toyota and Subaru jointly developed the 86 and BRZ, but Subaru is the company that actually manufactures all the cars. The Toyotas were originally the Scion FR-S in the U.S.

Where did Toyota get the name for the 86?

Drifters and tuners still highly regard the AE86 for its amazing handling and drifting capabilities, and the Toyota 86 lives up to that kind of reputation.

What subsidiary was responsible for developing the first Audi TT RS?

Like other Audi RS models, the TT RS was developed by quattro GmbH, but it was the first RS model to be made in the same factory as the other versions of the car.

What does the "SLK" stand for in the Mercedes SLK-Class name?

In German, sportlich means sporty and leicht means light, which are the same letters used for the SL-Class. The "K" is kurz or short.

What was the code name used for the Lexus LC during development?

It took Toyota five years, from 2011 to 2016, to develop the car, which was based on the LF-LC Concept shown off in 2012.

From where did Nissan get the name for the Fairlady Z?

A Nissan executive saw "My Fair Lady" on Broadway and decided the new sports car would be similarly graceful, but that name was never used in North America.

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