Can You Correctly Answer These Easy, Medium, and Hard Classic Car Questions?

Steven Symes

Image: Silverstone Auctions

About This Quiz

Should you have a degree in classic automotive history? Could you walk into any car museum and trick everyone into thinking you're a tour guide? Do you go to car shows and hang around the really obscure models, hoping you can show off your knowledge of automotive obscurata to strangers?  You should probably get help, but first take this quiz!

The automotive landscape is littered with quite a few vehicles people consider classics. Admittedly, the term "classic" is subjective, at least to an extent. Most would agree it doesn't apply to cars that have been produced within at least the past two or three decades. But, after that, the opinions about what makes a classic start to diverge. Some people pretty much only think about cars from the 1960s, or American-made models, or luxury vehicles, etc. Usually, these fall in line with the personal preferences of the individual. 

It's probably safe to say popular old cars would be considered classics by even the most casual fan of vehicles. That could include the Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Thunderbird and Jaguar E-Type, for example. But, there are many rare and exotic classics only the biggest car fans would know. Just how far does your classic automotive smarts stretch? It's time to put them to the test with this quiz! 

Who's widely credited for the creation of the Ford Mustang?

As Ford reeled from the Edsel disaster, rising star Lee Iacocca had a revolutionary idea: create a car that was stylish, fast and affordable. That combination proved to be a huge hit with Baby Boomers, and the rest is history.

The Austin Healey 3000 was one of the three cars collectively called what?

People refer to the Austin-Healey 3000, 100, and 100-6 as the Big Healeys since they are quite a bit larger than the Sprite, which was made later.

Who originally designed the Volkswagen Beetle?

Despite plenty of folklore claiming that Hitler designed the Beetle, it was actually Ferdinand Porsche himself who penned the famous look of the car. Hitler did throw his support behind its creation, and of course tried to take credit for the project.

What country bought more than half of the Mercedes 280 SLs made?

Americans really loved the 280 SL, snatching up the majority of the over 23,000 manufactured between 1967 and 1971. It was fun, relatively inexpensive, and was a surefire way to show the neighbors you had "arrived."

What car was the AC Cobra based on?

Carroll Shelby was eager to establish himself as an automaker, and he approached AC about making a car body that would accept an American V-8. The combination proved to be explosive.

The Volvo P1800 started out as a convertible, but then morphed into what kind of vehicle?

When it comes to shooting brakes, the P1800 is constantly listed as one of the most sought-after in the world. The final two production years of this model, 1972 and 1973, consisted solely of shooting brakes.

What was the big change introduced with the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II?

Rolls-Royce developed a special 6.2-liter V-8 for the Silver Cloud II, which was introduced in 1959. While it bumped the car's top speed by a decent amount, the main performance gains were peak torque and acceleration.

Which of the following design additions did the Jaguar E-Type not have?

Jaguar really went all-out with the E-Type, not only on the absolutely gorgeous design, but also for the car's engineering. As a result, it could do 0-60 in under 7 seconds and hit 150 mph, which were impressive feats back then.

What did AMC repeatedly call the Pacer in marketing materials?

Even though the Pacer was exceptionally short, its width matched those of domestic full-size cars in the 1970s. That design added to its stability and rather unique looks.

Where did Pontiac get the name for the GTO Judge?

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In TV was a popular program back in the day, and it featured a recurring routine called Here Come de Judge. The Pontiac GTO Judge was stripped down as a way to compete with the low-cost Plymouth Road Runner.

What record did the Triumph TR6 hold, that was subsequently overturned by the TR7?

From 1968 to 1976, Triumph Motor Company made almost 92,000 TR6s, far surpassing the production figures for previous models in the TR range. The vast majority of those cars were exported to other countries.

Where did the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia get its name?

Volkswagen recruited Italian coachbuilder Ghia to design this 2+2, while German coachbuilder Karmann constructed each one by hand, making the vehicle a true masterpiece.

What was the inspiration for the Buick Riviera's name?

Riviera is a Latin word that means "coastline." In France, it's a famous tourist destination known for glitzy yet sophisticated fun on the coast, something you normally wouldn't associate with a Buick.

What design innovation on the Jaguar Mark 2 boosted safety, versus the Mark 1?

Above the waistline, Jaguar completely revised the Mark 2, adding a wider windshield and making the A-pillars more slender. These changes helped drivers see better than before.

Which of the following was not an official name used for the Volkswagen Type 2?

Even though you might have heard people talk about the VW Bus or the VW Camper, those names were never officially used by Volkswagen.

What design quality did the AMC AMX share with the first-generation Ford Thunderbird?

Also making the AMX unique was the short wheelbase, which at the time was unusual among American-made cars, particularly a muscle car.

What first did the Porsche 356 famously achieve?

Even though Ferdinand Porsche had been in the automotive business for a while, it wasn't until 1948 that he was able to finally put his name on one of his creations, making the 356 the first branded Porsche vehicle.

What kind of construction did the MG MGB use?

The MGA and T-types from MG all had a body-on-frame construction, making the MGB a standout. The lighter and stronger construction boosted performance considerably.

What series did Ford make the Mustang Boss 302 for?

The Boss name has only been used a few times in the Mustang's history, and it commands great respect among fans of the pony car.

What version of the Austin-Healey Sprite is referred to as a Spridget?

Badge engineering has been around for a while, and the Mk. II Sprite was converted to an MG Midget by this simple tactic, which is where the nickname originates.

What was the most obvious change with the 1956 Chevrolet Corvette?

Not only was the sports car wearing different skin, it also gained a better top with optional power assist, glass side windows and an optional hardtop, if you didn't like the wind.

Where did Aston Martin get the name of the DB4?

Sir David Brown was the owner of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972, which covered the launch of the DB series and the first several versions of it.

What was different about the Walter Wolf Lamborghini Countach?

Walter Wolf, a rich Canadian who owned the Wolf F1 Racing team, convinced Lamborghini to outfit his personal Countach with the 5.0-liter engine used in the Countach LP500 prototype.

What material is the Morgan +4 frame made of?

Some people have mistakenly been told that Morgan used wood to make the chassis of some cars, which is absurd. Instead, it used ash for the frame, which is almost as absurd.

If you pushed the horn on the Plymouth Road Runner, what sound came out?

Plymouth partnered with Warner Brothers on the Road Runner, not only borrowing the cartoon bird's signature sound, but also using its as spokes-bird in commercials.

What addition made the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A particularly fast?

To keep with SCCA competition rules, Dodge created the Challenger T/A, but decided to make it a real street-legal beast by adding the Holley two-barrel carbs, called the Six Pack, and an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold.

The Cosmo was the first Mazda vehicle to use what technology?

You might mistakenly think Mazda was always about Wankels, but it didn't use one in a car until the 1967 Cosmo, which became the brand's halo car.

What world record did the 1968 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 set?

Instead of using a six-cylinder engine like in the 300SEL, Mercedes-Benz decided to create a monster by dropping the 6.3-liter V-8 from its 600 limo into the smaller car. The result was something that could keep up with sports cars.

What was the Studebaker Avanti's body made of?

Depending on how you look at it, the Avanti was either a brilliant accident or a monumental disaster, and was the last big effort by the dying automaker.

What kind of engine was the DeLorean DMC-12 originally supposed to have?

As fate would have it, the DMC-12 never got the mid-mounted Wankel rotary engine that was originally supposed to power it, thanks to the demise of Comotor, which was to be the supplier. Instead, a PRV V-6 was used.

What kind of seats does a Fiat Jolly have?

The Jolly was just a Fiat 500 that was been modified with the wicker seats and a fringe top. Their purpose was to provide a car to be loaded on yachts and driven off nearby docks.

Where did the Lamborghini Miura get its name from?

Like so many other Lamborghini models, the Miura received its name from the Spanish bullfighting scene, a trend that lives on today.

What was the internal code for the Porsche 911s made from 1995 to 1998?

The last of the air-cooled 911s, this generation has become highly sought after by enthusiasts, collectors and investors for that very fact.

What was the main aim Citroen had when it designed the 2CV?

This post-war French vehicle launched in 1948 and was budget-priced as a way to finally get many farmers and others in rural parts of the country to stop using horses and carts.

When the Cadillac Eldorado debuted, which one of the following wasn't a fellow top-of-the-line convertible from the other GM lines?

In 1953, the Cadillac Eldorado launched to great fanfare. The fact it was able to last for ten production generations, finally meeting its end in 2002, is nothing short of monumental.

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