We’ve been in a golden age of American high-performance cars since the late 1980s, but did you know that American performance machines have burning rubber since the first American cars hit the road?
Ford may be making headlines with its latest GT supercar and the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500, but what did company founder Henry Ford do in 1901 to win support from investors? He built and drove a racecar and beat more than a dozen others in a 25-lap race on a Michigan dirt oval track. Ever since, American carmakers have been building special high-performance models. In the 1930s, names like Auburn and Duesenberg became synonymous with power and speed.
In the 1950s, American carmakers got into a “horsepower war” with their new wave of V8 engines, and special factory-made performance packages became options for many cars
By the 1960s, Chevy’s Corvette was a world-class sports car that could run with Ferraris, and the Pontiac GTO kicked off a new segment of muscle cars. Automotive media called the GTO and its many competitors “supercars” back in the day, but that term was later used for the 160 mph+ sports cars coming from Europe.
Emissions and fuel economy regulations took a toll on performance in the 1970s, but by the late 1980s, electronic fuel injection, computer controls and other advances solved those issues, and the performance race came roaring back.
We’re betting that most people can’t name 50 of the American performance cars in this quiz. Why don't you give it a try and prove us wrong?