How Much Do You Know About American-Made Cars?

By: Mark Lichtenstein
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

America has a long and proud tradition of car manufacture, going back more than a century. Many kinds of cars evolved in America because America has seen the need for many types. How much do you know about them?

What is the best-selling American vehicle?

The Ford F-150 has sold over 34,000,000 units in the United States alone

What is the best-selling Chevy of all time?

The Chevy Impala sold over 13,000,000 units from 1958 to 1996

What American car introduced the world to "optioning" a car?

The Ford Mustang could be had as a base model back in the 1960s, but it was created with trim options, allowing buyers to tack on mostly cosmetic changes they would otherwise have to make by hand.

Which of the following brands is not American?

Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota, which is Japanese

What kind of car was the iconic New York taxis of the 1940s?

The Checker cabs of New York, so called by most people because of the checkered design down the belt line, was actually named for the brand. It is noteworthy that other brands also made New York taxis, including DeSoto. All of these companies are now defunct.

Which of the following brands used to be American?

Aston Martin was owned by The Ford Motor Company for many years, and shared many components with Ford cars available in the USA and Europe.

What car was featured in the film Vanishing Point?

For the film Vanishing Point, the filmmakers decided to use a Dodge because Chrysler had done a lot of favors for 20th Century Fox over the years, and they wanted to show their gratitude. Strangely, Dodge Challengers are often villains' cars.

What was the car the hero drove in the film Bullitt?

Steve McQueen, a huge car enthusiast, drives a Ford Mustang in the film, including in the iconic chase scene through San Francisco.

What was the car from the Steven Spielberg film Duel?

Duel wasn't exactly an endorsement of the Valiant, as it is shown constantly breaking down and putting the life of the hero in danger, but without the car, the plot of the film would not be the same.

Who was the most transformative figure in the American car industry?

Lee Iacocca changed the way both Ford and Chrysler did business in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, retiring in 1992.

What was Iacocca's major innovation at Ford?

Lee backed the development of the Mustang, the most iconic of muscle cars.

What was Lee Iacocca's innovation at Chrysler?

Lee Iacocca realized that if you put a big engine from a truck in a car, you got a muscle car, and if you could detune a V8 from a muscle car to produce fewer horses, you could stick it a luxury barge and it would last a thousand years. These decisions changed the face of car manufacture, and is the reason you can buy a Lincoln MKZ, which underneath the nice leather and fancy bodywork, is just a Ford Fusion.

What is the stereotype of the American drive type?

American cars were long resistant to the pull of other drive types, but eventually they made their way into the American car landscape.

What is the reality of the American cardrive type, in Chevy?

Perhaps because of the influence of Lee Iacocca, since GM shares Chevy engineering with brands it owns all over the world, most of the current Chevy car lineup is front wheel drive.

What type of custom American car has evolved from the culture around "chopping" motorcycles?

Ratrods are cars that have had all the bodywork stripped off so you can see their works, like Harley Davidson motorcycles

Where in the USA do people go to test their cars' top speeds, off road?

The Bonneville Salt Flats are a prime destination for speed freaks who want to put the pedal down, but due to the nature of racing on a salt surface, getting up to speed doesn't work the way you'd think it would.

What model of car was used to make the time machine in Back To The Future?

The DMC-12, the only car made by the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was a bit of a cultural icon even before Marty McFly. There were charges of drug crimes, and there were manufacturing issues, never mind that the eccentric car came in one color: no paint at all.

What car was used as KITT in the television series Knight Rider?

The Trans Am was the "affordable" GM "wedge car" in the early 1980s. Essentially a less nice version of the Corvette, it was more interesting-looking because it didn't hew completely to the lines of its iconic, Iacocca-inspired cousin. As a result, it created its own look, like the child of a celebrity. Now these machines are worth more than their (at the time) more expensive cousins.

Why did Pontiac stop making the Trans Am

The Trans Am Series, an organized race that had allowed GM to include "The Trans Am Package" as a trim level, stopped allowing GM to do so, because the car could not qualify for the race under the rules at the time.

Is the Trans Am, sorry, the "Firebird" making a comeback?

Trans Am Depot has been making modified GM cars into "Trans Ams" for several years, and there are rumors that Buick, which is owned by GM, is going to revive it as a Buick version of the Camaro.

Why did chauffeurs love the Lincoln Town Car?

While an executive sedan with a V8 that only produces 239 bhp doesn't sound like a great idea, by only using a little of the total muscle available to that engine, Ford created an engine that lasts decades without any major problems, and a car that is smooth and comfortable.

Why don't 'muricans seem to care about handling as much as foreigners?

Because the interstate highway system was built so we could use them as improvised landing strips (a trick we learned when we invaded Germany and its autobahn), the roads where you can really go fast tend to be very straight. As a result, the idea is to keep the car straight and just keep shifting gears, none of which requires decent handling.

What ridiculously overpriced foreign car has loads of terrible American car parts in it?

Indeed, as both a product of Fiat/Chrysler and the ugly stepsister of Ferarri, the "budget friendly" Maserati four-door features plastic dashboard controls from cheap Dodges and a price north of $80,000

What American car brands do Australians get into fights over?

Mad Max's Ford Falcon made a lot of people fans of the oval, but in Australia, battle lines were already drawn with some Holden (GM) fans on one side and Ford ones on the other. Where did you think all the villains came from in that movie?

What was the last car you could buy new with a tape player?

That's right, the Crown Victoria could be had in 2011 with a tape player option. Then, no more. You can't get one as standard trim, but you could probably get a shop to put one in. Just have them stick it next to your abacus and your box brownie.

What happened when Ford was testing the roof strength of the Ford GT?

That's right, the mid-2000s Ford GT, which was built from plastic and aluminum, broke the machine meant to crush it when it was tested by Ford. The details are sketchy, though, so it may be a bit of a Ford publicity stunt.

What modern car also claims to have broken the roof crushing machine?

That's right, Tesla also did it, and then claimed they had a 5.4 star crash test rating, but there is no such thing.

Why did the Town Car dominate the stretch business?

Body on frame construction makes lengthening the car easy: You just take the body off, and lengthen the frame.

What was the last American car to feature an LSA engine?

While many remember the CTS-V as the last American car to sport this type of engine, it was the Corvette that carried it to 2015, long past the CST-V had abandoned it.

What is the name for the major engineering flaw underpinning the Jeep Wrangler?

When Jeep Wranglers hit a short bump of sufficient size (about the size of a 4x4 piece of wood laid across the road) at a sufficient speed, it induces an injury to the suspension, causing the wheels to wobble violently, sending the car out of control, and soon thereafter, to the shop for thousands of dollars in repairs.

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