Take a Drive Down Memory Lane and See If You Remember These Auto Classics


By: Dave Davis

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Stefan Krause

About This Quiz

Modern cars are much more technologically advanced than their ancestors, with improved safety and control equipment and features that would have been science fiction just a few years earlier. Still, there's something about the classic style and lines of automobiles from the early to mid-1900s that captures the imagination of both the casual car admirer and the hardcore vintage collector. So, which end of the spectrum are you on? Since you're here, you obviously have an interest in cars but are you a window shopper or do you have a fever for iconic styles and streamlined dreams? This quiz will find out!

For some, these vehicles aren't just dreams but dreams come true. For those with the foresight to see trends and the wherewithal to buy, maintain and restore these vehicles, the collector market can be lucrative — one of the vehicles we'll be looking at in this quiz sold in 2018 for $70 million. Not a bad return on investment. And sometimes a classic vehicle, long since forgotten, will be hanging out in a family barn, ready for a huge payday.

It's not all about the money, though. For more than a century, these cars have been a part of our shared human history. Heroes, villains, pioneers and people from all walks of life have sat behind the wheel at one time or another. The cars tell a story not only of the owner but of the society that built them. As our culture has changed, so have our cars — and sometimes cars change the culture.

So, strap in and get ready to return to an era of V12 engines, huge streamlined bodies and style that modern cars can't touch! How many of these classic cars will you remember? Let's find out!

Which car went through a lot of changes throughout its long life, but began as Ford's answer to the Chevy Corvette?

Starting out life in 1955 as a slick two-seater (shown here) designed to take on Chevrolet's new Corvette sports car, the first generation of the Ford Thunderbird quickly outstripped expectations. Ford had planned to build 10,000 the first year but wound up making more than 16,000 to meet demand. The car became a larger four-seater in its second generation and wore a lot of styles during its 11-generation run, which ended in 1997. It briefly made a comeback in 2001 but was retired again in 2005.


Can you name this iconic American sports car that, in the '70s and '80s, was a star of both movies and TV?

Introduced in 1969, the Trans Am was a specialty package available to the Pontiac Firebird that gave the vehicle upgraded suspension, handing and horsepower, along with cosmetic modifications. One of these modifications was the "Trans Am Hood Decal," as the company called it, or the "Screaming Chicken" as it became known to both fans and foes of the design. The Trans Am variation showed up in films such as "Smokey and the Bandit," "Hooper," "Rocky II" and was the basis of KITT, the co-star of TV's "Knight Rider." A second-generation 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is shown here.


Which vehicle helped to kick NASCAR off right, dominating the sport in the early 1950s?

The Hudson Hornet, made by Hudson from 1951 through 1954 and then by AMC (after it acquired Hudson) from 1955 through 1957, was a large tub of a car, with a low center of gravity that lent itself to racing. This was key when Hudson became the first automaker to get involved in stock car racing and the fledgling NASCAR racing circuit. Drivers racing the Hornet won 27 NASCAR races in those early days and dominated the track.


Named after a fighter airplane from World War II, which British sports car was a hit for those with tight budgets yearning for style?

The Triumph Spitfire, named after the RAF's Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft and based on the earlier Triumph Herald family car, premiered at the London Motor Show in 1962. Designed by Italian car legend Giovanni Michelotti, the Spitfire was a stylish yet affordable option for those on a budget who wanted the sports car lifestyle. Available as a convertible for its entire run through 1980, a coupe model was available from 1967 to 1973. A first-generation Triumph Spitfire 4 (or Mk 1) is shown here.


A future James Bond drove this sports car — made by a company not known for such vehicles — earlier in his career. Which one was is?

Introduced in 1961 as a way for Volvo to compete against other European carmakers in the American sports car market, the P1800 offered style at an affordable price. Its status was raised when pre-Bond Roger Moore drove a P1800 on his TV series, "The Saint." Not only was the 2+2 coupe sporty, but this car was also as reliable as you'd expect from Volvo. The world record for most miles driven on a private vehicle — more than 3 million — was set on a P1800


The animal name given to which British vehicle from the 1930s would later be used to rename its company, revered to this day?

Introduced in 1936, this beautiful car with a long, streamlined hood was given an animal name, as was the fashion of the day. The SS "Jaguar" 100 inspired the shareholders of its British maker, SS Cars, to change its name to Jaguar Cars Limited (The "SS" stood for "Swallow Sidecar," which no longer fit the image of the automaker). The "100" came from its theoretical top speed of 100 mph, driven by its 3.5-liter straight-six engine. A 1939 Jaguar SS100 is shown here.


Which classic vehicle served as the basis for Ecto-1 in the film "Ghostbusters"?

A car that lasted for 12 generations, the Cadillac Eldorado went into production in 1952. For most of its production run, which lasted until 2002, the Eldorado was at the top or very near the top of the Cadillac line. The car went through many iterations over its long life, but it was always considered one of the premier American luxury vehicles. The ambulance/hearse "professional" model of a 1959 Eldorado was also the frame used for the iconic Ecto-1 in "Ghostbusters." Shown here is a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz.


The design has changed greatly over its eight generations, but which name still brings a smile to car enthusiasts around the world?

The first public showing of the concept car that would become the Corvette was in early 1953, when it was displayed as a "dream car" at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Later that year, the first production model rolled off the assembly line (shown here on June 30, 1953). The car has undergone several changes in its eight generations, but it's never lost the love of the car enthusiasts. The latest generation — with its first-for-Corvette mid-mounted engine — hits the showroom floor in 2020.


Which model served as the villainous title character in the film "Christine"?

Christine, the crimson car with a thirst for mayhem and vengeance, was a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Fury. Besides its ability to regenerate (28 Belvederes and similar-looking Savoys were used in filming), Christine has another difference: The standard color for that year and model wasn't red, but Sandstone White. Christine was painted Toreador Red with an Iceberg White top.


Which vehicle got its start as Edsel Ford's personal vehicle and went on to have a 10-generation run, becoming a legend?

In 1938, Ford Motor Company President Edsel Ford was planning a vacation and commissioned a personal vehicle. With a design based on the Lincoln-Zephyr, that vehicle became the Lincoln Continental. Hitting the streets for the 1940 model year, the first-generation Continentals had a powerful V12 engine and long, elegant lines (Frank Lloyd Wright — who bought two — called the 1940 model "The most beautiful car ever designed"). Shown here is a 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe.


One of the most successful racing cars in history, which vehicle from the 1920s had two carburetors and could travel almost 135 mph?

The Bugatti Type 35 was a powerhouse in the early days of auto racing, taking home more than 1,000 victories between 1924 and 1930. The vehicle was a showcase of then-cutting-edge automotive technology, including an improved crankshaft, double carburetors and lightweight construction. This led to multiple speed records and a string of victories that cemented its place in the history books. Shown here is a Bugatti Type 35C.


Which German car was built on the frame of a proven winner and given some Italian style?

Introduced in 1955, the Karmann Ghia was Volkswagen's attempt to add some new style to its post-war image, Available as a two-door convertible or coupe, the vehicle was built on the chassis of the company's Type 1 — or Beetle. The car was formed with the help of Italian design house Carrozzeria Ghia and car manufacturer Karmann, which hand-built the vehicle's bodywork. It hit European streets in 1955, with export to America following the next year. Shown here is a 1958 VW Karmann Ghia Type 14.


The unique design of which vehicle required a different kind of door and gave the car its famous avian nickname?

This revolutionary vehicle introduced in 1952 was the first new racing car developed by Mercedes-Benz after World War II. Built to be light (the "SL" stands for "super light"), the frame weighed just more than 110 pounds. Because of the design, however, traditional doors couldn't be used. Mercedes-Benz improvised and came up with doors that instead of opening to the side opened up, resembling the wings of a bird. The 300SL "Gullwing" was made through 1963. Shown at left is a 1957 300SL Roadster, and at right is a 1956 300SL Gullwing.


At $70 million, which exceedingly rare, highly prized sports car set a record for the publicly reported selling price of a vehicle?

The Ferrari 250 GTO holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and fans. Only 36 of this model were built by Ferrari between 1962 and 1964 in order to qualify it for racing (interestingly, the rules in 1962 said that 100 vehicles in the line must have been produced; legend has it that Enzo Ferrari fooled inspectors by presenting the same cars multiple times). A 1962 model was purchased by WeatherTech founder David MacNeil in 2018 for $70 million. Shown here is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO chassis 3851GT.


Which line was named after the company's owner and was a favorite of a certain super spy?

Named after Aston Martin's owner Sir David Brown, the DB series is perhaps the most recognizable of the company's products, and none more so than the DB5. Released between 1963 and 1965, only a little more than 1,000 were created. The car shot to fame, however, when it became Sean Connery's ride in the James Bond film "Goldfinger" in 1964 (and "Thunderball" the following year). The car also had it where it counts, with an inline-six engine capable of 314 hp.


Models of this sleek vehicle were developed with armored sides and bullet-proof glass for Nazi leaders in the early 1940s. Can you name it?

Introduced in 1936 with a stylized, streamlined frame and a powerful 5.4-liter eight-cylinder engine, the Mercedes-Benz 540K was a beauty that many higher-ups in the German leadership desired. After an assassination attempt on a high-ranking SS officer, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942, only armored vehicles were approved for leaders. Several armored 540Ks were delivered between 1942 and 1944.


Even though it was late to the "pony" show, which piece of American muscle, still on the road today, quickly made a name for itself?

Introduced in 1970, the Dodge Challenger might have been late to the party — Ford had kicked off the pony car wars in 1964 — but this car was a worthy entry. Chrysler's first attempt to take on the Mustang, the Barracuda, didn't sell as well as hoped, so the company took another, better swing with the Challenger with what it hoped was something for everyone — it offered no less than eight engine options and multiple trim levels. The car is now in its third generation. Shown here is a first-generation 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A.


Which personal luxury car was Oldsmobile's answer to Ford's Thunderbird four-seater?

At a length of 18 feet and a weight of almost 4,500 pounds, the first-generation Oldsmobile Toronado (shown here) was hard to miss. Thanks to its sleek style and unique lines, however, it was a pleasure to see. The car became smaller and lost most of its design flair over its four-generation production life, but when it first hit the roads in 1966, it was a sight to behold. Also, with a 385-horsepower engine and a top speed of 135 mph, it was fun to drive as well.


One of the most powerful pre-war vehicles ever produced, which model hit the streets a year before the stock market crashed?

Built for both luxury and power, the Duesenberg Model J was released in 1928, just a year before the stock market crash that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression. A beautiful and powerful vehicle (later specialty models had a supercharger capable of 400 hp; Model T's of the same era had around 40), the car was expensive. The base model started at $9,000, which is the equivalent of around $128,000 in today's dollars — a true status symbol in an economically devastated market. Shown here is a 1929 Duesenberg Model J 350 Sedan.


Coming out of World War II, demand for a fun sports car surprised the manufacturer who made this British two-seater. Can you name it?

Introduced in 1948 and its first sports car since 1940, the Jaguar XK120 quickly found an audience in the post-war world. Jaguar had only intended to make a few hundred vehicles in the line, but demand pushed the automaker to create more than 12,000 before finishing production in 1954. The XK120 holds the distinction for being the first foreign-made car to win a NASCAR race when it scored a road-course victory in New Jersey in 1954. Shown here is a 1953 Jaguar XK120 DHC (drophead coupe).


Which vehicle's abbreviation stands for "Super Sport Short" in German?

Introduced in 1928 and designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the sleek Mercedes-Benz SSK got its name from its shorter wheelbase — at 116 inches, it was 19 inches shorter than the previous Model S. The two-door roadster had a supercharged 7.0-liter straight-six 197-horsepower engine with a top speed of around 115 mph, one of the fastest cars of the time. It won numerous races around the world during its production run, which ended in 1934.


Which Nissan car put the automaker on the map for U.S. sports car lovers?

First released in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z, the renamed Datsun 240Z hit North American shores in late 1969. The two-seater coupe was given a 2.4-liter inline-six 151-horsepower engine (the Japanese Fairlady Z had only a 2.0-liter power plant because bigger engines were taxed at a higher rate), the 240Z took the American market by storm and provided a solid foundation for the Z-car series that is still being made to this day.


Competing with it to this day, which pony car, developed under the code name "Panther," was Chevy's answer to the Ford Mustang?

Although it arrived on the scene in the 1967 model year shown here — a few years after the Mustang — Chevy's entry into the pony car race quickly made up ground. Offering a number of engines and options, the first Camaros were largely based on the Chevy II Nova. The model sold a little over 220,000 the first year, compared to 480,000 Mustangs in that same period. The car went on to be a common sight on the street and the motorsports circuit and is made to this day.


Although over 100,000 of this British sports car were made, they are difficult to find in the U.K. — 95% were exported. What's the vehicle?

Produced from 1955 to 1962, the MG MGA was a British car that was popular around the world — out of just more than 100,000 MGAs produced, only about 5,800 were sold in the U.K. Part of this is due to the car being available in kit form and assembled in countries including Ireland, Holland, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Mexico and Cuba. First fitted with a 1.5-liter inline-four engine, the power plant was upgraded to a 1.6-liter by the end of the MGA's run. Shown here is an MG MGA 1600 Roadster


James Dean was going to drive this vehicle in a race but lost his life in it the night before. Can you name it?

At the age of 24, actor and racing enthusiast James Dean traded his Porsche 356 Super Speedster in for a Porsche 550, intent on racing after finishing work on the film "Giant" (he was contractually prohibited from racing during the filming of the movie). The day before he was to compete in the Salinas Road Race, Dean was hit and killed by a vehicle crossing the centerline at the junction of California Highways 46 (then 466) and 41. Shown here is a Porsche 550 Spyder.


Designed to fill the need for new car designs in a post-war market, which car represented the hopes of its maker before the dream crumbled?

The Tucker 48 was the idea of aspiring automaker Preston Tucker, who saw the need for new designs and the lack of new ideas coming out of Detroit after World War II. Production began on the Tucker 48 in 1947, to be released in the 1948 model year (thus, the vehicle's name). Only 50 were ever made, however; Tucker was the subject of a stock fraud investigation and, while he was fully acquitted, his company was ruined. A movie, "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," was released in 1988 telling Tucker's story.


This was a beautiful vehicle, but it almost bankrupted its company in the 1950s. Which car is it?

One of the first vehicles produced by BMW after World War II, the 507 was to mark the company's return to its pre-war reputation of making top-of-the-line sports cars. While the 3.1-liter four-speed manual was mechanically a success, the unexpectedly high price of manufacturing derailed BMW's plans for the model. Far from the 5,000 per year that the company had envisioned, only 252 were built between 1956 and 1959 and the cost almost sank BMW.


Often seen in the modified Hot Rod circuit, which vehicle was the first commercially successful car with a V8 engine?

While it wasn't the first car with a V8 (French companies produced race cars, Rolls-Royce made a few copies of vehicles and the Hewitt Motor Company built a touring car with a V8 in America), the Ford Model B (1932) was the first to offer the powerful engine in a mass-produced vehicle. Highly modified versions of this historic model are frequently seen at Hot Rod conventions, and a customized 1932 Ford Coupe is featured on the cover of the Beach Boys' 1963 album "Little Deuce Coupe."


Which line of V12 sports cars had seven models during its 17-year run, but fewer than 200 vehicles ever made?

Aimed at the North American audience looking for top-line sports cars, the Ferrari America series didn't have a wide release, but it was never intended to. Quality over quantity was Ferrari's plan with the model, ranging from the first model (shown here, the Ferrari 340 America, with 23 produced between 1950 and 1952) to the final model (the Ferrari 365 California, with 14 made between 1966 and 1967). All models offered V12 engines and manual transmissions.


Which of these vehicles can arguably be called the first American muscle car?

Hitting the roads in 1949, some consider the Oldsmobile 88 to be the first muscle car, well before the term hit the gearhead consciousness. Compared to what came after, the 88 wasn't that fast (its top speed was 97) and couldn't jump off the line very quickly (0 to 60 mph in 13 seconds). Still, with its new powerful overhead-valve Rocket V8 and lighter, streamlined body, this proto-muscle made an impact that would be felt for decades to come. Shown here is a first-generation 1949 Oldsmobile 88.


While a bit of a dud on the sales floor, which Chrysler model had a major impact on vehicle design?

Chrysler engineers used wind tunnel tests and even consulted with flight pioneer Orville Wright to design the Chrysler Airflow, released in 1934 (shown here). This vehicle was one of the first production vehicles to be designed after an in-depth study of the concepts of aerodynamics and streamlining to combat wind resistance. While the public didn't respond well to the futuristic design (the car was retired in 1937), concepts developed for the Airflow changed the course of automobile design.


Which vehicle was its manufacturer's first production breakthrough into the grand tourer class?

Previously known for its racing cars and bespoke handmade vehicles for an exclusive clientele, the Maserati 3500 GT was the company's first foray into higher production. Around 2,000 of the vehicles were produced between 1957 and 1964 which might not sound like a lot when compared to other manufacturers, but prior to that Maserati had only produced 140 vehicles in the previous 10 years. The 3500 GT's success was a huge boon for the company.


Which vehicle was intended to shake up the image of its Japanese manufacturer?

Motorsports fever was on the rise in Japan after the success of the first and second Japanese Grand Prix races in 1963 and 1964, stoking the market's desire for high-performance Japanese-made vehicles. Working with Yamaha, Toyota sought to fill this niche with the 2000GT, a sleek two-seater that went on to set records on the track for speed and endurance. There were only 351 produced between 1967 and 1970, but the vehicle signaled Toyota's entry into the motorsports world.


This was the manufacturer's lowest-priced vehicle but had the appearance of an upscale model — and a problematic name. Which car was it?

During 1927, Studebaker renamed and updated its Standard Six mode for 1928, dubbing it the Dictator to denote that it "dictated the standard" of all the cars that would come after. While there weren't initially any problems with it in the U.S., the name didn't play well in many parts of the world, especially in European monarchies. It was known as the "Director" in those countries. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, however, prompted Studebaker to change the name to "Commander" in 1937. Shown here is a 1927 Studebaker Dictator 4-door sedan.


While it didn't have a powerful engine, which lightweight car performed well both on the track and on the streets?

Made from 1957 through 1963, the Lotus Elite was a departure from the kit and racing vehicles the company had become known for making. This two-seater only had a 1.2-liter engine, but it only weighed 1,100 pounds thanks to its fiberglass body structure. Add to this an aerodynamic style that cut through the air, and this car made the most of what it had under the hood. A larger second-generation Elite was offered between 1974 and 1982. Shown here is a 1960 Lotus Elite Type 14.


Which racing car from the 1930s had a V16 rear-mounted engine and was a showcase of German engineering for the time?

This vehicle, made by the company that would go on to become the modern-day Audi, developed its racer in competition with Mercedes-Benz in an effort to dominate auto racing. The Auto Union developed four different racers — Types A through D. The racers had their V16 engine in the rear, gas tank in the middle and the driver in front. While this configuration simplified the mechanics, the car was difficult to control.


Which car from the 1930s was powerful and, with a multitude of options available, could be built to personal tastes?

There were nearly 70 body styles available for the Cadillac V-16, and when you add that to its additional trim and color options, that meant almost every vehicle in the line was unique. In addition to its style choices, this top-of-the-line model, introduced in 1930 and discontinued in 1940, was the first American car to offer a V16 engine. Unfortunately, it had the bad timing to be released just after the start of the Great Depression and only a little more than 4,000 were ever made. Shown here is a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster.


One of the world's most valuable vehicles, only 710 of which pre-war French model were made?

French car designer Jean Bugatti gave classic lines and elegant style to the Type 57, made between 1934 and 1940. Available as a saloon, convertible or coupe, this grand tourer had two variants — the original Type 57 and the Type 57S/SC, which was lower. The beauty and the scarcity of this vehicle have made it desirable for collectors with a big budget; a 1937 Type 57 that was found in a garage brought 3.4 million Euros at a motor show in Paris in 2009.


While later models would become more famous, which vehicle was the Porsche's first production car?

The first car ever to wear the Porsche nameplate was the Porsche 356, released in 1948. Designed by Ferry Porsche, the son of company founder Ferdinand Porsche, the 356 was available as a coupe, convertible or roadster and came equipped with more powerful engines as time went on. About 76,000 356s were produced through 1965; it was replaced by the iconic Porsche 911. A 356 C Coupe is shown here.


With a name that conjures visions of old-world affluence, which car replaced the famous Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost?

The longest-running automotive nameplate in history, the Rolls-Royce Phantom was introduced in 1925 and offered a 7.6-liter inline-six engine which gave the vehicle, as the automaker put it, "sufficient" power (it generated around 50 horsepower). The first-generation Phantom was replaced by the Phantom II in 1931 (the first of the line was never referred to as "Phantom I" by the maker). In its nine-decade history, there have only been eight generations of Phantoms; the Phantom VIII was released in 2017. Shown here is a first-generation 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom.


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