HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Prop-Driven Car Quiz
by Staff
Why, did prop-driven cars fail to take off, even though they accomplished some noteworthy strides? Can you keep up with the Helica (or is it the Helicron)? Take this quiz to find out!

Propeller-driven cars had unique, distinctive body shapes. What inspired the design of prop-driven cars?

  • Sailboats
  • Airplanes
  • Hot-air balloons

We're accustomed to automobiles that function like living rooms -- temperature controlled with entertainment at the ready, isolated from the hazards of the road. But prop-driven cars offered a much different sensory experience. Why was the cockpit open, despite the obvious dangers?

  • Open cockpits were typical of automobiles and aircraft of the era.
  • It was the best way to enjoy the aromas of the French countryside.
  • Engineers were experimenting with ejection seats, and didn't want a roof to get in the way of a bailout.

How did a prop-driven car run in reverse?

  • They couldn't go in reverse.
  • The driver switched the propeller to the "reverse" setting, and the change in airflow pushed the car backward.
  • The driver shifted the transmission to reverse.

Where were the cars' propellers mounted?

  • The propeller was on the front of the car's body.
  • The propeller was on a post above the driver.
  • The propeller was on either the front or the back of the car's body.

Which of these cars was produced and sold to customers?

  • The Helicron.
  • The Helica.
  • The Helipod.

Marcel Leyat designed the Helica, one of the most well known prop-driven cars. Where did the Helica's name come from?

  • It was named after the helicopter.
  • It was the nickname of Leyat's wife.
  • It was derived from the French word for "propeller."

Why did Marcel Leyat believe the Helica would be successful?

  • It was more affordable than other cars.
  • He thought it would improve fuel economy.
  • It was pretty.

How many propeller-driven cars did Marcel Leyat build?

  • He built 25 to 30 cars.
  • He built only the six documented Helicas.
  • No one really knows, because his records were destroyed in a fire.

So, how did a prop-driven car work, anyway?

  • Like a wind turbine: the propeller powered the motor that turned the car's wheels.
  • The propeller caught the wind, which pushed the car along like a sailboat.
  • Powered by an engine, the propeller spun and moved the car forward.

Which of these typical components were absent from prop-driven cars?

  • The transmission
  • The steering wheel
  • The engine

Which one-of-a-kind prop-driven car was rediscovered in 2000?

  • The Leyat Special Edition
  • The Helicar
  • The Helicron

Where can the Helicron currently be seen?

  • The Helicron is at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville.
  • You can see the Helicron at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois.
  • The Helicron currently belongs to a reclusive French car collector.

How much does the Helicron weigh?

  • The Helicron weights 400 pounds (181.4 kilograms).
  • The Helicron and its propeller each weigh 250 pounds (113.4 kilograms), for a total of 500 (226.8 kilograms).
  • The Helicron weighs 1000 pounds (453.6 kilograms).

What kind of engine was originally in the Helicron?

  • An ABC Scorpion engine
  • A Harley-Davidson engine
  • A Citroen engine

What design element of prop-driven cars can be seen on modern hybrid cars?

  • Disc brakes
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Spoke wheels

How fast could the first prop-driven cars go?

  • They could go about 40 miles per hour (64.4 kilometers per hour).
  • There was no way to record speeds back then.
  • Some cars could go up to 85 miles per hour (136.8 kilometers per hour).

What was the fastest way to stop a prop-driven car?

  • Push the brake pedal
  • Reverse the propeller's direction
  • Drift it sideways

What state almost hosted mass production of a prop-driven car, and when?

  • California, in 1989.
  • California, in 1955.
  • South Carolina, in 1940.

What did The New York Times predict in 1912?

  • The French Blue paint popular on prop-driven cars would be declared unpatriotic in America.
  • Prop-driven cars were so dangerous, it was only a matter of time before someone famous was decapitated.
  • Prop-driven cars would eventually become so popular, they would hurt the airplane industry.

Which of the following vehicles have NOT been inspired by prop-driven cars?

  • Bicycles and trikes
  • British double-decker buses
  • Go-karts