Quiz: Can You Ace This 1950s Car Quiz in 6 Minutes?
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Can You Ace This 1950s Car Quiz in 6 Minutes?
By: John Miller
Image: Saabkyle04

About This Quiz

It’s hard to imagine these days, but at the beginning of 1942, the United States ended all consumer automobile production. The factories that had, just weeks earlier, been cranking out sedans and convertibles were quickly converted to wartime makers of bombs and guns. Once the Allies won World War II, car companies immediately retooled again, reinventing their vehicles to satisfy Americans’ new tastes and booming wealth. This quiz is where the rubber meets the road — how much do you really know about the cars of the 1950s?

It’s been the better part of a century since the '50s and, back then, cars were very different creatures. They were mostly big, heavy, gas-guzzling contraptions loaded with chrome and wild fixtures like broad tails, big lights and aggressive lines that still seem futuristic in many ways. Do you remember the flashiest and most expensive cars of this decade?

Hot rodders modified many ‘50s cars to make them faster and louder than anything Detroit ever mass produced. Do you recall some of the era’s most powerful beasts?

Ford and Chevy competed to become America’s top manufacturer. Cadillac fussed over high-end details. The Chrysler New Yorker and Buick Super were fantastic cars. And forgotten companies like Edsel and Studebaker were still on the road, their fates uncertain.

Try not to crash and burn as you veer towards the on-ramp of this ‘50s car quiz now!

1 of 30
Which company made an ultra-famous eponymous car in 1957?

In 1957, Chevy unleashed what became its most iconic model — the '57 Chevy. It is easily one of the most recognizable cars of the 20th century, featured in movies, commercials and a whole lot more.

2 of 30
The Super was a full-sized car from _____.

From 1940 to 1958, the Buick Super was popular on America's highways. Unlike the angular designs that many cars of the day had, the Super was curvier, sometimes with a slanted backside that made it look faster.

3 of 30
In 1959, which company unveiled its DeVille?

1959 was the first year of Cadillac's famed DeVille. These big luxury cars were made until 2005.

4 of 30
The Buick LeSabre was first unveiled in which year?

The first generation of the Buick LeSabre was introduced in 1959 and lasted for just a year. The second-gen version of this full-size car was rolled out in 1961 and lasted until its eighth generation in 2005.

5 of 30
Which cars came with the TorqueFlite automatic transmission?

In 1957, Chrysler began equipping some of its cars — like the big New Yorker — with the TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission. The car also boasted a massive 325 hp engine.

6 of 30
Oldsmobile was known for making a model called the _____.

It's still one of the mid-20th century's best-known cars — the Oldsmobile 98. It was one of the brand's most important models, a top-of-the-line car with all the trimmings.

7 of 30
Which company introduced the Powerglide transmission in 1950?

In 1950, GM began equipping many of its cars with the Powerglide, a two-speed automatic transmission. The Powerglide was the industry's first affordable automatic transmission for consumer cars.

8 of 30
DeSoto cars were made by which parent company?

From 1929 to 1961, Chrysler made its popular DeSoto cars, including the Firedome, Fireflite and Firesweep models. DeSoto cars were eventually discontinued when Chrysler faced financial troubles in the '60s.

9 of 30
True or false: The Ford Mustang was introduced in the 1950s.

The Mustang sparked the muscle car revolution of the 1960s. The first generation didn't roll off production lines until 1964.

10 of 30
The Ford Thunderbird was meant to be a direct competitor to which vehicle?

Ford scored a hit with its big Thunderbird, marketing it as a "personal car," rather than a "sports car."

11 of 30
What was the Chevrolet Nomad?

Introduced in 1955, the Chevrolet Nomad was a station wagon produced intermittently from '55 to '72. The best-known version of the big car, the Tri-Five, had just two doors.

12 of 30
The Super Turbo Fire V8 was an option in which brand's cars?

In 1955, Chevy began offering its now-legendary small-block V8 engine. The high-performance version of this V8 was the 283, aka the "Super Turbo Fire V8," a favorite of hot rodders.

13 of 30
The Series 62 was a full-sized car from which company?

Cadillac made its luxurious Series 62 from 1940 until 1964. Late '50s versions got noticeably sleeker and lower, and they had prominent window reveal molding that made the cars look like they had protruding foreheads.

14 of 30
In 1958, which company began making the doomed Edsel automobiles?

Named for Henry Ford's son, Ford began making Edsel-branded cars in 1958. The cars' strange styling immediately turned off reviewers and wound up costing the company heaps of money.

15 of 30
In the 1950s, which company made the Hornet?

In the 1950s, the Hudson Hornet was known for its low center of gravity, which made it very good for racing.

16 of 30
What was a defining trait of the Chevy Bel Air?

Made from '50 to '81, the premium Bel Air models were equipped with all the extras, loaded to meet the demands of people who wanted a fancy Chevy.

17 of 30
In 1959, Buick began making a full-size luxury car with which name?

When it debuted in '59, the Buick Electra had funky tail wings at a 45-degree angle. When paired with its recessed tail lights, it looked a lot like a very angry metal giant from the rear.

18 of 30
The Chevrolet 150 was mostly intended for which market?

In the mid-'50s, the Chevrolet 150 was an economy variant meant for fleets. As such, GM didn't spend much time advertising it to the mass market.

19 of 30
What was an unmistakable feature of the 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville?

The 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville had crazy-huge tail wings. The wings had big, protruding tail lights for a racy effect.

20 of 30
Which of the following car companies sold the most vehicles in the 1950s?

In the 1950s, Chevy was tops in sales with more than 13 million cars sold. Ford was nearly neck-and-neck with Chevy, with nearly 12.3 million sold and Plymouth came in third with 5.6 million.

21 of 30
The Blue Flame Six was an engine that made it into cars from which company?

Chevy's Blue Flame Six was essentially an interim engine, one meant to hold the line while Chevy made a new small-block masterpiece. The Blue Flames wound up in many Corvettes, and the very first ones topped out at 150 hp.

22 of 30
What was notable about the Nash Metropolitan?

At a time when cars seemed to get bigger and bigger each year, the Nash Metropolitan was a contrarian. Designed as "the family's second vehicle," the compact car was made from '53 to '61.

23 of 30
The Pacer was sold under which brand?

Edsel sold its Pacer in 1958 … and only 1958. All of the Edsels were total flops, and the Pacer was no exception, even when equipped with a big V8 engine that generated more than 300 hp.

24 of 30
What sort of car was the Chrysler Saratoga?

The Chrysler Saratoga got its start in 1939, and it was made intermittently until 1960. Late in its run, it was positioned between the company's Windsor and the top-end New Yorker.

25 of 30
Crosley was known for making very ____ cars.

Based in Ohio, Crosley started making subcompact cars in the late 1930s, and maintained production until the early '50s. Some of the cars were so small they could be mistaken for golf carts.

26 of 30
In 1952, GM introduced the Autronic Eye in some models. What did the Autronic Eye do?

In '52, GM equipped many of its cars with the Autronic Eye. It had a light-sensing phototube that automatically dimmed the vehicle's high beams in response to oncoming traffic.

27 of 30
What sort of memorable hood ornament was featured on the Nash Metropolitan Series III?

The Series III featured an elegant chrome woman as its hood ornament. It was easily one of the flashiest hood ornaments of the decade.

28 of 30
The Roadmaster Skylark was made by which company?

The Buick Roadmaster Skylark was no ordinary Buick — it was a decked-out convertible. It had a Nailhead V8 engine and came fully loaded … a fact reflected by its very high price.

29 of 30
What sort of vehicle was the BMW 507?

The BMW 507, made from '56 to '59, was a snappy roadster. Originally intended for mass production in the U.S., it became an exorbitantly expensive project — one that BMW ended after making fewer than 300 cars.

30 of 30
Which company began making the B and RB big-block engines in 1958?

In 1958, Chrysler began cranking out its B and RB big-block engines. These big engines range from 5.7 L versions to 7.2 L monsters.

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