How much do you know about the history of car engines?

Maria Trimarchi

Up to speeds of how many miles per hour could the first horseless carriage with an internal combustion engine go?

Etienne Lenoir's horseless carriage outfitted with an internal combustion engine could hit a top speed of 3 mph.

Which was the least-popular engine at New York City's Madison Square Garden, during the first auto show in the U.S. in November 1900?

At America's very first car show, steam engines were most popular, while the gasoline engine was the least.

As many as 90 percent of the cars sold in 1919 were open touring cars. By the end of the 1920s, though, it was the enclosed passenger car that dominated the market. What changed?

The Essex Motor Company introduced the first family-priced car with an enclosed passenger compartment, called the Essex.

What was the very first self-propelled road-ready vehicle?

The first self-propelled road-ready vehicle, a steam-powered tractor, was invented by Nicolas Cugnot in 1749.

In 1680, Dutch physicist Christian Huygens designed (but didn't build) an internal combustion engine that would be fueled by what?

Huygens' design was for an internal combustion engine fueled by gunpowder.

Which type of engine, introduced by the Wilkinson Motor Car Co., put the camshaft and valves in the cylinder heads?

The camshaft and valves are in the cylinder heads in an overhead-cam (OHC) engine, which was introduced in 1898.

In 1934, Adolf Hitler had Ferdinand Porsche develop a "people's car" -- Volkswagen. What kind of engine was in the VW Beetle when it first rolled out?

The Volkswagen ("Bug") Beetle was built with an air-cooled engine, mounted in the rear.

Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft's 1901 Mercedes had a 35-horsepower engine that could reach how fast of a speed?

With 35 horsepower, the 1901 Mercedes was able to reach 53 miles per hour.

What contributed to the public's preference for petrol-powered internal combustion engines over steam in their vehicles?

Once in favor over gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, steam lost popularity because it was high maintenance.

In 1789, Oliver Evans files the patent for the first vehicle powered by what source?

Oliver Evans filed the patent on the first steam-powered land vehicle.

Was the first steam-powered "road carriage," built in 1801 by Richard Trevithick, built in the U.S. or in the U.K.?

Richard Trevithick's steam-powered "road carriage" was built in the U.K. (Great Britain).

Well known for their horse-drawn carriage manufacturing business, which they continued until 1919, when did the Studebaker brothers embrace gasoline-powered automobiles?

The Studebaker brothers entered the automobile business in 1902, when they began manufacturing electric-powered automobiles. It wouldn't be until 1904, though, that they'd make their move into gasoline engine-powered cars.

Nicholaus Otto improved upon the internal combustion engine in 1867. But in 1870, it was Julius Hock who built the first one to run on what liquid fuel?

Hock's engine was gasoline powered.

Physicist Oliver Lodge invented something called "the Lodge Igniter" for internal combustion engines. What is it?

Oliver Lodge patented the spark plug; an electric spark ignition for the internal combustion engine.

On January 29, 1886, who was granted the first patent for a "vehicle with gas engine operation"?

Carl Benz received German patent DRP No. 37435 for a "vehicle with gas engine operation."

Which engineer invented what's considered the world's first three-wheeled vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine?

Carl Benz invented a three-wheeled vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.

Carl Benz invented the first three-wheeler, but who built the first four-wheel vehicle with an internal combustion engine?

Just a few short years after Carl Benz made the first three-wheeled vehicle with an internal combustion engine, Gottlieb Daimler built the first with four wheels, adapted from a stagecoach. Today this is considered the first modern car.

In 1883, engineer Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville built a single-cylinder four-stroke engine that ran on what kind of fuel?

Delamare-Deboutteville invented an engine that ran on fuel oil rather than gasoline, and the wick carburetor needed to use it.

John W. Lambert built America's first gasoline-powered single-cylinder automobile. How many wheels did it have?

America's first gasoline-powered automobile was the three-wheeled Lambert car, invented by John W. Lambert.

Charles and Frank Duryea were bicycle manufacturers before they began manufacturing what kind of vehicles?

The Duryea brothers began manufacturing commercial cars with gasoline-powered internal combustion engines in the late 19th century.

Ransome Eli Olds began making steam and gasoline engines, and designed a steam-powered car. What engine was in his first mass-produced vehicle, the 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile?

In 1899, Olds opened the Olds Motor Works in Detroit, Michigan, where he started manufacturing the popular Curved Dash Oldsmobile, with a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, in 1901.

Eighteen years after designing and building his own four-stroke engine, what type of engine did Carl Benz invent?

Carl Benz invented the boxer engine, also known as a flat engine. What makes the boxer engine different are its horizontally-opposed cylinders.

In the mid-19th century, Étienne Lenoir invented an electric spark-ignition internal combustion engine fueled by what?

Étienne Lenoir's engine was powered by coal gas.

What was special about the Sturtevant 38-to-45 horsepower six-cylinder engine of 1905?

The 1917 Enger wasn't the first to do it. Nor was the 1981 Cadillac V8-6-4 engine. But in the Sturtevant 38-to-45 horsepower six-cylinder engine, three of the six cylinders could be shut down.

What was unexpectedly special about the Ford Model T inline four-cylinder engine?

The Model T's internal combustion engine was a "multifuel" engine (which today we know as a flex-fuel engine), and it could run on gasoline, kerosene, benzene, ethanol and others -- but it wasn't, as it's often believed, designed to do so.

Étienne Lenoir's gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, which was the first to be mass produced, closely resembled what other kind of engine?

Lenoir's gasoline-powered internal combustion engine closely resembled a steam beam engine, but with the cylinders, connecting-rods, fly wheel and pistons of the internal combustion engine.

Which engine was not one that Nicolaus Otto designed and built?

Otto did not build the 1885 Grandfather clock engine -- that was Gottlieb Daimler's invention.

What automobile company was the first to produce the 12-cylinder engine?

The Packard Motor Car Company produced a "Twin Six" model, which was a 12-cylinder engine. It was the first to use what today we call a vibration dampener.

What problem did early automobile engineers run into when they tried to build more efficient engines by increasing compression ratios?

Engines would knock and vibrate when engineers increased compression ratios because the fuel octane at that time couldn't handle the high heat and pressure.

At the turn of the 20th century, of the almost-4,200 automobiles manufactured in the U.S., how many were electric?

About 1,050 (one-quarter) of the almost 4,200 U.S.-built cars on the roads in 1900 ran on electric motors.

Elwood Haynes didn't design automobiles or engines, but his discoveries and developments in the automotive metallurgical industry led to what?

Haynes is responsible for the development of several alloys, including chromium, cobalt and tungsten. He also discovered stainless steel. But his work also led to aluminum's use in automobile engines.

Rudolf Diesel designed an internal combustion engine that was, theoretically, how much more efficient than the popular steam engines at the turn of the 20th century?

Rudolf Diesel's internal combustion engine was 75 percent more efficient than its contemporary steam engines, which could boast just 10 percent efficiency.

The "Stanley Steamer," an early steam-powered automobile, was the fastest car on the road. When it set a speed record in 1906 at the Daytona Beach Road Course, how fast was it going?

It was American race car driver Fred Marriott who drove a Stanley Steamer 127.6 mph at the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1906.

In 1879, attorney George Selden patented a "road machine" and got royalties from U.S. automakers -- despite never producing an engine or automobile. Who refused to pay, leading to the patent's end in 1911?

When Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, refused to pay licensing fees, he and Selden went to court. In the end, Selden was forced to build his "road machine," which was a failure, and the patent was null.

What fuel was used to demonstrate Rudolf Diesel's diesel engine at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (the World's Fair in Paris)?

Rudolf Diesel demonstrated his diesel engine with peanut oil as fuel.

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About This Quiz

Although a man named Robert Street would build the first working compressionless engine in 1794, it was Leonardo da Vinci who was the first to describe the idea back in 1506. See how much you know about the milestones in car engine history, from the early days of steam to the progression of internal combustion engines.

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