Two Truths and a Lie: ’60s Cars Edition

AUTO

By: Robert Bacon

7 Min Quiz

Which of these "facts" about Chevy's Corvair have we falsified?

The Corvair didn't need a radiator at the front because its engine was housed at the rear. Its styling made it a hit with those who didn't want to "go with the crowd" during the '60s. But the Corvair's public image was irreparably damaged after it was featured in the first chapter of Ralph Nader's book, "Unsafe at Any Speed." A 1964 Chevy Corvair Monza is shown here.

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The Cosmo propelled Mazda to new heights. Can you find the "fact" about which we aren't telling the whole truth?

Mazda wanted to show the world how forward-thinking the company was amidst the Space Race. The Cosmo, with its rotary engine, was the perfect way to do this. Although the rotary engine didn't take off throughout the automotive industry, the Cosmo was a successful platform for Mazda. Shown here is a 1968 first-generation Mazda Cosmo Sport.

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With its bug-eye front headlights, you could spot an Austin-Healey Sprite from a mile away. Can you spot which one of these statements is a lie?

The Austin-Healy Sprite was minuscule at 137 inches long, 53 inches wide, and 47 inches tall (with its hood up). It had an equally small 948 cc engine. The model's performance figures were equally as minuscule as its stature, taking 20 seconds to get to 60 mph and topping out at 83 mph.

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Do you know which one of these sentences about Toyota's 2000GT is totally made up?

The 2000GT really put Toyota on the map both in the U.S. and Europe. And while its 150 horsepower output was considered to be low, it received rave reviews for how well it handled.

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One of these statements about the Lotus Elan is nothing more than a falsity, but which?

The Lotus Elan is the quintessential sports car, even today. It's light, handles well, and doesn't have a monstrous engine but rather a peppy one. Sports Car International named it the sixth-best sports car of the '60s in 2004. A 1968 Lotus Elan S4 is shown here.

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Anyone who has seen "The Italian Job" will appreciate how effortlessly cool the tiny BMC Mini is. Can you spot the not-so-small fib?

The Mini's engine was mounted transversely so there would be more space in the cabin. This obviously wasn't done in vain. According to the Guinness World Records, a team of 28 female gymnasts once squeezed into a Mini. Shown here is a 1963 BMC Austin Mini.

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Which one of these statements about Porsche's 911 is untrue?

The 911 was originally called the 901, shown here, and 82 units were produced under this name. Peugeot objected to this, however, as the French automaker had exclusive rights to car names that used three numbers with a zero in the middle.

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Do you know which fact about the Buick Riviera is actually a tall tale?

Many claimed that Buick's Riviera drove, stopped and turned better than Ford's Thunderbird, which was its direct competitor. Unfortunately for Buick, the Thunderbird consistently outsold the Riviera every year. A 1963 model is shown here.

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is one of the most beautiful cars of all time. Which one of these statements is an ugly lie?

Considered by some to be the most beautiful car of all time, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL won't be found cheaply at auction. You'd be particularly lucky to find a '63 model, shown here, as just 26 were produced that year.

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What fact about Chevy's Impala aren't we being totally honest about?

The Impala broke away from the Bel-Air line in 1959 and quickly became the standard of comfort in American vehicles. Some consider the Impala to have been the precursor or, at least, one of the precursors to the American muscle car. Shown here is a 1960 Impala Coupe.

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Do you know which one of these "facts" about Plymouth's Road Runner is less than fantastic?

At the time of its launch in 1968, the Plymouth Road Runner was thought of as a cheap, no-frills muscle car with a stomping-great engine. The model could be had with a 426 Hemi under the hood. This setup would get to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. A 1969 model is shown here.

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Two of the following options are some of the nicknames for VW's Microbus, but one is not. Do you know which one?

The Microbus, also known as the "Type 2," is synonymous with the free-loving '60s scene. Depending on where you are, you'll hear a different nickname for the Microbus. In the U.S., it's often referred to as the "Vee-Dub." In Germany, it's called the "Hippie-Van" or "Bully." Shown here is a 1968 Type 2.

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The Lincoln Continental was popular with gangsters. Which one of the statements below would have you sleeping with the fishes if you said it to the wrong person?

The Lincoln Continental was extremely luxurious, making it the go-to presidential state car during the '60s ... and go-to car for members of the Mafia. It was powered by a 430 ci V8 engine that pumped out 300 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. A 1961 model Lincoln Continental is shown here.

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Which statement about the Shelby Daytona Coupe is more than a stretch?

The Shelby Cobra was a fantastic racing car and won its fair share of races, but it had a major weak point: aerodynamics. On tracks with long straights, the Cobra would fall behind, leading to the need for a more aerodynamic model like the Daytona. Since the Daytona had an extra 30 mph on its top-end over the Cobra, it was perfect for these faster tracks. Shown here is a 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe.

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Two of the following statements are facts about Alfa Romeo's Giulia, but one is a lie. Can you spot it?

Alfa Romeo's Giulia was — and still is — an incredibly beautiful car with stunning proportions. The Giulia was one of the first four-door models produced by a mainstream manufacturer to mix a lightweight body (around 1 ton) and a relatively large engine (up to 1.6-liter). The result was an impressively peppy four-door sedan. A Type 1-5 from the mid-1960s is shown here.

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One of the following statements about Ferrari's 250 GTO is a lie, but which?

If you ever get to lay eyes on a Ferrari 250 GTO, then you're one of the lucky ones. This is especially true when you consider that just 36 were made. The model's rarity ensures that, when one does appear at auction, it fetches an astronomical sum.

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Do you know what fact about Ford's GT40 is false?

Shelby American worked in conjunction with Ford to develop the GT40 which would go on to place first, second, and third in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The cars 485 horsepower V8 engine helped it to a top speed of around 210-215 mph. Shown here is the Ford GT40 Mk II that took second place in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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One of these statements about Ford's Torino is made up. Are you confident that you know which one?

Ford's Torino was named after the city of Turin, which is "Torino" in Italian. The third generation of this model, the Gran Torino, found on-screen success both as Starsky and Hutch's car and in the Clint Eastwood movie with which it shares its name. A 1968 Ford Torino GT Fastback is shown here.

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The Aston Martin DB5 is good enough for 007, but which of the following isn't a good lie?

There has been an Aston Martin in 12 out of the 24 Bond movies. All these models have their own special place in people's hearts. But the DB5 used in "Goldfinger" is one of the most iconic Bond vehicles of all time, and it has been missing since 1997! The DB5 shown here appeared in the Bond movie, "Skyfall."

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Jaguar's E-Type is the most iconic British sports cars. Do you know which one of these statements about it is a fib?

Under the hood of the '61 Jaguar E-Type, shown here, is a 3.8-liter engine that produces 265 horsepower. This was enough to propel the E-Type to 150 mph, which was an astronomically high speed for the time. These stats, coupled with the E-Type's £2,097 (around $2,700 in 1961) starting price, made it an instant hit!

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Ford's Thunderbird started the personal luxury vehicle scene in America. Can you pick out the "fact" below that's totally made up?

Ford launched the Thunderbird to compete with the success of Chevrolet's Corvette. But instead of making the Thunderbird a sports car, Ford positioned it as a "personal luxury vehicle," essentially creating the class in America. Shown here is a 1960 model. There are several versions as to how the car got its name, but a thunderbird is a mythical creature, not a real bird.

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Citroen's DS was noted for being futuristic in more ways than one when it launched. Can you spot which of the following is an untruth?

The DS didn't just look futuristic with its aerodynamic styling, it really was a cut above. For example, it featured hydraulic suspension and transmission systems, as well as a hydraulic clutch. The model placed third in the Car of the Century competition and sold a total of 1,455,746 units during its production.

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One of the following options about Lamborghini's Miura is totally made up. Do you know which one?

When the Miura launched in 1966 it got to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and had a top speed of 163 mph, making it the fastest production car in the world. These incredible numbers were all thanks to its aerodynamic body which housed a 4-liter V12 engine. Shown here is a 1966 Lamborghini Miura P400.

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Are you able to spot the lie about Chevrolet's Chevelle?

Anyone who has seen "Fast and Furious 4" will be familiar with the Chevelle SS 454 shown here. The Chevelle was a hugely successful model during its production, which lasted from 1964 to 1977. It's as popular as ever today with one example selling for $1.15 million at a 2013 Mecum auction.

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The Pontiac Trans Am was a bad boy on the American muscle scene. Which one of these statements is a bad lie?

The Trans Am was a performance package for Pontiac's Firebird. Owners of the Trans Am could expect better handling and out and out performance than owners of the standard Firebird. Shown here is a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

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Toyota's Corolla is one of the best-known cars of all time. Do you know which of the following is a tall tale?

Over 44 million Toyota Corollas have been sold worldwide, making it the best-selling car of all time. A Corolla has been sold every 37 seconds since it launched, but since 2013, the model has sold every 27 seconds on average. This shows sales of the world's most popular model are increasing! Shown here is a first-generation 1968 Toyota Corolla 1100 Deluxe.

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Do you know enough about Alfa Romeo's Spider to spot the lie?

The Alfa Romeo Spider oozes Italian class. Anyone who has seen "The Graduate" will remember that Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) received a red Alfa Romeo Spider as a graduation gift from his parents. After the movie launched, the Spider became an even more sought after car. Shown here is a 1969 Alfa Romeo Spider Series 1.

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The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is a barely disguised racing car. Can you figure out which of these statements is a lie disguised as a fact?

The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale was speedy for its time with a 160 mph top speed and 0-60 mph time of just 5.5 seconds. These figures meant it could cover a standing kilometer in 24 seconds flat. Between 1967 and 1969, only 18 examples were produced, making this an extremely rare car. A 1968 model is shown here.

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Can you pick out the "fact" about Ferrari's Daytona that is actually fiction?

Although this Ferrari is officially known as the "365 GTB4," most will only know it as the "Daytona." After Ferrari placed first, second, and third at the Daytona 24 Hour Race in '67, its unofficial name was coined. A 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona is shown here.

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Which statement about Volkswagen's Beetle, one of the most popular cars of all time, is a lie?

The Volkswagen Beetle was, and still is, a hugely popular car. To date, over 23.5 million Beetles have been sold worldwide. This makes the Beetle the fourth-best-selling car of all time, with VW's Golf taking third place (as of 2019). A 1961 Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle is shown here.

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Can you spot the untruth about Shelby Cobra's '66 427 Super Snake?

The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake was incredibly quick, and would eventually top out at 165 mph. In 1966 it could get down a drag strip in 12.4 seconds which, to this day, is still a mind-boggling feat. To put this into perspective, a 2017 BMW M5 does a quarter-mile in 11.75 seconds. Only two 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snakes were ever made.

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The Corvette is commonly referred to as "America's sports car." What have we made up about the 1963 Stingray?

The 1963 Corvette Stingray, shown here, was designed from the ground up and took the world by storm when it launched. Some of these models were fitted with 327 ci, small-block, fuel-injected V8 engines which produced 360 horsepower. These units gave the Stingray a published top speed of 151 mph.

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Can you figure out which of the following is a lie about Plymouth's Barracuda?

The 'Cuda was built around the Formula-S package and released in 1969 which helped the automaker to compete with the likes of Shelby and Boss Mustangs. The 6.3-liter V8s in these models produced an impressive 330 horsepower. Shown here is a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda hardtop.

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Ford launched the Shelby Mustang GT500 in 1967: an iconic machine. Do you know which one of these "facts" is false?

The 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 was pretty quick for its time thanks to the 428 ci V8 under its hood. This powerplant produced 355 horsepower which got the GT500 to 60 mph in around six seconds and meant it would keep accelerating until it maxed out at 130-140 mph. These performance figures meant the GT500 could chew up a quarter-mile in 14-15 seconds.

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The Camaro was Chevy's answer to the Mustang. What's not true about the Camaro?

The Camaro was Chevy's answer to Ford's Mustang, although the Camaro wouldn't launch until 1966: two years after the first Mustang. To this day, early examples — like the 1967 model shown here — are still highly sought after.

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Image: Pixabay by Ralph Klein

About This Quiz

Most gearheads have a favorite decade for car production, whether it be hot rods from the '40s or the supercars of the '90s. It's fair to say, however, that the automotive industry went through an enormous change throughout the '60s: lines got smoother, cars became lighter, and performance levels soared. The '60s also saw the introduction of new classes of vehicles that were destined for greatness.

Car lovers were treated to the first real muscle cars during the '60s. Some vehicles, like the Oldsmobile, get credit for being muscle cars before the '60s, but 1964-1969 is when industry titans locked horns to create the biggest, badest muscle cars on the road. While this class continued life throughout the '70s and beyond, many feel that post-'60s muscle cars lacked both style and substance. 

Adrenaline junkies rejoiced throughout the '60s as performance figures took significant leaps forward. More production cars could achieve six-second 0-60 mph times, with some besting that time by around one second. There were now a host of models that could hit 160 mph, and the era even ushered in the world's first supercar.

How much do you know about cars from the '60s? Do you know the models well enough to spot a bare-faced lie? Fair warning, there aren't any easy 'As' on this quiz. Test your knowledge now!

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