Do You Know Your American Muscle Cars?

If you dream of ponycars, big block engines and 4 barrel carbs, take our American Muscle Car Quiz. It’s time to separate the aficionados from the enthusiasts. Answer the following 22 questions about muscle cars, and determine where you stand with your American muscle car knowledge. Good luck!

22. What was the first muscle car of the 60s?

A. Ford Mustang
B. Pontiac GTO
C. Chevy Camaro
D. Dodge Challenger

The First Pontiac GTO

Answer: The Pontiac GTO is thought to be the earliest muscle car in existence. The 1964, in particular, is considered to be the very first, just beating out the 1964 ½ Ford Mustang. By the end of the decade there was a LOT of competition. With the competition came a push to make a smaller GTO, but this idea was shot down rather quickly by John DeLorean. Putting a smaller 350 inside was just unthinkable. The production team even had a snazzy name for it. They wanted to call it the “ET” for Elapsed Time. However, at DeLorean’s urging, they went a step up instead. “The Judge” was named after a popular tv skit from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. The standard was a 360 cu inch Ram Air III, but you could upgrade to the 370 cu inch Ram Air IV for more power. For exclusivity, you would go for one of the Ram Air IV convertibles. They only made five.

1964 Mustang

21. What is the most powerful muscle car ever produced?

A. 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
B. 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
C. 2017 Dodge Viper
D. 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Answer: If you chose D, you know a thing or two about muscle cars. The Shelby Mustang was considered to be the most powerful in its day. However, it looks like a wuss compared to the real answer, the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. This Challenger cranks out a monster 808hp! But wait, it gets better. The car comes equipped standard with stock racing radials and a 6.2 liter v8 for power. The 808 horses are produced with standard pump gas. If you want more speed, Dodge will modify the engine for you so it can run on 100 octane racing fuel. The yield? 840 horses. How’s that for power?

20. What year was the first Ford Mustang produced?

A. 1966
B. 1962
C. 1964
D. 1965

1964 Mustang

Answer: The first Mustang rolled off the production line alongside the Ford Falcon and the Mercury Comet just before the 1965 production models started. The mid year production is why you will often hear 1964 Mustangs referred to as 1964 ½. Early models came with three engine choices. You could choose an in-line 6-cylinder, a powerful 260 V-8, or two different versions of the 289 V8. The first option came with a 4 barrel carb. The second was known as a HiPo (high performance engine). It featured a 4 barrel carb with lifters. Engines would essentially remain the same through 1973. The body style would change a bit. It was easier to produce new sheet metal and wrap existing frames with the new body style. Engine and transmission components would be left alone, but the modified exterior would present to the consumer as a new car. In that instance, who cares? A Mustang is still a Mustang. And with the introduction of the Shelby, everything, including the engine, changed. Mustang has come a long way since 1964.

1969 Pontiac Trans Am

19. What was the most expensive muscle car factory price?

A. 1969 Mercury Cyclone Cobra Jet
B. Shelby Plus 1000
C. 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
D. 1970 Oldsmobile 442

Answer: Ford takes the prize here with the Shelby Plus 1000. The entire car is built from existing GTO 2013 models equipped with 662hp 5.2 liter v8. The price tags vary for the build out. Customers bring in their current Shelby to have it modified into one of two different versions. Option one includes a $150k build for a street version of the new beast. Option two is a $154k build for a Shelby Plus track star. The total cost of the car and build out falls just north of $210k. However, the real excitement here is why Shelby decided to produce one. This was their attempt to compete with the Bugatti Veyron. They found success in every way, except the price tag. The price of a Shelby Plus is peanuts when compared to a Veyron. That’s the point.


18. What year was the first Pontiac Trans Am introduced?

A. 1969
B. 1971
C. 1968
D. 1966

1969 Pontiac Trans Am

Answer: Look to the top of the list for this answer. The first Trans AM rolled off the line in 1969. There was very little fanfare and sales were lackluster as a result. How many were made we can’t say, but we do know only 697 were sold. Ouch, talk about an under performer. Owning one of these puts you in an exclusive collector class. Snag a convertible from 1969 and the ownership circle gets even tighter. Only 8 of these beauties were produced. Yet they all boasted rally wheels, automatic transmission and either a 400hp or 366hp engine. Popular combinations at the time included an all white vehicle with a blue racing stripe down the middle with blue interior. Sit inside a Trans Am and take a step back in time… if you can find one.

17. What does GTO stand for in Pontiac GTO?

A. Grand Turismo Open
B. Gran Turismo One
C. Gran Turismo Omologato
D. Grand Turismo Obbligato


Answer: Of all the interesting sounding names, only one fits. You would have to think like John DeLorean again to get it right. “Gran Turismo Omologato” was inspired by a supercar, the Ferrari 250 GTO. Even more strange, the name is an Italian abbreviation for Grand Tourer Homologated. So what does it mean? “Officially Certified for Racing in the Grand Tourer Class.” Yet there are some who say this is not true. GM employees say the Pontiac Tempest was due for a new name in 1964. The new name was slated to be the Grand Tempest, a nod to the usage of the Grand AM and Grand Prix. Ferrari was slow to patent the name so DeLorean snagged it to mean “Grand Tempest Option.” It gets fierce in the car world, what can we say?

16. What is the fastest muscle car of the 60s and 70s?

A. 1966 427 Corvette
B. 1966 427 Cobra
C. 1970 Buick GS Stage
D. 1968 Hemi Charger

Answer: Look to B for the answer. The 427 Cobra had a top speed of 118 mph, second only to the 427 Corvette (answer A). The back story is legendary, especially if you are a Ford fan. Carol Shelby contacted British auto maker AC Cars in 1961 to see if they would be willing to make their popular two-seater (known to us as the Shelby) in such a way it would accept a larger v8 engine. Originally, they usde a dated BMW engine, until Bristol Motor Company decided to cease production and opt for using a Chrysler 313 v8. AC began using Ford Zephyr engine in its two seaters (2.6 liter) as a result. After AC Cars told Shelby they would be happy to build a car if he could find an engine to fit, he reached out to Chevrolet. Not wanting to compete with their own Corvette product line, they declined. Ford was more than willing to oblige since they had a brand new engine, The Windsor 221 cu inch 3.6 liter small block v8. Hence the fastest American muscle car for 20 years, the Shelby was born. Do you think Chevrolet has any regrets?

15. What was the best selling Ford Mustang ever?

A. 2015
B. 1979
C. 1986
D. 1966

Answer: Choosing the best selling Mustang of all time is no easy task. First, consider the words of Carol Shelby. When asked about his favorite Mustang, his standard reply was, “The next one.” Obviously, he is a fan of vehicle evolution, especially since he had a huge part in Mustang’s metamorphosis. Beyond his quip, we are left with a quandry. The Mustang spans 50 years of production. Is it fair to compare newer models to older ones? Mustangs of today have a much larger field of competition than early production models. Limited choice always skews sales numbers because fewer vehicles mean more of those vehicles would be purchased by default. However, if you go strictly by the numbers, and this is a numbers question, the answer is D. Consumers bought 607,500 of the 1966 year model. The next closest was 1965 with 559,000. Wow. We love our pony cars.

1960 Dodge Dart

14. What is the rarest muscle car ever produced?

A. 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird
B. 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 R-Code
C. 1967 Plymouth R023 GTX
D. 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible

Answer: Many people point to the Superbird when rare muscle cars are mentioned. And while the 1970 model is scant (only 135 were produced), the answer to this question is the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible. Owning one of these puts you in a collector class all by yourself. Only 21 were made. That’s not to say the others are shabby choices. They all have extremely low production runs. The 67 Fairlane 500 R Code had a run of 57 and the 67 Plymouth R023 GTX comes in two less at 55. Any of these would make muscle car enthusiasts salivate, but the Cuda convertible tops the cake. With 5 engine options (narrowing the field further) and an ultra low production run, the Cuda Convertible is practically a muscle car ghost.

13. What was the first muscle car Dodge produced?

A. Challenger
B. Charger
C. Dart
D. SRT Hellcat

1960 Dodge Dart

Answer: The Dodge Dart. The story behind this Dodge muscle car baby is rather unique. Most of us know the car was put into production in 1960. It ran until 1976 with a Fiat resurrection in 2013. However, did you know the first time we saw the Dart badge was 1957? Yep, you can thank famous Italian coach maker Carrozzeria Ghia for its body style. Though it turned heads at the 1957 car show, it would be a full three years before consumers would see one roll off the line. Of course, the style ranged wildly, from station wagon to race car. Top models featured a 361 cu inch 5.9Liter v8 with an optional 4 barrel carb, a far cry from wagon models outfitted with a 225 cu inch 2.77 liter slant six engine. It would later be eclipsed as the Challenger and Charger made their debut.

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

12. What is the lightest muscle car ever produced?

A. Chevy Nova
B. Sunbeam Tiger
C. Ford Cobra
D. The Griffith

Answer: It is hard to have a conversation about lightweight muscle cars and not talk about any of the four mentioned above. A closer look reveals the answer. For instance, the Nova was not really “lightweight”, it just had a nice engine to shoot you down the road. The same can be said for the Ford Cobra. The Tiger could be number 2 on our list, but if you want to talk lightest muscle car, the clear winner is the Griffith. This was the brainchild of Jack Griffith. He took a 1964 4 cylinder TVR Grantura and dropped a 289 horsepower high performance Ford v8 inside. Then he named it after himself. So how much do they weigh? A measeley 2006 lbs. Newer reboot models weigh a bit more, but promise power (the kind that should probably be illegal in such a small car). They come with a 500 horsepower engine. Add wings and your TVR could probably take flight.

Dodge RT

11. What was the first American muscle car to go 200 MPH?

A. 1974 Chevy Camaro
B. 2005 Bugatti Veyron
C. 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback
D. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Answer: A quick look at the list will automatically knock one off. The Bugatti is the fastest by far, but not American. So which of the three that are left take the prize? The 1969 Daytona set the record at Talladega under Chrysler test driver Buddy Baker in 1970. The weird part? Even though a number 88 car (the car driven by Buddy Baker that set the 200.447 mph record) has been in the Talladega Museum for years, the real car was found in Iowa of all places. The car has been collecting rust behind circle track driver Don White’s Keokuk, Iowa Race Shop for 25 years. Dodge crafted the Daytona by adding parts to the Challenger. Most of the additions were made on site so drivers unfamiliar with the new design were clueless as to how fast the cars could really go. Chrysler engineers were of no help because the additions were yet to be tested. Once history was made, a bit of automobile musical chairs (verified by a company memo) found the Daytona in the hands of Don White. Now go check your VIN number and see if you are sitting on a winner.

10. What does the R/T stand for in Dodge R/T models?

A. Rear Turbo
B. Race / Track
C. Road / Track
D. Road Tested

Dodge RT

Answer: C is the correct answer here. R/T is one of those badge markers Dodge has used since the 60s. It is much like the Chevy Super Sport badge used on some of its vehicles with certain performance qualifications. So what can you expect from a Road/Track Dodge? Less of them on the road for sure. The SRT (Street & Racing Technology) designation is taking over. In all there are still 29 Dodge models with the R/T badge, except Viper models from the year 2000 and up. You can still find names like Durango, Journey and Challenger carrying the badge. They have the performance to back it up, too.

9. What was the cheapest muscle car ever produced?

A. 1963 Dodge Coronet 440
B. 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
C. 1961 Ford Falcon
D. 1961 Plymouth Fury

Answer: Was the 1961 Ford Falcon your guess? If so, you are correct. This was Ford’s compact baby from 1960-1970 (even though it is far from compact by today’s standards). It came in a two door, four door, convertible, station wagon, ranchero delivery and a pick up configuration. You could get an optional 101 hp v6 in 1961, and by 63, a respectable 260 CID 4.3 Liter v8 was introduced. Ford had such a diverse product line with the Falcon, it was a real competitor for Chevy’s Monza. The price was sweet, too. You could snag a Falcon for $1,974 in 1961. That was a full thousand dollars cheaper than cars like the Plymouth GTO and almost $2k cheaper than the Dodge Charger. Sure, you sacrificed a bit of engine bulk, but the smaller Falcon had a lot of get up and go in the v6 model. Today, expect to pay about $25k for one, particularly the 1967 model.

1959 Hardtop Oldsmobile Super 88

8. What year was the first Shelby Cobra produced?

A. 1963
B. 1961
C. 1964
D. 1962

Answer: Most of us are familiar with the Caroll Shelby creation. The moment he dropped a 260 cu inch v8 Ford engine inside the body of a British AC Ace, history was made. This vehicle was known as the CSX and would serve as the foundation for Shelby’s car empire. The car would be reinvented several times, but never copied. Many feel it is the definitive American Muscle Car. A bit on the pricey side, many collectors opt for kit car versions of popular 60s models so they can enjoy the lines of the car without their wallet taking a hit. They don’t have the value of authentic Shelby cars, even though the price tag is still in the mid double digits. So when did this fascination begin? 1962. That’s when Shelby made his prototype.

7. What was the first car to win the Daytona 500?

A. 1964 Plymouth Fury
B. 1962 Ford Mustang
C. 1959 Hardtop Oldsmobile Super 88
D. 1960 Dodge Challenger

1959 Hardtop Oldsmobile Super 88

Answer: This is one of the best unknown stories on the net. In 1959, Lee Petty defeated race car driver Johnny Beauchamp at the newly opened Daytona International Speedway in South Florida. The race was so close that Beauchamp was declared the winner at first. However, Lee Petty (known for establishing the famous Petty racing dynasty) challenged the results. With the help of news photographs, the decision was overturned. Many speculate that William France (NASCAR President and owner of the newly opened speedway) declared Beauchamp the winner on purpose. The controversy would have an indirect PR benefit for his new track. Either way, it was the 1959 Oldsmobile Super 88 that took the prize… even if it had to wait a few days.

1953 Corvette

6. What engine did the first Dodge Charger have?

A. 318
B. 361
C. 426 HEMI
D. 383

Answer: All of these happen to be correct. Early Dodge Chargers borrowed many of their components from the Coronet. A look at the exterior lines and hidden headlamps are the first giveaway. The 318 engine came standard, but many consumers opted to upgrade to the other two engine sizes. The car was a sales success, with more than 37,000 units selling after first production. Of that number, 468 opted for the HEMI. Ultimately, this would become an iconic American muscle car. New Chargers look much like the one produced so long ago in 1966. The marketing slogan at the time was, “Meet the new leader of the Dodge Rebellion.” It was first aired in a commercial during the Rose Bowl in 1966. The run was so successful that a half year model was introduced with a 425 7.0Liter Chrysler Hemi engine for the street edition.

5. What year was the first Corvette produced?

A. 1955
B. 1951
C. 1953
D. 1954

1953 Corvette

Answer: The first Corvette was introduced late in the 1953 model year. The original intention was for the Corvette to be a show car at the 1953 Motorama Show. However, the car generated such buzz and interest that GM decided to jump in with both feet and make a production model for the public. June 30, 1953, we were given the Corvette. The sticker price was $3,498 and only 300 were made. Oddly enough, 1954 saw the production run jump to more than 3,500, yet the price dropped considerably ($2,774). It’s no surprise the car was a hit. Haley J. Earl, the Corvette creator, was a GM phenom. He was originally hired to remake the LaSalle and was fresh off success with the 1950 Buick LeSabre. Not bad for a guy who started out designing custom auto bodies for Hollywood greats like Fatty Arbuckle.

4. What was the most powerful muscle car of the 70s?

A. 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
B. 1970 Mustang Boss 429
C. 1970 Chevelle SS 454
D. 1971 Chevy Camaro

Answer: Anything with “Boss” in the title should be a winner, but that’s not the case here. The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss did have a 429 cu inch v8 engine that produced 375 horsepower. Yet, the Chevelle SS eclipsed it by far. That is the right answer. Equipped with a 454 big block engine generating 450 horsepower, the Chevelle could go from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. The Mustang was a close second, but could not compare. The engine was too big for the car. Kar Kraft was contracted to carve out the engine bay so the larger engine would fit. Even at that, it was still no match for the Chevelle.

1959 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

3. What year was the first Chevy Camaro produced?

A. 1966
B. 1964
C. 1967
D. 1968

Answer: On September 29, 1966 we were first introduced to the Chevrolet Camaro. Designed to compete with the Ford Mustang, it would become an icon in its own right. The platform of the Camaro shared several major components of the Pontiac Firebird. Four generations were produced up until 2002. What you might not know is the working name of the car while in development. Originally, it was known as the Panther. However, it was always known that Chevrolet would give the car a “C” name to fall in line with the Corvette, Corvair and Chevelle models. The only people familiar with the Panther name were press associated with insider car enthusiasts. Early models were equipped with an LS6 230 cu inch 3.8liter I6 and generated 140 horsepower. By contrast, in the name of progress, recent Camaros are outfitted with a 6.2Liter LT4 v8 engines and produce 650 horsepower.


2. What was Ford’s answer to the Chevy Corvette?

A. Shelby Mustang
B. Thunderbird
C. Fairlane
D. Falcon

1959 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Answer: Though many believe the Shelby Mustang is the answer to the Corvette, they are mistaken. Don’t misunderstand, the Mustang is the definitive Ford sports car. However, the Thunderbird was considered to be the Corvette competitor at the time. The difference was Thunderbird automobiles favored luxury and comfort over speed. If consumers wanted speed, they would need to opt for a Mustang. Many would argue that Ford never did develop a true competitor to the Corvette. They may be right. The fog of speculation has enthusiasts arguing over whether the Shelby Mustang or Thunderbird should own bragging rights as competition. Mustang fans say it cannot be a competitor since Mustangs are a pony car, not a muscle car. Thunderbird owners say inception and production dates make it competition to the Corvette. While Corvette doubled down on speed and agility, Thunderbird opted for more room and comfort. Maybe Ford let the conversation continue for pure PR reasons. It seems to be working. Articles are consistently written and published on the subject.

1. What is the 426 Hemi engine’s nickname?

A. Beast
B. Boss
C. Elephant
D. Rhino


Answer: Look to sheer size for this answer. The 426 was so large, it was nicknamed “The Elephant.” This was the engine that struck fear in Ford execs when cars equipped with them were winning races left and right. In fact, at the 1964 Daytona Speedway race, 426 HEMI cars came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd. This prompted a rule change by NASCAR. Specialized racing engines could no longer be used. In order to be legal, your vehicle had to be equipped with an engine found in regular production vehicles. As companies retooled the HEMI for use as a street vehicle, the engine can still be found if you look hard enough. Limited edition 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas were both outfitted with the original “Elephant.” Both of these cars were popular in the same venue the HEMI was argued to be most popular… the drag strip.