How Well Do You Know Your 1960s Cars?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Do you know your way around cars? More specifically, do you know your way around 1960s cars? This righteous quiz will test you to the max by driving you into some crazy car trivia. Ready?

It's no secret that each decade and generation will be defined by the cultural products popular during that specific time. From clothes to music and movies to language, each era has its defining moments, memorable inventions, impressive innovations and even forgettable flops.

The same can be said about cars. Ever since the automobile went into mass production in the early 1900s, decade after decade saw evolutions and revisions to the models first rolled out of factories. From the roaring '20s to the Depression-era '30s, then the war-torn '40s and the rebirth-slash-rehash of cultural norms during the '50s, you could say that cars went along for the ride and rolled along with the changes. The '60s were no different, and as the decade raged on, the cars reflected the changing technology and cultural tastes of their day. 

Are you old enough to remember what kinds of cars were considered "Kings of the roads" during those times? Or are you a nostalgia-lover who finds the sexy '60s intriguing and curious? No matter which generation you belong to, it's still a gas to test your knowledge of '60s cars! Care to try it out? Then start your engines, burn some rubber and play chicken with this quiz! 

Which safety feature became mandatory in 1964?

Some states had enacted laws before, but surprisingly, lap belts weren't required by federal law until 1964, shoulder belts until 1968 and integrated shoulder/lap belts until 1974. Rising traffic fatalities — about 50,000 a year in the U.S. at the time — made them a necessity. Even though there are more drivers on the road today, fatalities have dropped because of safety equipment like the seat belt.


"Fastbacks" were popular in the 1960s. What does the word "fastback" refer to?

"Fastback" means the roof of the car slopes downward in one line from the roof to the bumper, reducing drag and often increasing visual appeal. Mustang fastbacks from the 1960s, for instance, are still in demand today.


The Chevy Corvair was the first car in the U.S. to have what feature?

This design feature was more common in European cars. It increases downforce and grip to have the engine close to the active wheels — in this case, the back in a rear-wheel-drive car.


The 1960s saw the increasing popularity of disc brakes. What kind of brakes did they replace?

Drum brakes were common in early cars. But Jaguar's racing team used disc brakes successfully in the 1950s, and soon they began to make their way into production cars. The disc cools down more easily than the drum, offering better performance. They dry off quicker, as well, which makes them the better choice in wet conditions.


What kind of car was the Skylark?

Buick was a high-end line for General Motors, whose more meat-and-potatoes line was Chevrolet. The 1961 Buick Skylark was a redesign of the earlier Roadmaster Skylark sold in the 1950s and went through many design changes in its six-generation run.


If you have a vintage Eldorado convertible, what kind of car do you drive?

Eldorados (yes, the name is spelled as one word) were a luxury car that thrived in the days before gas shortages. An Eldorado convertible from the 1960s — almost 11 feet in length — still makes a substantial fashion statement today.


Racing driver-turned-designer Carroll Shelby is most associated with which of these cars?

While Carroll Shelby designed several vehicles for different companies, the Shelby Mustangs will always hold a special place in many a gearhead's heart. He designed the GT350 and GT500, based on the Ford Mustang. He died in 2012 after a storied career in racing and design.


"Ragtop" refers to what kind of car?

The term "ragtop," popular in the 1960s but actually coined in the 50s, is a convertible with a soft or canvas top. A "hardtop," on the other hand, is a car with a rigid but removable or retractable roof.


Which carmaker debuted its classic "911" model in 1963?

Porsche debuted its game-changing 911 at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. The car was called the Porsche 901 at the time (an argument over naming conventions with French manufacturer Peugeot resulted in the car getting its "911" name). You'll still see many 1960s Porsche 911s on the road, as they tend to be very-well-maintained by their loving owners.


Which carmaker created the Galaxie?

Introduced in 1958, "Galaxie" was the actual spelling of the vehicle from Ford, though in astronomy, "galaxy" is correct. The Ford Galaxie included "Sunliner" and "Starliner" convertible models, an attempt to capitalize on America's interest in space exploration.


Which of these was the first front-wheel-drive car in the U.S. since the 1930s?

The Toronado (whose name has no meaning, but could have been inspired by the success of the "Eldorado") was promoted by ads featuring racing driver Bobby Unser, who talked about the car's good handling. It was the first U.S.-made front-wheel-drive automobile since the Cord 810/812 in 1937.


Which 1960s car takes its name from an African animal?

The Chevy Impala debuted in the 1958 model year and was sold through the 1980s. Tt's been revived twice, from 1994 to 1996 and again in 2000. You can buy a tenth-generation version of the car today. An impala, by the way, is a grasslands animal, similar to an antelope, and found in eastern and southern Africa.


Which car manufacturer's name translates to "people's car"?

Volkswagen produced the Beetle and the Bus, two very popular vehicles of the 1960s. The company has its roots in the Third Reich — Adolf Hitler wanted a car that the average German family could afford an in 1937 the Nazi state formed what would become known as Volkswagenwerk, or "The People's Car Company."


Which 1960s car brand is forever linked to James Bond?

Bond has driven a lot of cars, but when he took the wheel of an English-made Aston Martin DB5 in 1964's "Goldfinger" (and again in 1965's "Thunderball"), it made an indelible impression on the public. If you ask the average person what kind of car Bond prefers, they'll most likely vote for the Aston Martin.


What otherwise-staid type of car had a renaissance among surfers in the 1960s?

Woodie wagons were cheap to buy and had plenty of room for hauling surfboards (and surfers) around. So what started as a matter of convenience became a cultural fashion statement — the surfer and his/her vintage "woodie."


What kind of car did Steve McQueen drive in the film "Bullitt"?

Frank Bullitt drove a green '68 Mustang GT fastback through the streets of San Francisco in the 1968 film. The men chasing him drove a Dodge Charger R/T. The scene has been referenced several times; an episode of the animated TV show "Archer" in 2015 found the title character behind the wheel of a green 'Stang with a Charger hot on his tail.


Which carmaker rolled out the Cougar at the end of the 1960s?

The Cougar, released in the 1967 model year, was another example of the ever-popular 1960s "pony car." In 1967, the Mercury would have cost you a little under $3,000.


Which division of Ford Motors, named in honor of Henry Ford's son, went under in the 1960 model year?

Edsel Ford was president of the Ford Motor Company until his death from cancer at age 49. Car buyers were unimpressed with the line named in his honor and launched in 1956, however, and it was discontinued in 1960. (Ford's major success of the 1960s, the Mustang, was still four years away.)


A "Volkswagen Type 1" is better known as what kind of car?

Yes, the Type 1 was better known as the "Beetle" or just "Bug." Eternally popular, these were re-introduced to the market in the late 1990s, in virtually the same body style.


In the '60s, Ralph Nader changed the auto industry with his tell-all book on safety. What was it called?

"Unsafe at Any Speed," published in 1965, drew attention to the many safety issues that car makers knew about but refused to change. A best-seller of its time, "Unsafe" ranks alongside "Silent Spring" and "The American Way of Death" as industry warnings and nonfiction classics.


Which classic U.S. carmaker went under in 1967?

No 1930s gangster movie or WWII-era movie set in the U.S. would be complete without a classy (and hulking) Studebaker. This German family had such deep roots in the trade that they made carriages and other horse-drawn vehicles in their South Bend, Indiana plant before getting into the auto line in 1902.


What classic 1960s car went over the cliff in "Thelma and Louise"?

The third star of "Thelma and Louise" has to be Louise's beautiful blue-green Thunderbird convertible. One of the cars (there were five Thunderbirds used in the filming of the movie) sold at auction in 2008 for a little more than $71,000.


Who produced the competitor car to the Mustang and Camaro called the Barracuda?

Plymouth actually managed to release its car released two weeks before the Mustang (the development of which was a badly kept Detroit secret), but it was designed to be a competitor to what would become Ford's runaway hit.


Ford changed the automotive world with the Mustang. What year was it released?

Ford introduced the first "pony car" in 1964, five months before the beginning of the 1965 model year (resulting in the first cars being called "1964 1/2" models). Lee Iacocca recalls knowing the Mustang was a success when he saw a sign in a diner window reading, "Our hotcakes are selling like Mustangs."


What is a "camaro" in real life?

The most widely accepted explanation for how the Camaro got its name is that the branding team, who wanted a word that began with "C" to continue Chevy's naming convention at the time, misread a word in a French-English dictionary that meant "friend, pal or comrade." A competitor found that the word closely resembled the Spanish word for a "small, shrimp-like creature." Chevy countered by saying the word ACTUALLY meant "a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs."


What is the Volkswagen "Type 2" better known as?

The VW bus/van/hippy bus was immensely popular in the 1960s. This was despite a rear-engine configuration that put the driver's legs on the front line in the event of a collision. The first generation is recognizable from later models by its split windshield (later models had a one-piece windshield). Introduced in 1949, the Type 2 is still in production in some countries.


Which company made the Mistral?

Produced from 1963 through 1970, the Mistral was part of the Italian "gran turismo" tradition. Like other Maseratis to follow, it had the name of a wind (a "mistral" is a chilly northern wind in the south of France).


What year did Chevrolet release the Camaro?

Ford's Mustang had a solid head start on the Camaro, having been released in April 1964. Still, it did well; although the car took a break from 2002 to 2010, a sixth generation of the Camaro is on the market today.


What kind of car did Dustin Hoffman drive in "The Graduate"?

Bucking the domestic pony-car trend, director Mike Nichols gave Benjamin a small European car. The Spider has proven to be a very popular model for Italian carmaker, Alfa Romeo — the extent to which "The Graduate" helped is unclear, but it certainly didn't hurt.


Which cars stole the show in 1969's "The Italian Job"?

In this classic film, Michael Caine plays a thief who plans a gold heist. The bricks of gold are carried off in several Minis, which are nimble enough to race around Turin's sidewalks, arcades and even sewers. Then, once the gold is unloaded, the cars are pushed over a cliff. That's gratitude for you!


Which super-sleek car was originally named "Panther" in its prototype days?

There were already reports circulating that Chevy was going to roll out a "Panther" to compete with the Mustang. However, Chevy chose the name "Camaro" instead, in keeping with its "C" naming convention of the time.


What kind of car do McQueen and his pursuers pass at least four times in "Bullitt"?

No viewing of "Bullitt" is complete without counting the number of times McQueen passes the green Beetle. The repetition was the result of editing to extend the length of the now-famous car chase scene. The VW is seen at least four times in four different places in under a minute.


Which European car is credited as starting the "supercar" trend?

The Miura was a passion project for Lamborghini designers. Built for speed, it ran counter to the larger, more comfortable cars Lamborghini was making at the time. The designers developed the prototype on their own time before they got the go-ahead to fully develop the vehicle, which became the company's flagship car and was in production from 1966 through 1973.


Which of these '60s cars takes its name from a small naval ship?

The Corvette is a Chevrolet model named after the small, maneuverable light warship class. The car received its name in 1953 from a Chevy PR assistant director, Myron Scott.


What is widely considered to be the difference between a "pony car" and a "muscle car"?

Pony cars, like the Mustang, Camaro and Barracuda are smaller than muscle cars, which are mid- or full-sized. This doesn't, however, keep people from calling pony cars "muscle cars." Those in the know, however, always keep the two classes distinct.


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on