These 50 Obscure Car-Themed Trivia Questions Will Stump You

These 50 Obscure Car-Themed Trivia Questions Will Stump You

On Friday, Jason and I hosted the first ever Jalopnik Virtual Car Trivia Night—a two-hour car nerdfest in which 63 participants from around the world tried answering some seriously deep cuts. Many struggled and made fun of Jason and me for the obscurity of our questions, but it seems we all had a great time. For those of you who couldn’t make it: Try answering these 50 questions.

I’ll admit that I’d never even hosted a Zoom meeting until the night before this trivia event, so I fully expected the whole thing to be a bit of a shitshow. But the car gods shined their sealed-beam headlights upon us all, and things worked out swimmingly, with Jason and me working these 63 participants into a sweat. Actually, the whole thing was low-key, and a great way to meet car nuts from all around the world. Look at these beautiful random faces:

Anyway, now let’s get to the questions. There were five rounds of 10-ish questions. The topics were: Car Tech (I wrote these), Volkswagen (Jason wrote these), Jeep (I wrote these), Know This Part/Tool (Jason and I both wrote these), Taillight Madness (of course, these were Jason’s questions). Let’s start with the tech section:

Round 1: Car Tech (20 Pts Total)

  1. 1980s and early ‘90s Ford Broncos, F-Series trucks, and Rangers came equipped with a long-arm front suspension design. Ford used different names for the four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive variants of this special front suspension. Give those two names. (Note: Ford still uses the two-wheel drive suspension on modern Super Duties). Show pictures (2pts)

  2. Honda fans will always tell you that their car feels significantly quicker when their engine’s “VTEC kicks in, yo.” What does VTEC stand for? (1pt)

  3. What was the very first dual overhead-cam, four valve-per cylinder General Motors four-cylinder engine that was designed entirely by GM to compete with imports in the 1980s? What did GM change the name of that motor to in 1996? Name one production car that came with this new 1996+ version of this engine. (3pts)

  4. Chrysler’s ubiquitous Pentastar V6 has a displacement of 3.6-litres in all U.S. vehicle applications except one. What is that application (give the make and model, as well as the Chrysler internal program code), and what is the displacement? (3pts)

  5. In the early 1920s, General Motors planned to sell Oakland and Chevrolet vehicles to the public with air cooled motors as a way to reduce cost and increase reliability. What did GM call that air-cooled engine design, and who was the lead engineer behind its development? Hint on the second part: There is a prominent engineering university named after him. (2pts)

  6. Which car has a larger crawl ratio: One with a 3:1 first gear, 4:1 transfer case low range ratio, 3.73:1 axle ratio and 33 inch tires. Or one with a 5:1 first gear ratio, 2.73:1 low range ratio, 4.10:1 axle ratio, and 31 inch tires. (1pt)

  7. What does SOHC stand for? (1pt)

  8. In the Insurance Institute for highway safety’s Moderate Overlap Frontal Crash Test, what percentage of the test vehicle’s total width strikes the stationary barrier? What percentage strikes the barrier in the small overlap crash test? (2pts)

  9. What is the overall diameter of a tire of size: 235 75 R15. (235mm is 9.25 in). (1pt) 

  10. Name the device found on electric vehicles whose job it is to convert DC current from the battery to AC to power the motors. (1pt)

  11. What is the technical name for the brake light found in the centre of the rear of a car, often mounted up high? What model year did they become standard on all new passenger cars sold in the U.S.? What model year did they become standard on all Light trucks? (3pts) 

Here are the answers to round 1.

Round 2: Volkswagen (11 Pts Total)

  1. What was the nickname of Volkswagen’ specialty vehicle for the German Post Office, also known as the Type 147?

  2. What unique feature of the wartime VW variant, the Kubelwagen, ended up on VW Type 2 buses and trucks from 1950 to 1967?

  3. What were the two factory-built VWs that had FWD and air-cooled flat-four engines?

  4. What was the VW 181, which we knew as the Thing in America, called in the UK?

  5. What was the name of the first water-cooled car VW sold?

  6. What did the heater control look like on Beetles from 1949 to 1964?

  7. What did the fresh air vents on a 1952 VW Beetle cool?

  8. What gear is reverse next to on a VW four-speed transmission pattern?

  9. Who was the “famous Italian designer” that VW hired and suggested that VW should make the Beetle’s rear window bigger?

  10. What was the only air-cooled VW completely designed in Australia?

Here are the answers to round 2.

Round 3: Jeep (16 Pts Total)

  1. On March 19, 1952, Willys Overland sent the 1 Millionth Jeep off the assembly line. Name the model. See picture. (1pt)

  2. During the production of the World War II Jeep, Willys Overland added something to the front suspension to prevent the MB from steering to the left during braking. Name the part. (1pt)

  3. What is the most legendary Jeep engine of all time (known for its longevity and low-end torque)? It was the standard motor on base model Jeep Grand Cherokees between 1993 and 2004, and could be found in Wranglers between 1991 and 2006, Cherokees between 1987 and 2001, and Comanches between 1987 and 1992. (1pt)

  4. What is the birthplace of Jeep? I.e. where the basic architecture and prototype of what would later become the World War II Jeep was engineered. Name the city and state. (2pts)

  5. Name the two companies that built the standardised World War II Jeep. (2 pts)

  6. The Jeep Wrangler has been in production continuously for every model year between 1987 and 2020 except one. Name that model year. (1pt)

  7. All Jeep Wranglers built for the U.S. market have been assembled in Toledo except some in the 1980s and early 90s. Where were those built? (need the city).  (1pt)

  8. Name the very first 4×4 Jeep sold with front independent suspension. (1pt)

  9. Name three companies other than Fiat Chrysler that have owned the Jeep brand. (3pts)

  10. The Jeep Wrangler JK, built between the 2007 and 2018 model years, received a major interior update and a major powertrain update during its run. Name the one model year that received the new interior, but kept the old motor. Also name the displacement/engine layout of the old motor and the one that replaced it. (3pts)

Here are the answers to round 3.

Round 4: Name This Part/Tool (10 Pts Total)




Image: Partsgeek








Here are the answers to round 4.

Round 5: Taillight Madness (9 Pts Total)

  1. What is the order of lamp colour in a Peugeot 504 Wagon taillight, from top to bottom? 

  2. Place the following cars into two groups, round or rectangular taillights: Ford Cortina, 1st gen Opel Manta, Citroën Dyane, Chevrolet Corvair, Fiat 128, Ford LTD

  3. What year were reverse lamps first required in the US?

  4. What car did the Series 4 Lotus Esprit borrow its taillights from?

  5. What was behind the driver’s side taillight of a 1956 & 1957 Continental Mark II?

  6. What car is known for having its inner set of taillights fade to a light pink, almost a salmon colour?

  7. What shape is a Cadillac Allanté’s CHMSL, and what is embossed on it?

  8. What colour other than clear does Australia permit for reverse lamps?

  9. What’s the order, from outside in, of the colours on a Mk1 RX-7 taillight?

Here are the answers to round 5.

The Winners From Last Week’s Trivia Night

The winner of Friday night’s competition with a total of 43.5 out of 66 points was a team consisting of readers Julian Butcher, Sam Gross, Zach Young, and Wil Randolph.

Second place was team 6, whose members were: Jeremy Spira, Mackenzie burns, William Kenworthy, Ian Taylor, Wout Brinke.

Team captain Jeremy sent me some info on the team in an email:

Some car highlights from our team: one guy owns a honda beat and f150, another guy has a miata, bmw 550 and 1977 jag xj6, one guy had a wrx and bmw 128, last guy had a gmc savanna with 4wd and 31in tires, and my commuter car- lexus es350- the couch on wheels.

Another team consisting of members Jack, Josh, Mike, William, and Ken was right up there with 39 points:

The fact that the best score from Friday night was a 66 per cent—a D grade!—proves that Jason and I brought just the right amount of obscurity to this trivia night.

You just wait for this Friday.