Who doesn’t love trivia? And if you love cars, you probably love car trivia. Assembled here are a series of questions that you can try on your friends, starting with some basic facts most auto fanatics know, together we’ll work our way into some real esoteric facts that are sure to dazzle.
We’d love to hear your feedback on these questions, as if you enjoy them we post additional trivia questions in the future. It’s up to you.
LEVEL ONE (Beginner)
1. Did Henry Ford invent the car? Invent the assembly line?
Karl Benz is generally regarded as the inventor of the modern automobile, having been granted a patent in 1886, and Ransom E. Olds (of Oldsmobile and REO Speedwagon fame) is credited with inventing the automotive assembly line, though Ford did improve the process by adding a moving conveyor. Though barely able to read, Ford understood the value of good PR and used it to its fullest.
2. Who designed the original Volkswagen?
Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the company that bears his name, designed the Volkswagen. The intent was to copy the success of the Model T in that it provided an inexpensive car that almost any German family could afford. Several other manufacturers were working on the same concept, but Porsche’s was unique with its four wheel independent suspension, rear mounted, air cooled engine, and aerodynamic shape and was selected for production.
3. Which is more efficient, turbochrager or a supercharger?
As the energy of the turbocharger is derived from the flow of exhaust gases leaving the engine, it draws very little power from the engine itself. A supercharger, typically driven by a belt (like an alternator) does consume power from the engine. The supercharger’s advantages, though, are more immediate throttle response, increased power across a broader rpm range, and lower under-hood temperatures.
LEVEL TWO (ADVANCED)
4. Who designed the Small Block Chevy and when was it first available to the public?
According to the General Motors website “Ed Cole is the spiritual and virtual father of GM’s small-block engine family.” He was Chevrolet’s chief engineer at the time of its creation in the early 1950s, having just moved over from Cadillac. Work was already underway on a similar V-8 at Chevrolet when he arrived. It was a thoroughly conventional, small-displacement engine design – and Cole hated it at first sight. He instructed his engineers to start over and design an engine that was lightweight, compact and powerful. It was introduced to the public for the 1955 model year, and over 100 million small blocks have been manufactured since that time.
5. What are the differences between a Ford 427, 428, and 429?
427 – A member of the FE (Ford/Edsel) family of engines, the 427 was developed primarily for racing. The stroke was the same as the 390 at 3.78 inches, but the bore was increased to 4.23 inches. The block was cast with an especially thickened deck to withstand higher compression. Many 427s were built with a steel crankshaft and cross-drilled main bearings. Most 427s used solid valve lifters with the exception of the 1968 block which was drilled for use with hydraulic lifters. It also served as the basis for the SOHC “cammer” engine.
428 – Also a member of the FE family, but with a 3.985 inch stroke and a 4.135 inches bore, creating an easier-to-make engine with nearly identical displacement (the bore of the 427 pushed the limits of the engine design). The 428 was perhaps best known installed in the 1968 Cobra Jet Mustang.
429 – Not a member of the FE family, but of the newer series of 385 engines (385 referencing the stroke of the first engine built with this block). The 429 featured a bore 4.360″ and a stroke of 3.590″. Best known of the 429s is the 375 HP Super Cobra Jet with a 4-bolt main block, a Holley 780 CFM carburetor, and mechanical lifters.
6. What American V-8 stock block won the Formula One World Championship?
When the F1 rules changed maximum engine size to 3L in 1966, there weren’t many engine options for teams. Resourceful driver and team owner Jack Brabham bought some 3.5L aluminum Oldsmobile blocks and had the Australian Repco company develop SOHC cylinder heads for the motor. Brabham put his Repco/Olds to go use, winning both the Formula 1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships in 1966.
In the photo above you can glimpse that valley that normally would have been covered by the intake valley ground down by hand to have weight.
LEVEL THREE (GENIUS)
7.How far does an IndyCar travel in the time it takes the driver to blink?
The race car would travel 133 feet while the driver blinked, a distance a little more than the height of a 12 story office building.
Here’s the math: Scott Dixon won the pole for the 2015 Indy 500 with a speed of 226.760 mph, or 332.58 feet per second, and it takes about 4/10th of a second to blink.
8. How Many Revolutions Does a Top Fuel Motor Make in a Run?
A 500 CID NHRA Top Fuel dragster makes its peak power at 8,000 rpm, or 133 revs per second. A run down the (now) 1,000 foot dragstrip takes 3.7 second, at which point the engine would have revolved just 492 times (and each cylinder would have fired only about 60 times).
9. How long would it take for a 1969 ZL-1 Camaro to suck all the air out of someone’s living room?
It would take about 6 minutes 9 seconds at wide open throttle, though the engine may stall before that for lack of sufficient air flow as the room empties of air.
The four-barrel carb on the ZL-1 consumes 780 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air and a decent-sized living room of about 30 feet by 20 feet by 8 feet has a volume of 4,800 cubic feet.
10. There’s a lot of amperage in a car’s electrical system, so how come it doesn’t kill people?
Although a car’s battery has enough amperage (electrical power) to kill you, it doesn’t have enough voltage (electrical force) to push the electrons through your body to do the job. Your body is just not conductive enough to be fried by 12 volts. Lucky you.
11. How much force is exerted on the top of the piston of a NASCAR Cup engine during the power stroke at peak RPM?
The force on the piston face in a NASCAR Sprint Cup motor is calculated at 3,151 lbs. (that’s for each power stroke for each piston for the length of the race). The car itself weighs 3,250 pounds.
At the end of the 2014 season NASCAR Sprint Cup engines reach a Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) of 227.5 PSI (the force of the explosion of the fuel/air mixture). The area of the top of a NASCAR piston is 13.85 square inches.