cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: Your favorite nugget of automotive trivia?

  • "The customer can have it (Ford Model T) in any color as long as its black."
  • "Chevy made one Camaro Z/28 convertible back in the 1960s."
  • "The 1982 Corvette was way more aerodynamic than the 1969 Corvette."
  • "Toyota was originally called Toyoda"
  • "The 1981 Honda Accord was the first production car with a navigation system."
  • "The three points of the Mercedes star represent Air, Sea, and Land."
  • "BMW's first product was an aircraft engine."

There are so, so, sooooooo many bits of automotive trivia out there. So this week we ask you, what's your favorite nugget of automotive trivia? 1981 Honda Accord Navigation | Honda1981 Honda Accord Navigation | Honda

 

66 REPLIES 66
hyperv6
Racer

Many claimed the 1988  Fiero has a Lotus designed suspension. 

The truth was it was designed by GM but GM used Porsche Engineering to tune the on center feel and turn in. 

The Fiero group had two Turbo wide body Fiero’s called Porsche killers. They had tail lamps that stated so under braking. They had to remove the tail lamps not to offend the Porsche folks while working in the program. 

DUB6
Specialist

Before windshield wipers were invented, drivers (mostly males in those chauvinistic days) would have to repeatedly get out of their cars and clean off the windshield by hand.  In 1905, a woman named Mary Anderson invented windshield wipers, thereby proving that men may be impervious to rain and snow, but women have practical minds and are not afraid to use them!   🙄

DUB6
Specialist

How about the fact that although people have long proclaimed to "love that new-car smell", the odor is actually produced by toxic off-gassing from plastics, glues, and other materials used in the manufacturing and assembly of automotive interiors.

DUB6
Specialist

Folks born after the 1980s might consider this a history lesson: the demise of the wing window.  When the automotive explosion happened in the US after 

DUB6
Specialist

Ouch - hit the wrong button!  Anyway, after autos hit the highways big time and people gave up long train rides to travel by car, few cars had A/C and they also weren't usually very "slippery" (gas was cheap and style overruled function).  So almost every manufacturer put all kinds of ventilation into their designs.  Cowl vents, roll-down quarter windows, and small windows near the driver and front passenger that were typically called Wing Vents or Wing Windows.  Most just manually unlatched and swung open, but a few had hand crank or even powered mechanisms.  At speed, an open wing window could direct airflow over front seat occupants and at-the-very-least, cooled them by evaporating sweat.

   As carmakers became more conscious of interior comfort, more and more cars came outfitted with air-cooling equipment.  And particularly after the gas crisis of the mid-seventies, more aerodynamic thought was put into exterior design (open wing vents really caused a lot of drag) - so by the early '80s, these little windows had pretty much disappeared from all cars.

   Kids that grew up in the '50s through the '70s have memories of getting the breeze to blow on them and are often nostalgic for a '67 Camaro rather than a '68 (younger readers: look it up in a Google image file and see what difference you can readily spot between the two years).  🤔

hyperv6
Racer

The window cooling was known as 2 70 air or 4 70 air depending on if you had a two or 4 door car.  We were saved by the time 55 mph hit we had ac in most cars. 

Bubberz1
Intermediate Driver

Sorry. They were called "Vent Windows".

JimDandy83
Intermediate Driver

Maybe it was a Canadian thing but we called them "No draft(s)" windows.  If you opened them only less than 90 degrees to the wind, it reduced or eliminated the amount of wind blowing into the open side window. (or so we believed)

richsrestoring
Pit Crew

The Vent Windows were not only for blowing air in. When the window was, or is, opened partly the air passing the car caused a vacuum to be created and interior air was sucked out of the car. In a time when smoking was fashionable, and most people smoked the smoke was drawn outside. Mom and Dad could smoke in the front and the kids did not choke in the rear. Those cars also had fresh air vents that allowed outside air into the car, something the new car stupidly eliminate. You either have heat OR air. We have some beautiful weather here and do not always want the windows all rolled down. The smell of " fresh country air" is way better than a "new" car odor.

Bubberz1
Intermediate Driver

Wing window? We called them, "Vent Windows", back in the day. That was our air conditioning, most couldn't afford the A/C option. Wish they hadn't removed them. They were very handy.

Snailish
Instructor

Willys doesn't rhyme with Chillies.

DUB6
Specialist

Maybe not, but when I drove my '61 Willys CJ in the winter, it had so many drafts through it that my feet, legs, hands, and ears were certainly "chillies" in the realest sense!  😄

miata93
Advanced Driver

 

That's interesting since all of my relatives that lived in Toledo pronounced it Willee's. Even the guy that worked there. But hey, you never know.

Snailish
Instructor

We say a lot of the import names incorrectly too. Mighty Car Mods posted a short video of a Japanese woman saying the names correctly. In some cases the differences were very subtle.

 

To Canadian ears the American home reno shows say foyer (foy-yer) odd as a French-rooted words like that end with "yay". Regional differences in the States alone... look at the pronunciation of cement.

 

If the car company uses a local (national) way of saying a name then that is how they say it. The Willy's one stands out to me as it doesn't seem like an accent explains it. More likely read off of print as the company didn't make it to the mass media TV commercial era.

 

But did Jeep call the recent special editions Willees in TV ads in the states? I wouldn't be surprised if yes.

Michaelmotorcyc
Intermediate Driver

What does it rhyme with?

WRLotus
Detailer

Bruce.

 

 

 

 

(Willis)

TonyT
Technician

When William Durant was building General Motors, he wanted a truck to combat Henry Ford's strangle hold on that market. He arranged to buy the Grabowsky Motor Company that was highly regarded for their truck products. Part of the deal was the name would not be changed, hence "GMC" still stands for "Grabowsky Motor Company," not "General Motors Corporation." David Buick had cut the same deal earlier when Durant bought the company.

DUB6
Specialist

Now THAT'S some obscure trivia, for sure!  I've been assuming the wrong meaning for those initials for my entire life.

Qsouthall
Pit Crew

Same here! 

miata93
Advanced Driver

Wow! That's like finding out that Ralph Lauren's real name is Ralph Lif**bleep**z.

Snailish
Instructor

Didn't the Grabowski brothers change the name to Rapid Motor Vehicles or somesuch a few years before they sold out to Durant?

3_Lightnings
Intermediate Driver

The 1979 V8 Mustang was the first American automobile that featured the serpentine belt.  Now every American car has that type of belt.  There even was supposedly an ad aired during the Indianapolis 500 race showing a '79 Pace Car coming into the pits and having it changed only a minute!  I wish someone would find that advertisement so that it could be posted for everyone to see.

Bubberz1
Intermediate Driver

I miss "V" belts. Serpentine belt breaks you're shut down. V belts usually would get you home or to a shop to replace the bad, broken or missing one and they didn't cost like they do now.

MadMac
Intermediate Driver

The first NASCAR road race was won by a Jaguar in 1954.  NASCAR banned imports after the 1958 season.  The "imports" racing today, like Toyota, qualify because they are made in the USA.

Tinkerah
Engineer

Knowing WHY hemispherical chambers make more power. Everyone loves boasting "Yep! It's got a Hemi!" but so few know what it means or why it works. They also don't know that just about EVERYTHING uses hemispherical technology these days, they're just not allowed to infringe on Chrysler's copyrighted nickname for it.

DUB6
Specialist

It's also the name of one of my favorite soda pops - you know - QUENCH  😋

Tinkerah
Engineer

A great, aggressive and descriptive name! It's no wonder its competitor is relegated to obscurity: "Unshrouded Valves".

Bubberz1
Intermediate Driver

Hemi is the best flowing engine to date. That's why it's so copied today.

 

CitationMan
Gearhead

From a wonderful series of articles by Murilee Martin on Autoweek, here is some surprising information on how long certain transmissions were offered for sale in the US.

-Last 3 on the tree: 1979 Nova and 1987 Chevy/GMC trucks

-Last 3 on the floor: 1981 Camaro/Nova/Lemans/Cutlass/Century 

-Last 3 speed auto: 2002 Toyota Corolla/Chevy Prizm

-Last 4 on the floor: 1996 Toyota Tercel

 

LeadfootKen
New Driver

My wife would be insulted that you don’t recognize her 1999 Honda Civic coupe (sitting in our driveway) as potentially having the last manufactured “four on the floor” manual transmission.

JPTL
Intermediate Driver

The door strike on all years of the Porsche 928 is a perfect bottle opener.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Wow, I am gonna have to try that one day. 

DUB6
Specialist

Yeah, step one of course is to buy a Porsche 928.  Step two: buy some beer.  Go from there...

richsrestoring
Pit Crew

That makes sense! You would have to be a fall drunk to buy a Porsche. LOL And as long as we are at it. The name is properly pronounced Porscha. It's German and the name of the company's founder Dr. Porsche. You don't say Chevro-let so stop messing up the man's name. You don't like it when people mess yours up.

DUB6
Specialist

Unless, of course, your last name is Schitt.  Then if people think it's pronounced Skit, you're okay with it.  😆

richsrestoring
Pit Crew

Your Right! There is always an exception to a rule.🤕

Qsouthall
Pit Crew

My son works for a Porsche Restoration shop. Im going to have to ask him about this!

Qsouthall
Pit Crew

He said he didnt know that information.

fotogmike
Intermediate Driver

In 1970, at the peak of the classic muscle car-era horsepower war, which engine had the highest torque rating?

No, its wasn't the 426 Hemi.

No, it wasn't the 455 Stage 1.

It was.....(drum roll)...(engine rev)...

the Cadillac 500 cubic inch V8 with a torque rating of 550 pound-feet at 3000 rpm.

DUB6
Specialist

And to think that hardly anyone would place Caddys in the "muscle car" category!

Bubberz1
Intermediate Driver

Back in the day, they used Caddys and Buick nail heads in their "old fli

vers"

 

Bubberz1
Intermediate Driver

Caddy also had a "472" and Olds had a "510".

miata93
Advanced Driver

Postwar Jeeps had 4 cylinder engines with the intake valves in the OHV configuration with rocker arms. The exhaust valves were in a flat head configuration with no rockers. The head was referred to as "F-head".

 

miata93
Advanced Driver

There was only one NASCAR race held at Road America in Elkhart Lake WI between 1955 and 2009.

hyperv6
Racer

NASCAR had a race at the Canfield Fair Grounds in Canfield Ohio in the 50's. 

What was special was one of the races had a 48 Tucker in it as a stock car. 

 

It did not fair well as it went out early. 

SLAVENDER
Intermediate Driver

I always liked that Toyota's MR-2 (or Mister Two) translated into Japanese is Ni-San.

Michellehrand
Pit Crew

The Lancia Lambda was a panoply of automotive 'firsts': it utilized the first monocoque chassis, the first V4 engine, the first independent front suspension..... and not to mention, the first four wheel brakes and the first production aluminum engine block. Truly a marvel. 

DUB6
Specialist

Good trivia - I'm gonna try this one out on a few of my car friends!  😃

AK80B
New Driver

First 4 wheel brakes?  Really?