20 Interesting and Random Facts About Cars

These interesting facts about cars could be useful for bar trivia!

Updated October 17, 2018

Let’s be real, none of these auto facts are going to make you a millionaire or get you a college degree. However, they could help you win a bar argument or game of trivia. We made a list of 20 random facts in no particular order.

1. The most stolen car in the United States is the Honda Accord.

2. One of the ugliest vehicles ever made, the AMC Gremlin, pioneered the style that is now commonly seen in SUV’s – sloped side-window and high hood. The car was only manufactured for eight years (1970-1978) and numbered 671,475 units. The RRP was $1,879.00USD when it was first released, which these days would be over $11,000 USD.

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3. In the past 50 years, motor vehicle fatalities in the USA have reduced by roughly 80%. The total number of fatalities for 2010 alone is the lowest in 62 years.

4. Whale oil was actually used in some car transmissions until 1973.

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5. From 1908-1914, Ford’s Model T could be purchased in several different colors, but not black. In an effort to make production cheaper and more efficient, Ford chose to make all further Model T’s only in the color black (since black paint was cheap and durable).

6. The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 was capable of doing zero to 60 in less than six seconds. This speed was pretty impressive for the 70’s, especially for an Oldsmobile.

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7. There are now three states that have legalized self-driving cars on the road: Nevada, Florida, and California. Nevada was the first to issue licenses, and did so to allow Google to test their self-driving cars on public streets. Article originally written in 2012, as of 2016 Utah, North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Vermont, and Washington DC have been added to the list. There was an executive order for Arizona and Massachusetts. Colorado, New York, and Alabama are also in progress. Michigan was the only to allow it without a driver in the car and passing this was in progress in California.

8. The 1946 Cisitalia 202 GT is such a beautiful car that it is permanently exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art. The car sports has no sharp edges and is all one single sheet of aluminum. The car was only made from 1947 to 1952 and only 170 were ever produced.

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9. Electric cars are not a new thing; they were already being manufactured in 1905. Rauch & Lang produced electric cars until 1920, when the gas-combustion engine became cheaper to run because of low gas prices.

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10. The Volkswagen Beetle was originally called “Kraft durch Freude Wage” (“Strength Through Joy Car”). The small car was named thusly by Hitler, who in May of 1938 visited the factory and made his great announcement. The car was named after an organization within the Third Reich. After World War II, Volkswagen chose to change the name.

11. Last year there were 32,310 American fatalities due to auto accidents. This is the lowest fatality rate in over half a century. Seat belts are now being worn by 84% of people who travel in vehicles, compared to 14% just 30 years ago. Other improvements like air bags, stability control, crash impact standards, anti-lock brakes, and better tires also contribute to this great reduction.

12. Quite a few high-end cars are already using technology to be more autonomous. Some features include: automatic braking that activates when sensors identify a crash is about to happen, self-adjusting cruise control to keep you from following another car too closely, anti-drifting steering, and self-parking. This is another one that is since a bit outdated, I won’t even try and update as the subject has changed greatly since we originally wrote this in 2012.

13. Mr. H.H. Bliss, a real estate man from New York, was the first victim of vehicular manslaughter in the United States. In September of 1899, he exited a trolley car and was hit by an electric taxicab. Though he was not killed instantly, he did not survive the injuries to his head and chest.

14. In 2004, Nevada was host to the first ever DARPA Grand Challenge. This is a competition for driverless cars, and the first year none of the participants completed the course. Since then, Google’s self-driving cars have completed over 140,000 miles of road travel, with only two small incidents; one of them caused by human error.

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15. Using the actual formula for horsepower (1 HP = power needed to lift 550 lbs. 1 ft. in 1 sec.), the average horse, over a longer period of time, will only produce around .7HP. Currently, a typical compact car will contain a 150HP engine; or the horsepower contained in around 214 horses.

16. The average family sedan has contact patches (areas on the tires that are always touching the road) only covering around 100 square inches of road. This means all four tires only touch around as much road as your two feet placed next to each other.

17. It is believed that self-driving cars will not only be able to improve the flow of traffic on highways (by way of sensing distances between cars and adjusting accordingly), but with the ability to park themselves, it will also strike out parking hassles. This will lead to fewer accidents, and reduced need for traffic control. This is the third one that is highly outdated due to the article being written in 2012, I’ll remove and replace these 3.

18. The Transition, also known as The Flying Car, is actually a plane that can be safely driven on a road or highway, not a car that can fly. The first successful test flight was in 2009 and the Next Generation was unveiled in 2010.

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19. A researcher at Carnegie Mellon has developed new headlight technology that dodges raindrops, to avoid shining light on them. The flicker is too fast to be seen by the human eye, and it is estimated that the lights will make driving in rain significantly less dangerous. BMW has also developed “Dynamic Light Spot”, which finds nearby pedestrians and highlights them.

20. In 2008, a 1961 Ferrari California Spyder became the most expensive car sold at a vintage car auction — $10,894,900 USD after the deduction of the auction fees.

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That was our fun list of automobile facts. Some could be useful, some might be fun bar convo. Feel free to add any interesting car facts you may have in the comments. Maybe we will even write a part 2 with facts from readers.



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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