The Annual Cars and Presidents Quiz

Do you know your cars AND your American history?  So you know that Lincoln never drove a Lincoln (or anything else, since cars didn’t exist yet).  But do you know which president did drive a car with his name?  Scroll on to find out who, and lots more about our leaders and their rides – in our Cars and Presidents quiz:

So ladies and gentlemen – start your brains (not your search engines), and good luck!

Your questions are:

  1. Which President shared his ride with Al Capone (not at the same time, of course)?
  2. Who was the first President to ride in a car?
  3. Who was the first President to ride in a car, as President (hint:  2 & 3 are not the same president)?
  4. Which president drove a car with his name (his pre-presidential car)?
  5. Who was the first President to go to an auto show?
  6. When did the White House stables give way to the White House garage?
  7. Which President rode in a Lincoln?
  8. Which President owned an Amphicar (it was just what it sounds like)?
  9. Which President said, “I am a motorist myself and know what it means to travel over rough roads.”?  (And he meant real roads, not metaphorical ones.)
  10. Who was the first President to give up the traditional horse and carriage, and ride in a car to his inauguration?
  11. Who once called out his 1950 ‘Olds in a speech?
  12. And finally, how many presidents share their name with a car?

And, the envelopes please:

A. President Roosevelt (Franklin).

It was an armored Cadillac that had been Al Capone’s car.  This was right after Pearl Harbor, and it was a temporary measure while the official White House car was being fortified.

B. President McKinley.

That, from the admittedly short list of memorable facts about President McKinley.

C. President Roosevelt (Theodore).

Theodore Roosevelt recorded a number of firsts, though to be fair, he doesn’t seem to have too fond of cars.  Of course, they’ve improved since his day.|

D. President Ford (of course.)

His Ford, was a Mustang.

E. President Taft. William Howard Taft, on the other hand, DID like cars.

In fact, he officially opened “the 1913 automobile show at the Convention Hall, Washington, D.C. … by pressing a button from the White House, igniting 150,000 lights at the hall.”  Then he went over to have a look in person.

F. 1909.

G. President Truman.

Though he was only the first.  His pair of Lincoln Cosmopolitans went on to serve the next three presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson).

H. President Johnson (Lyndon).

You could have had one of these too, as the Amphicar was not an official presidential vehicle (though there were only about 3800 ever made).  Johnson kept it on his Texas ranch, and liked to scare visitors by pretending to lose control and driving into a lake (where it would float).

I. President Taft. (again)

J. President Harding.

Looking sharp in a Packard Twin-Six.  Looking less sharp later in his administration when the Teapot Dome scandal broke.

K. President Nixon.

Ok, this was a trick question.  Nixon was only Vice-President when he mentioned his Oldsmobile, as part of a description of his modest life (the “Checkers” speech).

L. A lot (though not all the cars were named after “their” president).

There was a Washington and a Carter.  The Adams-Farwell (which covers two presidents.  Both Adams.  There’s no President Farwell that we know of.). There was a Harrison and a Bush (sold only by mail-order! “From Maine to California, Bush Agents are making money.”).

There was a Roosevelt (named for Teddy).  And since there was a Pierce-Arrow, Franklin Pierce gets partial credit.  There was a Jackson (“No Hill Too Steep, No Sand Too Deep”).  And if you are 120 years old or so, you might have driven a Grant, or a Cleveland (“the car without a weak spot”).

There was a Madison – but that car was named for his wife.  (During the First World War though, you could have been tooling around in your Dolly Madison).  The Japanese carmaker Daihatsu made a Jeep-style car called – Taft, in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

President Taylor also makes an appearance in unusual fashion – by way of the Taylor Aerocar.  Yep, a flying car (you had to move fast if you wanted a Taylor though, only six of them were built, starting in 1949).

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