A Quiz: Henry Ford Museum Pops the Hood – What Engine is That?

One of the red-circled events on my calendar every year is the Detroit Autorama, arguably the world’s best custom car and hot rod show. As is fitting for an event in the Motor City, the vehicles competing for the Autorama’s top prize, the Ridler Award, must actually function, they have to be driven onto the show floor under their own power, and the hoods are up during judging so the judges can evaluate the engine compartment.

While that makes for fair competition, it also makes for less-than-ideal photography of the cars’ styling. No kid sitting in seventh-grade study hall ever drew a hot car with the hood up.

It might surprise you, then, that I was excited to find out about the Engines Exposed exhibit running until the end of February at the Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America display. Curators there have popped the hoods on over 70 of the more than 100 vehicles on permanent display at the museum. Unlike at the Autorama, you won’t find any LS3 engines, but you will find a small-block Chevy V8 from the 1950s, as well as many other historically significant powerplants. I say “powerplant” because the vehicles featured don’t just include those powered by gasoline engines. There are gas/electric hybrids, including one over a century old, pure battery-electric vehicles, Chrysler’s famous turbine, and even a steam-powered vehicle.

The Henry Ford Museum is always worth a visit, but if you’re a motorhead, this is a particularly propitious time to check it out.

I was going to do a photo essay on the display, with a little bit of historical info to accompany each engine, but some of the engines are worthy of entire books by themselves and the post would have gotten unwieldy.

Instead, we decided that a quiz would be more fun. Can you identify the make and model of the car from just a cropped image of the motor?

Some of them are easier than others, as I didn’t bother to obscure any logos that decorate a few of the engines. And speaking of obscure, I’ll be surprised if you can identify all of them. Some are virtually one of a kind so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t identify them. On the other hand, some of the motors and their motorcars are so iconic that you should give up your car guy/gal card if you don’t recognize them.

By the way, the flathead Ford V8 engine at the top of this post isn’t part of the quiz. That’s the first production Ford V8 ever made, with a hand-stamped brass plate reading:

THIS IS V-8 NO 1 MOTOR
HOLD FOR MR H FORD

One might say that’s a bit ironic in light of the fact that the V8 was Henry Ford’s second choice for a powerplant to replace the by-then venerable Model T’s four-cylinder engine. At Henry’s direction, Ford Motor Compan spent four years and uncounted dollars trying, in vain, to develop an X-8 layout before the industrialist accepted failure and turned to the V8 configuration. Still, though it was his second choice, the V8 was Henry’s baby. While the flathead Ford V8 was revolutionary in that it brought V8 power to non-luxury automobiles, it’s hardly a perfect design — and most of its technical shortcomings are the result of Henry Ford’s personal decisions.

The correct answers for the quiz are provided below, along with a gallery of uncropped photos.

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1. 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
2. 1909 Ford Model T
3. 1924 Essex Coupe
4. 1943 Willys Army Jeep
5. 1949 Ford Sedan
6. 1960 Chevrolet Corvair
7. 1978 Dodge Omni
8. 1989 Honda Accord
9. 2002 Toyota Prius
10. 1949 Volkswagen Type I
11. 1914 Ford Model T
12. 1930 Ford Model A
13. 1932 Ford V8
14. 1956 Continental Mark II
15. 1937 Cord 812
16. Bugatti Royale
17. 1931 Duesenberg Model J
18. 1919 Woods Mobillette
19. JB Rocket Cyclecar
20. 1951 Crosley Hotshot
21. 1936 Lincoln Zephyr
22. 1948 Tucker
23. 1958 Edsel Citation
24. 1963 Buick Riviera
25. 1987 Ford NASCAR
26. 1956 Chrysler 300B NASCAR
27. 1962 Ford Mustang I Concept
28. 1951 Beatty Belly Tank Land Speed Record
29. 1965 Goldenrod Land Speed Record
30. 1906 Locomobile Old 16
31. 1933 Willys Gasser
32. 1960 Meskowski Offenhauser Roadster
33. 1935 Miller-Ford V8 Indy
34. 1967 Ford Mk IV LeMans
35. 1919 Ford Model T
36. 1956 Ford Thunderbird
37. 1986 Ford Taurus
38. 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang
39. 1949 Kaiser Traveler
40. 1963 Chrysler Turbine
41. 1997 General Motors EV1
42. 1916 Woods Dual Power Hybrid
43. 1906 White Model G Steam
44. 1896 Riker Electric
45. 1955 Chevrolet Corvette
46. 1957 DeSoto Fireflite
47. 1904 Packard Model L
48. 1919 Overland Model 90B
49. 1950 Plymouth Deluxe Suburban Station Wagon
50. 1984 Plymouth Voyager
51. 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7
52. 1949 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe
53. 1983 Honda Accord
54. 1927 LaSalle Roadster
55. 1939 Ford Convertible
56. 1903 Oldsmobile

[Images: The author]

1. chevrolet 1956 bel air convertible

2. ford 1909 model T

3. essex 1924 coupe

4. willys 1943 army jeep

5. ford 1949

6. chevrolet 1960 corvair

7. dodge 1978 omni

8. honda 1989 accord

9. toyota 2002 prius

10. vw 1949 type 1

11. ford 1914 model t

12. ford 1930 model a

13. ford 1932 v8

14. continental 1956 mk ii

15. cord 1937 812

16. bugatti royale

17. duesenberg 1931 model j

18. woods 1919 mobillette

19. jb rocket cyclecar

20. crosley 1951 hotshot

21. lincoln 1936 zephyr

22. tucker 1948

23. edsel 1958 citation

24. buick 1963 riviera

25. ford 1987 thunderbird nascar

26. chrysler 1956 300b nascar

27. ford 1962 mustang i concept

28. beatty 1951 belly tank lsr

29. goldenrod 1965 lsr

30. locomobile 1906 old 16

31. willys 1933 gasser

32. meskowski 1960 offy roadster

33. miller-ford 1935 indy racer

34. ford 1967 mk iv lemans

35. ford 1919 model t

36. ford 1956 thunderbird

37. ford 1986 taurus

38. ford 1965 mustang

39. kaiser 1949 traveler

40. chrysler 1963 turbine

41. gm 1997 ev1

42. woods 1916 dual power

43. white 1906 model g steam

44. riker 1896 electric

45. chevrolet 1955 corvette

46. desoto 1957 fireflight

47. packard 1904 model l

48. overland 1919 model 90 b

49. plymouth 1950 deluxe suburban

50. plymouth 1984 voyager

51. mercury 1968 cougar xr7

52. studebaker 1949 champion starlight coupe

53. honda 1983 accord

54. lasalle 1927 roadster

55. 1939 ford convertible

56. oldsmobile 1903 curved dash