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

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber

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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56.

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]













Ronnie Schreiber
Ronnie Schreiber

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, the original 3D car site.

More by Ronnie Schreiber

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3 of 17 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Feb 19, 2018

    A couple that I was able to recognize right off the bat are the '56 Mark II (the valve covers are a giveaway) and the '60 Corvair (the small center-mounted air cleaner and the rubber elbows are a '60 only thing). The Corvair shown here is a Powerglide, evidenced by the dipstick going through the firewall.

  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Feb 19, 2018

    Yay number 37!!! I was hoping it would he on here. Mine isn't quite that clean, but not bad considering it's 237K miles. I had a red-on-grey 1986 LX once. It was in rough shape, but I should kick my own arse for not keeping it. I'd love to have it today.

  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
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