Interesting Facts about Cars
Interesting Facts about Cars

86 Fast Facts about Cars

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published September 3, 2017
  • The year 1886 is considered to be the birth of the modern car. In that year, German inventor Carl Benz built a modern automobile called the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.[4]
  • Sir Alec Guinness warned James Dean one week before he died not to get into his new Porsche 550 Spyder or “You’ll be dead in it by this time next week.”[15]
  • There are currently over 1 billion cars on the earth.[16]
  • The United States has more cars than any other country in the world, at 300 million. China comes in a distant second, at 78 million.[22]
  • Holding a remote car key to your head doubles its range because the human skull acts as an amplifier[15]
  • One out of 4 cars in the world come from China.[24]
  • Maserati Quattroporte Fact
    Good vibrations (contrastaddict / iStock)
  • The exhaust frequency of the Maserati Quattroporte is 333 HZ, which is a frequency level that supposedly stimulates the sexual arousal in women.[26]
  • Inventor Mary Anderson (1866-1953) invented the first effective windshield wiper. They were initially considered a distraction.[15]
  • In Christopher Nolan’s film Batman, Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini Murcielago. In Spanish, Murcielago means, “bat.”[15]
  • For many cars, the “new car smell” is actually toxic. It is composed of over 50 volatile organic compounds.[11]
  • The BMW logo derives from the company’s origin as an airplane manufacturer. The now iconic blue and white “target sign” represents a spinning white propeller against a blue sky.[12]
  • A single car has about 30,000 parts. About 80% of a car is recyclable.[9]
  • The Hennessey Venom GT is the fast car in the world at 265.7 mph.[15]
  • Approximately 75% of the cars that Rolls Royce has produced in its history are still on the road.[15]
  • Washington D.C. has the worst traffic in the United States, with commuters waiting 82 hours a year in traffic.[6]
  • If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.

    - Doug Larson

  • The last car with a cassette player was the Ford Crown Vic in 2011.[15]
  • The names of all Lamborghini’s cars are derived from the world of bullfighting. The Diablo and Murcielago are both the names of famous bulls, while the Estoque is the style of sword that Matadors use.[12]
  • The heaviest limousine weighs over 50,000 pounds. It has 3 lounges, a bar, and can carry up to 40 people.[15]
  • The word “car” is from the Latin carrum, which originally meant a “two-wheeled Celtic war chariot.” The Latin is further derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *kers- “to run.”[3]
  • A car is stolen in the United States every 45 seconds.[28]
  • Car History Fact
    A steering wheel gives a driver more control over the vehicle and requires less energy than a lever
  • The first cars didn’t have a steering wheel. People had to steer them with a lever.[15]
  • A dashboard was initially a piece of wood attached to a horse drawn carriage to prevent mud from splattering up from the horses and onto the driver.[16]
  • The “Flatmobile” holds the record for the world’s lowest street-legal car at just 19 inches high.[15]
  • The most often stolen car in the United States is the Honda Accord. Rounding out the top five are the Honda Civic, the Ford Pickup (full size), the Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size), and the Toyota Camry.[28]
  • Approximately 5 months of a person’s life is spent waiting in a car at red lights.[10]
  • About 165,000 cars are produced each day, which is equivalent 60 million cars per year.[24]
  • Daniel Craig, as a reward for playing James Bond, can take any Aston Martin from the factory for the rest of his life.[15]
  • Lamborghini gave the Italian state the world’s fastest police car in 2008. It had a video surveillance system, gun racks, a defibrillator, and an organ transplant cooler. They crashed it a year later.[15]
  • In 1668, Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China, constructed the first known automobile. It was just 2-feet long and steam powered.[4]
  • U.S. highway congestion costs over $160 billion a year, including wear and tear on vehicles, gas burned while idling, and lost productivity.[6]
  • More men than women die each year in car accidents, most likely because men typically drive more miles than women and are more likely to engage in riskier driving practices.[7]
  • Automobile Fact
    Men drive about 40 percent more miles per year than women

  • In 2014, over 87 million cars were produced around the world. In China alone, over 14 million cars were manufactured. Japan and Germany rounded out the top three car-producing countries, at over 7 million and 5 million, respectively.[24]
  • Chevrolet introduced the first car radio in 1922, with a huge price tag of $200. Many safety agencies believed the radio was distracting and sought to ban them from cars.[4]
  • If the odds of dying from all possible causes are 1:1, the odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash in the United States is 1:112.[27]
  • The first speeding ticket was issued in 1902. At this time, most cars could only drive up to 45 mph.[3][16]
  • The best selling car of all time is the Toyota Corolla, with over 30 million sales since 2009. One Corolla is sold every 40 seconds around the world.[23]
  • The most expensive street-legal car in the world is the Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita, at $4.8 million. It is literally coated in diamonds. There are just 3 in existence.[8]
  • Hyundai Tucson offers a special “The Walking Dead” edition. It contains a zombie survival kit, in case of an apocalypse.[15]
  • The BMW M5 engine is so quiet that fake engine noises are played through the speakers in order to remind buyers of their cars’ performance levels.[15]
  • Interesting Bertha Benz Fact
    Bertha Benz was the first person to drive an automobile over a long distance
  • The first long distance car driver in the world is Bertha Benz (1849-1944), the wife and business partner of automobile inventor Carl Benz.[4]
  • Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Audi, Ducati, and Porsche are all owned by Volkswagen.[15]
  • It is a criminal offense to drive around Russia in a dirty car.[15]
  • There are more cars than people in Los Angeles.[15]
  • Many of Volkswagen’s cars are named after various types of wind. For example, The Passat, is German for “trade wind,” Polo is German for “polar Winds,” and the Jetta means “jet stream.”[15]
  • A man in Springfield, Massachusetts drove his 1928 Rolls-Royce Roadster for an impressive 82 years.[16]
  • The first person killed by a car in America was Henry Hale Bliss (1830-1899) in 1899. He was leaving a streetcar in New York City when an electric powered taxicab hit him and crushed his head and chest.[16]
  • The first electric traffic lights were launched in 1927.[16]
  • The first Ford cars made actually had Dodge engines.[2]
  • Airbags move at up to 4500 miles per hour and deploy within 40 milliseconds of a crash. They are designed to deploy at an impact speed of 19 miles per hour.[15]
  • The largest speeding fine ever was $1,000,000. It was given to a Swedish man who was going 180 mph in Switzerland, where fines are proportional to income.[16]
  • In the United States, the average commuter spends over 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. In 1982, the average was 16 hours.[6]
  • Interesting Traffic Fact
    A regular rush-hour driver wastes an average of 99 gallons of gasoline a year due to traffic

  • Although Henry Ford (1863-1947) did not invent the modern car or the assembly line, he was the first to manufacture a car that many middle-class Americans could afford. His introduction of the Model T automobile in 1908 revolutionized transportation and American industry.[2]
  • South African BMWs have flamethrowers as an option to prevent car-jackings.[16]
  • Toyota is the world’s largest car manufacturer. Each day it produces about 13,000 cars. Ferrari, in contrast, produces a maximum of 14.[24]
  • Engineers in Germany have created a “Brain Driver,” which is a car that can be driven with thoughts alone. A Brain Driver’s headset consists of 16 sensors that monitor electric signals from the brain.[5]
  • Americans weigh on average 24 pounds more than they did in 1960, which has added up to an additional 39 million gallons of gas consumed annually.[13]
  • Passenger cars alone consume 359 million gallons of gas each day just in the United States.[13]
  • Mechanophilia Fact
    Mechanophilia is treated as a crime in some nations
  • Mechanophilia is a sexual attraction to cars and other mechanical objects. One man, Edward Smith, has admitted to having sex with over 1,000 cars. His current “girlfriend” is a Volkswagen Beetle named “Vanilla.”[14]
  • As symbols of autonomy, the American car symbolically liberated women before they could vote. Early women drivers, however, were widely scorned by their male counterparts.[13]
  • Over 250 million car tires are discarded each year.[15]
  • Ralph Teetor (1890-1982) invented an effective cruise control for cars in the 1940s after becoming frustrated with the way his lawyer would speed up and slow down frequently. In addition to being a prolific inventor, he was also blind.[17]
  • Electric cars are not new. In fact, in 1900 38% of cars were electric, 40% were steam, and 22% were powered by gasoline.[13]
  • The top 5 cars that get tickets in the U.S. are 1) Subaru WRX, 2) Pontiac GTO, 3) Scion FR-S, 4) Toyota Supra, and 5) Subaru Tribeca.[21]
  • People who take the public transit systems rather than their cars are, on average, 5 pounds lighter.[13]
  • The car company Chevrolet is named after the company’s co-founder Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-born car racer.[12]
  • Using a cell phone while driving a car increases the chances of an accident by 20 times. Looking at a cell phone for just 5 seconds is like driving down a football field at 55 mph--without looking.[19]
  • Auto Fact
    Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year

  • The name “BMW” stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works.[12]
  • The name “Hyundai" means “the present age” or “modernity” in Korean.[12]
  • The car company Mazda’s name derives from “Ahura Mazda,” the Zoroastrian God of reason and intelligence. The stylized “M” in their logo symbolizes flight toward the future.[12]
  • Before the advent of the car industry, over 15,000 horses were left to rot on the streets of New York every year. Consequently, automobiles were seen as an environmentally friendly alternative.[4]
  • The six stars in the Subaru logo are a reference to Pleiades, a cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus. Subaru is also Taurus’s name in Japanese.[12]
  • Volvo is Latin for “I roll.” Its logo is a circle with an arrow pointing out, which is an ancient chemical symbol for iron. It is also one of the oldest ideograms in Western culture.[12]
  • Motor Vehicle Fact
    Nearly half of all injuries and deaths in motor vehicle accidents could be prevented by simply wearing a seat belt
  • When Volvo invented the modern three-point seatbelt 50 years ago, they made the patent open and free to all car manufacturers. Seat belts now save over 13,000 lives in the U.S each year.[20]
  • Mercedes’ three-point star in its logo represents its mission to make transportation easier on land, on water, and in the air.[12]
  • The intersecting ovals in the Toyota logo symbolize the trust between Toyota and its customers. The ovals also form the letter “T” for Toyota.[12]
  • Nearly 1.3 million people die in car crashes each year around the world, which equals about 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million people are injured or disabled each year.[1]
  • Car crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.[1]
  • Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries. Ironically, these countries have less than half of the world’s vehicles.[1]
  • Statistics show that there is a 1 in 4 chance that a car accident in the United States involved a cell phone.[19]
  • The Porsche logo features the colors of the German flag, the name of the city where the company is based (Stuttgart), and also depicts an image of a horse to denote power and speed. The word “Stuttgart” literally translates into “stud farm.”[15]
  • Car crashes cost $518 billion globally and cost individual countries 1-2% of their annual GDP.[1]
  • In the United States, over 37,000 people are killed in road crashes each year, with an additional 2.35 million injured or disabled.[1]
  • BMW had to recall their GPS system model cars. The reason: male German drivers refused to take directions from a female voice.[15]
  • Interesting Road Kill Fact
    Roughly one million animals are killed are American roadways per day
  • Millions of vertebrate animals are killed--each week--on U.S. roadways.[18]
  • Car insurance companies state that the average driver will get into about 3-4 accidents during their lifetime. In other words, a driver will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years.[25]
  • Famous people who have died in car accidents include Princess Diana (1997), James Dean (1955), Jayne Mansfield (1967), Paul Walker (2013), Jackson Pollock (1956), Grace Kelly (1982), Linda Lovelace (2002), General George Patton (1945), Harry Chapin (1981), and Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes (2002).[15]
References

1Annual Global Road Crash Statistics.” Association for Safe International Travel. 2016. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

2Brinkley, Douglas. Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2003.

3Car.” Online Etymology Dictionary. 2016. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

4Coffey, Frank and Joseph Layden. America on Wheels: The First 100 Years: 1896-1996. Santa Monica, CA: General Publishing Group, 1996.

5Eveleth, Rose. “Mind-Control: ‘I Drove a Car With My Thoughts.” BBC. June 20, 2014.

6Forsythe, Jim. “U.S. Commuters Spend about 42 Hours a Year Stuck in Traffic Jams.” August 25, 2015. Accessed: February 6, 2016.

7General Statistics.” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data institute. 2016. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

8Hard, Andrew. “Dream Wheels: The Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World.” Digital Trends. August 11, 2015. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

9How Many Parts is Each Car Made of?Toyota. 2016. Accessed: February 6, 2016.

10Huntingford, Steve. "New Research Suggests British Motorists Spend a Fifth of Their Average Daily Drive Waiting at Red Lights." Telegraph. April 15, 2016. Accessed: September 4, 2017.

11Jaslow, Ryan. “New Car Smell is Toxic, Study Says: Which Cars are Worst?CBS News. February 15, 2012. Accessed: February 6, 2016.

12Love, Dylan. “The REAL Meaning Behind 11 Car Company Logos.” Business Insider. May 31, 2011. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

13Lutz, Catherine and Anne Lutz Fernandez. Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and its Effects on Our Lives. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

14“Man Admits to Having Sex with 1,000 Cars.” Telegraph. May 21, 2008. Accessed: February 9, 2016.

15Paxinos, Sam and Hannah Jones. 101 Amazing Facts about Cars. Car Fact Lover: Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2014.

16Perez, Jeff. “50 Quirky Car Facts that Will Blow Your MindYahoo Autos. July 1 2103. Accessed: February 9, 2016.

17“Ralph Teeter and the History of Cruise Control.” American Safety Council. 2016. Accessed: February 9, 2016.

18Schaul, Jordan Carlton. "Road Deaths May Be the No. 1 Threat to Wildlife." National Geographic. April 25, 2011. Accessed: Septe 3, 2017.

19Schumaker, Erin. “10 Statistics that Capture the Dangers of Texting and Driving.” Huffington Post. June 8, 2010. Updated July 7, 2015. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

20Seat Belts Save Over 13,000 Lives Every Year.” Traffic Safety Marketing. March 2010. Accessed: February 9, 2016.

21Sederholm, Jillian. “These Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets.” NBC News. September 30, 2014. Accessed: February 9, 2016.

22Tencer, Daniel. “Number of Cars Worldwide Surpasses 1 Billion; Can the World Handle This Many Wheels?Huffington Post. August 23, 2011. Updated February 19, 2013.

23"Top 10 Most Popular Cars of All Time.” AutoInsurance. 2016. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

24Total Cars Produced in the World.” Statistic Brain. 2016. Accessed: February 6, 2016.

25Toups, Des. “How Many Times Will You Crash Your Car.” Forbes. July 27, 2011. Accessed: February 12, 2016.

26"‘Vroom’ Revs up Women’s Interest, Maserati Says." Washington Times. December 19, 2008. Accessed: September 3, 2017.

27What are the Odds of Dying From . . . ?National Safety Council. 2016. Accessed: February 12, 2015.

28Whitten, Sarah. “The Ten Most Stolen Vehicles of 2014—Is Yours on the List.” CNBC. September 28, 2015. Accessed: February 9, 2016.

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