ACT Reading OG Test 1 - Passage II

Questions 11-20 are based on the following passage.


SOCIAL SCIENCE: Passage A is adapted from the book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (©2001 by Laura Hillenbrand). Passage B is adapted from the article “The Flop Heard Round the World” by Peter 'Carlson (©2007 by The Washington Post).



Passage A by Laura Hillenbrand


The horseless carriage was just arriving in San

Francisco, and its debut was turning into one of those

colorfully unmitigated disasters that bring misery to

everyone but historian. Consumers were staying away
5 from the “devilish contraptions” in droves. In San Fran-

cisco in 1903, the horse and buggy was not going the

way of the horse and buggy.

For good reason. The autombile, so sleekly effi-

cient on paper, was in practice a civic menace, belching
10 out exhaust, kicking up storms of dust, becoming hope-

lessly mired in the most innocuous-looking puddles,

and tying up horse traffic. Instead Local Lawmakers

responded with monuments to Legislative creatvity. The

laws of at least one town required automobile drivers to
15 stop, get out, and fire off Roman candles every time

horse-drawn vehicles came into view. Massachusetts

tried and, fortunately, failed to mandate that cars be

equipped with bells that would ring with each revolu-

tion of the wheels. In some towns police were autho-
20 rized to disable passing cars with ropes, chains, and

wires. San Francisco didn’t escape the legislative wave.

Bitter Local officials pushed through an ordinance ban-

ning automobiles from all tourist areas, effectively exil-

ing them from the city.

25 Nor were these the only obstacles. The asking

price for the cheapest automobile amounted to twice the

$500 annual salary of the average citizen-some cost

three times that much-and all that bought you was

four wheels, a body, and an engine. “Accessories” like
30 bumpers, carburetors, and headlights had to be pur-

chased separately. Navigation was a nightmare. The

first of San Francisco’s road signs were only just being

ecected, hammered up by an enterprising insurance

underwriter who hope to win clients by posting direc-
35 tions into the countryside, where drivers retreated for

automobile “prcnic parties” held out of the vies of

angry townsfolk.

The first automobiles imported to San Francisco

had so little power that they rarey made it up the hills.
40 The grade of Nineteenth Avenue was so daunting for

the engines of the day that watching automobiles strain-

ing for the top became a local pastime.


Passage B by Peter Carlson


In the mid-1950s, Ford Motor Company was build­

ing not one, not two, but 18 varieties of Edsel, includ-
45 ing a convertible and a station wagon. The designers

came up with some interesting ideas. They created a

push-button transmission and put it in the middle of the

steering wheel, where most cat's have a,horn. And they

fiddled with the front end: Where other cars had hori-
50 zontal chrome grilles, the Edsel would have a vertical

chrome oval in its grille. It was new! It was different!

Unfortunately, it didn’t work. ,It couldn’t suck in

enough air to cool the engine.“They had to keep open­

ing up that oval to get more, air in there,” says Jim
55 Arnold, who was a trainee in Edsel 's design shop.“And

it didn’t look as good.”

Edsel didn’t have its own assembly lines, so the

cars were produced in Ford and Mercury plants, which

caused problems. Every once in a while, an Edsel
60 would roll past workers who were used to Mercurys or

other Fords. Confused, they sometimes failed to install

all the parts before the Edsel moved on down the line.

Cars without parts can be a problem, of course, but

other aspects of the Edsel juggernaut worked per-
65 fectly-the hype, for instance. The Edsel PR team

touted the glories of the cars, but wouldn’t let anybody

see them. When they finally released 'a photo’ it turned

out to be a picture of... , the Edsel 's hood ornament.

And hundreds of publications actually printed it !

70 On september 4, 1957, proclaimed by Ford as

E-Day, nearly 3 million Americans flocked to show-

rooms to see the Edsel Unfortunately, very few of them

bought the Edsel. “We couldn’t even get people to drive

it,” says C. Gayle Warnock, Edsel’s public relations
75 director. “They just didn’t like the car. They just didn’t

like the front end.”

But styling was hardly the worst problem. Oil pans

fell off, trunks stuck, paint peeled, doors failed to close

and the much-hyped “Teletouch” push-button transmis-
80 sion , had a distressing tendency to freeze up. People

joked that Edsel stood for “very day. something else

leaks.”

Another major problem was caused by bad luck:

The Edsel was an upscale car lunched. a couple months
85 after a stock market plunge caused a recession. Sales of

all premium.cars plummeted.

Before E-Day, Edsel ’s hypemeisters promised to

sell 200,000 cars the first year. Actually, they sold

63,110, Sales dropped below 45,000 the second year.
90 And only 2,846 of the 1960 models sold before Ford

pulled the plug.

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Question 11 Which of the following statements is about automobiles in San Francisco in 1903 is best supported by Passage A?