A jigsaw puzzle is one of life’s little pleasures, giving you the opportunity to assemble an image of almost anything you can think of from a collection of little pieces. Our fixation with automobiles means that cars and trucks figure heavily into the images frequently featured in jigsaw puzzles. You’re especially in luck if you like classic or vintage vehicles, as the majority of the best car puzzles depict the romance of motoring in decades past.

And as we write this, there’s arguably never been a better time for you to develop a passion for jigsaw puzzles. We can see a light at the end of the tunnel that is the COVID-19 pandemic, but with staying home as much as possible remaining the leading advice for avoiding illness, why not try a car puzzle or two to help pass the time?

In this article, we’ll discuss our picks of what we think are the best car puzzles to help you focus your mind on something positive while indulging your passion for the automobile.

For more information on the best car puzzles, refer to our table of contents.

1. Editor's Pick: ROKR Grand Prix Car 3D Wooden Puzzle

rokr 3d wooden puzzle grand prix car

If you’re looking for a puzzle that would make a great gift for an adult or teenager with an interest in the machinery that makes up a vintage car, here’s one you can be sure will appeal to them. You don’t need glue to put this puzzle together, but you will need some patience, as ROKR says you’ll want to set aside three to four hours to finish assembling this 220-piece kit. Once you’re finished, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 1:16-scale model of a 1910s era vintage Grand Prix race car.

ROKR uses laser-cut technology to craft the wooden parts that make up this kit, like the floor pan and frame, wheels and seats, exposed pistons in the V8 engine, exhaust headers, and even a detailed dashboard.

We certainly recommend that you follow ROKR’s age guidelines when buying this puzzle, as the wooden parts look delicate and assembly will require patience and advanced dexterity. The best part is that if you and/or the person you buy it for have fun putting this puzzle together, ROKR has a wide range of other wooden puzzle kits you can enjoy.

2. Best Car Puzzle for Kids: Ravensburger “Day at The Races” Puzzle

ravensburger day at the races puzzle

Doing puzzles can be a great way to spend quality time together as a family, but as much fun as that is, encouraging your children to do puzzles on their own is valuable too. It can help your kids learn patience and concentration, while developing fine motor and problem-solving skills. The trouble is that you might have a hard time finding puzzles appropriate for your child’s age and abilities.

If your kindergarten-aged child has expressed an interest in puzzles, this Ravensburger design is a great way to help them enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with finishing a puzzle on their own. This 60-piece puzzle depicts a fun day at the racetrack with four brightly colored speed machines going head-to-head in front of a crowded grandstand.

Another plus to this puzzle is that its finished size is a compact 14.25 inches by 10.25 inches, so your child can leave it assembled on a desk or table without it taking up too much space. Ravensburger says every piece of this puzzle is a unique shape, and recommends it for kids aged four to seven.

3. MasterPieces Cruisin’ Route 66 “On The Road Again Car” Puzzle

masterpieces cruisin' route 66 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle

If you or someone you love is a fan of iconic scenes from America’s long history of road tripping, here’s a puzzle that will prove a rewarding challenge with its depiction of traveling one of the country’s best-known highways, Route 66. As this 1,000-piece puzzle comes together, you’ll be able to envision yourself exploring the wonders of Route 66 behind the wheel of a classic American sedan. And there’s lots to daydream about where Route 66 is concerned: in its heyday, it stretched from Chicago in the heart of the U.S. Midwest to Santa Monica on California’s beautiful west coast.

This image looks like it would be a challenge even if you’re a seasoned puzzle-builder thanks to well-done details, like the accurate renderings of the vehicles, the roadside hotel and rest stop, and the mountain scene in the background. And if you’re an environmentally-minded puzzler, you’ll be please to learn that MasterPieces makes this puzzle from recycled paper and soy-based inks.

This puzzle’s dimensions are 26.75 inches by 19.25 inches, and the image is based on a photo and illustration by Dan Hatala, whose images are well-known in the puzzle industry.

4. Buffalo Games “Sam’s Garage” Puzzle

buffalo games cartoon world sam's garage 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle

Here’s a puzzle we think will appeal to fans of classic European cars. Titled “Sam’s Garage,” this 1,000-piece puzzle depicts a small-town garage in which a VW Beetle is undergoing a tune-up. Beyond the bright colors, what we think you will most appreciate about this puzzle is that you could spend hours poring over this image and keep finding new details. For example, check out artist Hiro Tanikawa’s rendering of the Beetle’s engine bay, which is impressive for its realism. Then, take in the unmistakable Fiat 500 parked outside and imagine yourself enjoying the drive under its open roll-top convertible roof.

Buffalo Games says this puzzle measures 26.75 inches by 19.25 inches, so once you’ve completed it you can leave it out to admire without taking up too much space. Like all Buffalo Games puzzles, this one comes with a full-size color poster to refer to if you need help placing pieces. If you’re an environmentally-minded puzzler, you can rest easy knowing this one is made from recycled material and uses a proprietary manufacturing technique that reduces the amount of messy “puzzle dust” in the box.

5. TDC Games "Fabulous 50s Junkpile" Puzzle

tdc games fabulous 50s junkpile 1000-piece classic jigsaw puzzle

If you’re an experienced puzzle builder looking for your next challenge, we think this one from TDC Games might do the trick. This puzzle reproduces an image by illustrator Dale Klee that depicts a physics-defying pile of junked classic cars. One of the things we think you’ll appreciate about this puzzle is its portrait orientation, which is a nice change from the more common landscape layout of images used for jigsaw puzzles.

The fun doesn’t end when you finish building this puzzle, either. As you admire your handiwork, see how many of the individual car models you can identify; TDC Games says there are 50 different ones represented here. Maybe you’ve owned one of two of the cars in this pile, or at least had the chance to ride in them.

This is a 1,000-piece puzzle that, when assembled, measures 26.75 inches by 19.25 inches. TDC Games recommends this puzzle for enthusiasts aged 10 and older, though if you’re buying this puzzle for a youngster, you may want to offer assistance as it is reportedly very challenging to complete.

What separates a challenging puzzle from one that’s easier to complete?

Typically, a puzzle’s challenge level depends on the intricacy of the image it recreates. A drawing or photograph with a high level of detail will generally take longer—and can be more frustrating—to complete.

That said, even a puzzle’s less busy sections can prove exceptionally difficult. For example, a puzzle that features an area set against a blue sky with scattered clouds. That part of a puzzle could take as long as the main image, thanks to the fact that so many of the pieces will look the same.

What are some of the benefits of building puzzles?

Apart from being a great way to pass the time and reduce stress, puzzles are also good for your brain. According to the Baylor College of Medicine, doing puzzles “can improve cognition and visual-spatial reasoning,” and the concentration and problem-solving skills required are good for your short-term memory. (SOURCE: bcm.edu)

Working on a complex jigsaw puzzle with your spouse, partner, kids, parents, or grandparents can also be an excellent way for you to connect with your loved ones. Then, consider the simple sense of satisfaction that you will enjoy when you finish a challenging 1,000-piece puzzle.

What happens if you receive a puzzle with one or more missing pieces?

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that any product you buy that consists of 1,000 or more individual pieces could be delivered to you incomplete. And unless you take the time to count the pieces before you start putting a puzzle together, you won’t know whether you have them all until you’re finished.

Some manufacturers, such as Buffalo Games, comes with what the company calls “missing piece support.” If you discover the puzzle you’ve bought is missing one or more pieces, you can fill out a form on the company’s website: if they still produce the puzzle in question, they’ll send you a new one.

All puzzle company policies on missing pieces will be different, however, so if you discover your puzzle is incomplete, contact the company that made it to see if they can help you out.

We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.

Photo credit: Franck Boston / Shutterstock.com