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Top 5 Greatest US V8 Engines

Top 5 Greatest US V8 Engines

Friday, November 30th, 2018

V8 engines are a huge part of the US car industry, as well as the entire culture.  Apart from giving beautiful, ear-melting sounds, stunning looks, and huge amounts of power; they were also relatively easy to work on meaning that almost any lover of performance vehicles could fiddle with them in his own garage.  Apart from the all-important power, this approachability is probably the reason why these beasts still have a strong following.  The fact that there were many of them also made plenty of modifications fairly cheap and easy to perform.



Now, choosing only five for this list was a very tough task.  We had to set up merciless criteria that included how legendary an engine has been, how easy it is to work on, and how expensive it is.  The latest criteria is actually very important since it played a major role in creating the vast V8 following, and the entire culture around it.  Simply, if a product is too expensive, it is not very likely to become a common thing.  This is why some of the most advanced US V8 engines have not made the list.  They are simply too modern, which automatically means expensive and difficult to work on.  Let’s see the list.


5.  1962 TO 2001 FORD 90-DEGREE

The famous Windsor V8 small-block engine from Ford was what propelled the first Shelby Cobras.  It first drew attention when Jimmy Clark drove a Lotus with a stock 255 cubic inches V8 at the 1963 Indianapolis 500.  However, it became commonly present after 1986 when the EFI 302 Mustang appeared.  This created a whole new market for performance parts and made the 90-degree almost a household name.



4.  1958 TO 1977 CHRYSLER B/RB

The first big block engine from Chrysler was the 350 B/RB.  Later advancements brought us the more famous 383, 440 and 426 Max Wedge.  Although there were three more sizes, the mentioned three sky-rocketed the B/RB into the drag racing scene.  Probably the most famous application of this engine came with Plymouth Road Runner, which offered the performance of Hemi machines for a lot less money.



3.  1951 TO 1958 CHRYSLER HEMI

We will probably be hated for choosing the 1951 to 1958 Hemi over the 1964 to 1971 426 Hemi.  The later one brought more power which moved it to the very top of the production V8s of the era, but emission regulations and high price hindered its potential.  The first Hemi came in 1951.  It gave the name – stemming from the shape of its combustion chambers – and brought the creation of a whole new kind of drag racing due to its stunning performance when running on nitromethane.  The hype surrounding this engine was further increased by the unconfirmed claims that Chris Karamesines was the first one to drive faster than 200 MPH in a drag race using a car with this engine.




There is not much unknown about the Chevy Big-Block.  It came out in 1965 and instantly became extremely popular and everpresent in the Chevrolet lineup.  Its popularity grew quickly which can be seen from numerous nicknames it got: Porcupine, Rat or semi-Hemi.  I have never heard a lover of big-block engines saying anything against this one.  The mentioned popularity also led to its longevity and numerous size options including 366, 396, 402, 427, 430, 454, 496 and 502 cubic inches.

However, it is not the most popular US V8 engine.  The machine at the top of the list comes from the same factory, and it is the…




When it came out in 1955, it moved the boundaries of the entire industry.  It presented technological uniqueness, but its winning popularity has more origins in amazing performance potential combined with top affordability and utter lack of problems during building.  This made the Chevy small-block one of the most, if not the most, common V8 engines in the world.  Its versions include 262, 265, 267, 283, 302, 305, 307, 327, 350 and 400.

So, there you go.  This is our list of the most famous American V8 engines.  Do you think we have missed any?  Let us know in the comments below.

Branislav SjeranBy: Branislav Sjeran

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