Home Cars 20 Famous Supercars With Muscle Car V8 Engines

20 Famous Supercars With Muscle Car V8 Engines

Vukasin Herbez May 9, 2019

Muscle cars and supercars are at two ends of the performance car spectrum. On one side, muscle cars are affordable, powerful and unsophisticated tire-shredding machines. And on the other side, supercars are high-dollar, bespoke-build, sports cars with sublime performance and insane technology. So at first glance, those two shouldn’t mix, right?

As a matter of fact, supercars and muscle cars have a lot in common. For decades, high end, boutique manufacturers used muscle car engines for their creations. The Chevrolet big block, Mopar 440s, and Hemis, as well as Ford V8s have all found their place in those low, limited production models from obscure companies.

And most people agree that those American muscle car engines fueled the supercar segment at one point. So to prove this claim, here are 20 of the most famous supercars with muscle car V8 engines. Which one will become your favorite?

  1. Monteverdi Hai 450 SS

Monteverdi was a Swiss luxury car brand that was active from 1967 until 1984. Over the years, Monteverdi produced many premium models they marketed as cars with “German quality, Italian design and American power.” This was a winning combination since Monteverdi cars featured Chrysler engines. And that formula produced the effortless performance, speed and raw power many European manufacturers of the period lacked.

But the most extreme Monteverdi model was the Hai 450 from 1970. It featured a new chassis and body, as well as the famous Hemi 426 V8 engine in the back. Monteverdi wanted the most powerful engine Mopar had to offer and in 1970, that was the mighty Hemi. They named the car “Hai,” which is German for “shark.” The 0 to 60 mph acceleration time takes only 4.5 seconds, which made it the quickest car of the era.

  1. DeTomaso Pantera

Maybe not as famous as Ferrari or Lamborghini, De Tomaso is another legend of the Italian sports car scene from the ‘60s. Started by Argentinean Alejandro De Tomaso, the company first began as a racing car outfit. But soon they moved on to sports cars with a lineup of successful models. They featured Ford small block engines, five-speed transaxle gearboxes, and aggressive designs.

The first car was the De Tomaso Mangusta, which they introduced in 1967. However, the Pantera they introduced in 1969 proved to be far more successful and popular, even though it shared a lot with the Mangusta. The key to the Pantera’s success was that Alejandro DeTomaso made an exclusive deal with the Ford Motor Company.

And that meant Ford could officially sell De Tomaso products in America through the Lincoln-Mercury dealership network. Ford provided the engines and De Tomaso did the rest, making the Pantera was a home run for this small company. When they ended production in 1989, De Tomaso built over 7,000 Panteras. In fact, even Elvis Presley owned one.

  1. Iso Grifo

Iso sports cars were the brainchild of Italian industrialist Renzo Rivolta. After successful ventures in other forms of vehicle production, Rivolta decided to produce a sports car with a powerful U.S.-built engine and a homegrown Italian body. The first car was the elegant Iso Rivolta in 1962 featuring a Chevrolet 350 V8.

However, the best Iso model was the sublime Grifo. It was an elegant, dramatically styled coupe they presented in 1964. Immediately, it became one of the most advanced, fastest and desirable sports coupes on the market. And that was a big deal since the mid-60s in Italy meant there was serious competition from heavy hitters like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini.

But the Iso Grifo was more beautiful and faster than anything else. The base engine was a 350 V8 they tuned to produce more than 350 HP. After a couple of years, Iso switched to the 427 V8 with 400 HP and even produced one series of the Grifo with a Ford V8 engine. Unfortunately, in the mid-70s, the company went out of business.

  1. Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada

Giotto Bizzarrini is one of the greatest names in the history of automotive engineering. As a person who worked for Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Iso, he helped create some of the finest sports cars of the ‘60s. And that included the mythical Ferrari 250 GTO. However, in the mid-60s, Bizzarrini decided to produce his own sports car using the Iso Grifo base. And soon, he introduced the Bizzarrini GT5300 Strada.

The Strada was a semi-racing model Bizzarrini transformed into a road going coupe. Under the hood was a Chevrolet 5.3-liter V8 engine; hence, the name, GT 5300. They tuned the motor to produce higher HP ratings. Also, they moved it as far back as possible for the best weight distribution.

The 5300 GT Strada consisted of aluminum, so it was light. And that is what made it fast, even by today’s standards, making it a good basis for a racing car. Interestingly, Bizzarrini entered the GT 5300 in several races, winning some. Unfortunately, a lack of funding and competition from much stronger names made him retire from the car making business.

  1. Koenigsegg CCR

Even though Koenigsegg is a well-known hypercar manufacturer today, in the early 2000s, the company had just started to make a name for itself. And one of the first cars Koenigsegg ever produced was the CCR, which debuted in 2004. The CCR proved to be an important model in the company’s history because they only sold 14 of them.

Also, the CCR managed to break a few speed records, showing the car world that Koenigsegg was a force to be reckoned with. However, under the hood of the CCR was an American heart, in the form of a Ford modular 4.6-liter V8 engine. However, Koenigsegg’s experts thoroughly tuned and supercharged the CCR to produce 817 HP.

  1. Ultima Evolution Coupe

Ultima cars were never the mainstream supercar to buy just to show off. Those Ultimas were extreme road-going machines for supercar purists and people brave enough to tackle a superfast car without any help from electronic systems. So, the latest offering in the form of Evolution Coupe is exactly what you want if you have an automotive suicide wish.

The basic specs are scary. Under the hood is a Chevrolet LS2 V8 engine they supercharged and tuned to produce a mind-blowing 1,020 HP. The power travels to the rear wheels over a six-speed manual transmission. But most importantly, there are no safety systems or traction control.

  1. Panther 6

This strange car is a supercar because of its power and price. Also, it has unusual technical solutions like six wheels instead of the usual four. The Panther 6 was a roadster powered by a monstrous 8.2-liter V8 engine they sourced from the Cadillac Eldorado. The enormous engine was behind the cabin and powered the rear wheels while the four wheels in the front managed the steering.

To achieve the proper ride height and to save space in the front for the double suspension assembly, the designers installed smaller wheels compared to the much bigger ones on the back. They conceived the Panther 6 as an over the top luxury supercar convertible, giving it a leather interior, climate control, and power windows and doors. Also, it had a television and a phone, too.

The designers claimed the Panther 6 was capable of achieving a top speed of 200 mph. However, most automobile experts were suspicious of that, but Panther never allowed them to do independent testing. Also, they only made two cars.

  1. Bristol Fighter

Bristol Cars is one of the craziest companies in the world. However, not for their models, which are quite strange, but for their business policy. The company barely made any money for decades. They operated only one showroom, selling only one or two cars per year. In fact, they refused to modernize their lineup for decades.

However, they somehow managed to survive. So in 2004, Bristol decided to introduce a new model with uncompromised performance and a fresh design. And that is how the Bristol Fighter was born.

They custom-built the chassis with a special body that featured Gullwing doors and a long hood. The design of the Fighter has no resemblance to other Bristol cars, but it carries the tradition of using Chrysler engines. So this sports car has an 8.0-liter V10 from the Dodge Viper they rated at 525 HP.

  1. Arash AF10

Arash, a small British company, made news with several supercar prototypes. However, the AF10 was closest to full-scale production. They introduced it in 2009 featuring a Chevrolet V8 producing 500 HP.

However, in recent years, they revised the car, giving it a new hybrid powertrain with a claimed power output of 2,080 HP. This insane number raised the eyebrows of the supercar public, but the company has said nothing since that announcement.

  1. Mosler MT900

The guy behind this car is well-known American car constructor and entrepreneur, Warren Mosler. He is already famous for being the man behind the strange but capable Consulier GTP. However, his latest creation he called the Mosler MT900 is even more successful. And arguably, it is a better-looking supercar.

Debuting in 2001, the MT900 was the product of a long development process with the goal to present a car as light and as powerful as possible. And Warren Mosler managed to do that since the MT900 weighs only 2,500 pounds, which is less than the competitors. The car gets its power from a 5.7-liter V8 with 350 HP or 7.0-liter V8 with 435 HP in the MT900 S version.

  1. Factory Five GTM

Factory Five Racing is best known for its Shelby Cobra kits, which are good quality reproductions that car enthusiasts love. However, the company made a move to the supercar market with the GTM in 2007. This is a modern car with a Kevlar body and aluminum chassis with a Corvette V8 engine.

Also, they derived lots of the components like the drivetrain and suspension from the Corvette, making it affordable and easy to work on and maintain. Due to lightness and power, the GTM is fast with 0 to 60 mph times of around three seconds and a top speed of over 180 mph.

  1. Saleen S7

All Ford Mustang lovers will surely recognize Steve Saleen. He is one of the best tuners of late model Mustangs and one of the most recognizable names in the business. Some say he is to ‘80s or newer Mustangs what Carroll Shelby was to ‘60s muscle cars. Either way, he is a renewed performance car builder and a legend of the American car scene.

In the early 2000s, Steve Saleen decided to branch out and enter the supercar market with the S7 model. It was a fast, good looking and powerful exotic model that featured the latest technology with proven V8 power. Saleen invested a lot of time and money into constructing the S7 and even used companies that produced parts for Formula One cars to help him in the development of this car.

The result was the 550 HP Saleen S7 he presented in 2000, immediately drawing attention from the supercar crowd. The S7’s superb performance, looks, and technology were up to par with the best European supercars at the time. In 2005, he released the even more powerful Twin Turbo version with 750 HP and a top speed of almost 250 mph. The car proved to be relatively successful, even on the racetracks, so Saleen produced a racing version, too.

  1. SCC Ultimate Aero TT

The name, Shelby, is infamous throughout the automotive world. However, Jerod Shelby chose to call his company, SSC North America, just to avoid the connection with Carroll to whom he isn’t related. However, both guys named Shelby have a big need for speed. And, Jerod’s materialized in the form of the Ultimate Aero, which he introduced in 2006.

SSC designed the Ultimate Aero to be the fastest, most powerful supercar on the market. It comes with engineering that represents the perfect blend between racing technology and streetcar design. The first Ultimate Aero models used a 6.2-liter Corvette racing engine with almost 800 HP, which propelled this beast to 238 mph.

But they introduced a real treat in 2009 when they released the Ultimate Aero TT. It featured a turbocharged Corvette mill pumping out 1,200 HP. Also, it had an improved suspension, chassis and aerodynamics. Soon afterward, the Aero TT broke the production car speed record by achieving 256 mph, making it the fastest car in the world. With a price tag of close to $300.000, they only built 24 Aeros between 2006 and 2009.

  1. Vector W8

The legendary Vector W8 is a wedge-shaped, V8 powered monster they presented in 1990. It was an ambitious project by the Vector Aeromotive Corporation. They wanted to produce the most advanced supercar in the world by using aeronautical technology and materials in car production. The W8 had a space frame chassis with a Kevlar body they reinforced with a special kind of plastic.

Under the engine cover was a typical American powerhouse in the form of a Chevrolet small block V8. They paired it with twin turbochargers to produce 625 HP, which was an impressive figure. The company claimed that at full boost, the 6.0-liter twin turbo engine was capable of 1,200 HP. However, they suggested drivers not use the full boost for extended periods of time, since it would affect the durability of the engine itself.

The Vector W2 cost $450,000, which was an enormous sum for the day. Despite being in numerous movies, TV shows, and computer games, it failed to translate that to sales success. When they ended production in 1993, the Vector Aeromotive Company managed to produce only 22 examples of this fantastic American supercar.

  1. Ford GT

The early 2000s supercar boon motivated many manufacturers to offer exotic cars, introduce new models and revive some old legendary names. So, Ford jumped on the bandwagon with a new and retro-styled supercar they simply named the GT. It was an obvious successor to the fantastic Le Mans-winning GT40 from the late ‘60s.

The 2004 GT was a perfect car in many ways. Not only did it debut at the height of the retro-futuristic car design, but it was also extremely capable, powerful and fast. At the moment, it was one of the best supercars on the scene. In fact, most car buyers loved it, even in Europe. And, in just two years of production, Ford managed to sell more than 4,000 GTs, making it one of the most successful supercars in terms of popularity.

The heart of the Ford GT was Ford’s fabulous 5.4-liter supercharged V8 that produced a whopping 550 HP. Also, the GT was capable of achieving a 0 to 60 mph time of just 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. Despite the fact they didn’t design or build the Ford GT with racing in mind, the car proved capable on the track in the hands of private teams.

  1. Hennessey Venom GT

If you are into domestic performance cars, you certainly know about Hennessey from Texas. In the last few decades, they have been one of the biggest names in aftermarket muscle and performance car parts, conversion kits, engines and more. And since 2011, they are also supercar manufacturers, thanks to the Venom GT.

The Venom GT is not a 100 percent American car, but rather a British-American hybrid. Although they based it on the Lotus Elise, they significantly modified, widened and stretched the car with a different suspension, brakes, design and drivetrain. In fact, practically everything is new and different from the original car. The power comes from a 7.0-liter LS2 V8 engine with three power levels, 800, 1,000 and 1,200 HP.

The Venom GT was available as a coupe or convertible. Also, it held the world record for the fastest production car. The acceleration time from 0 to 60 is 13.63 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph. Sadly, they ceased production in 2017 after building just 13 Venom GTs.

  1. Panoz Esperante GT-1

You might have forgotten about Panoz, but the Esperante was a serious, race-bred supercar. The technology behind the Esperante was clearly for racing purposes. It had a space frame body structure, lightweight panels and two seats.

Also, they mounted the front engine towards the middle of the car for the best weight distribution. And better still, under the hood was a Roush-built, Ford-derived V8 delivering over 500 HP they mated to a sequential gearbox.

  1. MG X-Power SV Coupe

The story of this remarkable car is, unfortunately, a sad one. This was one of the last true UK-USA hybrids and a modern-day muscle coupe. It came with Italian styling, an American engine and British exclusivity. They constructed the car in Modena, Italy and finished it in England. They designed the MG X-Power to deliver a sports car-level of performance with aggressive muscle styling and a soundtrack to match.

Under the hood was a Ford-sourced 4.6-liter V8 engine straight from the Mustang they tuned to produce 320 HP. MG even offered a supercharged version that was capable of 540 HP. They presented the car in 2003. And although it was one of the most interesting releases, MG lacked the image and reputation to achieve success on the global market.

For sale for just three years, they discontinued the X-Power in 2005. Today, this is a forgotten piece of the British muscle car class. However, it is a highly capable V8 powered coupe with brutal looks and performance.

  1. Zenvo ST1

When thinking of supercars, Denmark doesn’t usually come to mind, but the Zenvo ST1 will change that. This Danish supercar has all the right ingredients to be the perfect sports car of the 21st century. It comes with a modern design, space-age materials and a big LS7 V8 in the back.

And although they borrowed the engine from the Chevrolet Camaro, Zenvo tuned it to deliver close to 1,100 HP. And with that kind of firepower, the ST1 has a top speed of a neck-breaking 233 mph.

  1. TVR Griffith

One of the biggest news in the sports car field is the return of the TVR brand. This small British company has always produced interesting, fast coupes and convertibles/ And that is what earned them the respect of sports car enthusiasts all over the world. Unfortunately, financial problems stopped its production, so the TVR was clinically dead for a few years.

Fortunately, the Zenvo management found enough investors to secure a new model they called the Griffith. It is a proper sports machine with a Mustang 5.0-liter V8, sending 500 HP to the rear wheels over a six-speed manual transmission.

These are 20 of the most famous supercars with muscle car V8 engines. Did you find your favorite in this list? They are all so amazing, it’s hard to choose just one. In fact, all of these machines are fast, attractive and interesting.

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