21. Oldsmobile Rocket V8
For the 1949 model year, Oldsmobile presented two essential things: the 88 model series and a new 303 CID V8 engine they called the Rocket V8. Both innovations would prove influential in Oldsmobile history. The 88 model was relatively light and compact, and the Rocket V8 was a hot engine with a two-barrel carburetor and 135 HP on tap.
The combination of a light body and powerful engine in the 1949 Oldsmobile 88 made it the first muscle car from Detroit. The 1949 Olds 88 enjoyed quite a success with customers and on the race track, too. It won six out of nine NASCAR races that year, proving competitive on the drag strips as well. The engine and the car were the themes of one of the first rock and roll songs ever made, Rocket 88, by the Kings of Rhythm. All of this makes this engine extremely influential in automotive history and also in the history of rock and roll.