28. Ford Windsor 5.0
After the original muscle car era passed in the early 1970s, car manufacturers including Ford turned to produce low compression engines that were shadows of the former glorious V8. The power levels were embarrassingly low and throughout the ’70s and early ’80s, serious performance was just a mirage. However, Ford offered its venerable 5.0 V8 in Mustangs and other models, constantly upgrading the specification and power output from the diminutive 140 HP in 1979. From 1978 to 1985, Ford offered the 5.0 in the Mustang GT with 170 HP output. However, the biggest change appeared in 1986 when Ford introduced its electronic fuel injection intake system to 5.0. This transformed it from the old, weak unit into a modern muscle car engine.
This combination proved successful since the 5.0 EFI had a 225 HP rating, more than adequate for the standards of the day. The 5.0 EFI was a reliable engine with great balance, proven technology, good fuel efficiency, and big tuning potential. Installed in the lightweight Fox-body Mustang, the 5.0 was the engine to have in the late 1980s. It provided great performance at an affordable price. Even today, 5.0 Mustangs are legendary for their performance. There is a whole industry dedicated to restoring, upgrading, and racing those cool machines. Along with Chevrolet`s small block from the Corvette and the Camaro, Ford`s 5.0 EFI engine, which was produced from 1986 to 1993, is credited as the engine that saved American performance and muscle cars in the ’80s.