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20 Leading Factory Hot Rods

Vukasin Herbez May 9, 2019

  1. Lamborghini LM002

To be honest, the LM002 is somewhere between a truck and an SUV since it has four doors and a truck bed behind it. This crazy creation debuted in the mid-80s as Lamborghini’s attempt to enter the world of luxury SUVs to widen its appeal. The LM002 used a special chassis and suspension and Lamborghini’s famous V12 engine.

The 5.2-liter unit producing 400 HP was the same as in the legendary Countach. For those buyers who thought that 400 HP was not enough, the factory could supply the LM002 with the 7.3-liter monster V12 engine from a racing boat.

  1. GMC Syclone

No one knows who came up with the idea to take a plebian Chevrolet S10 compact truck and turn it into a Ferrari-killer. GM took an ordinary S10 body shell and installed a 4.3-liter V6 with a turbocharger good for 280 HP. They added a special four-speed automatic they sourced from a Corvette and a performance biased all-wheel drive.

Although the power figures don’t sound like much these days, the Syclone was able to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, making it faster than most contemporary Ferraris. The key was the lower weight, small dimensions and lots of torque from that turbocharged engine.

  1. Dodge Ram SRT-10

Between 2004 and 2006, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 was one of the craziest, most powerful and fastest pickups they ever produced. That itself is a hard thing to say since Dodge always had wild special versions of their trucks. But, just look at the specs. The 8.2-liter V10 engine came with over 500 HP, a 0 to 60 time of fewer than five seconds and a fuel economy in single digits.

They topped it all off with a crazy bright red or yellow paint job and two white racing stripes. And with its big, shiny chrome wheels, you’ll get the idea what the SRT-10 was all about. It was something you couldn’t miss if you saw it on the street. Of course, with a price tag of over $45,000, the SRT-10 wasn’t exactly a sales hit. However, they produced a decent number of them in the three-year production run.

  1. Mercury Marauder

Despite the fact they never intended Grand Marquis to be a performance car, Mercury decided to turn it into one. And they did that by installing a highly tuned 4.6-liter V8 with 302 HP, and a revised suspension, gearbox, and brakes. All those changes turned this sleepy and comfy sedan into a sharp muscle car.

The black paint, one of three colors available, gave the Marauder menacing looks and aggressive stance, clearly differentiating it from more sedate cousins. The performance was good for a big, heavy sedan with 0 to 60 mph time in around seven seconds.

  1. Volkswagen Passat W8

With the restyling of the then-current B5 generation of the mid-size sedan, Volkswagen introduced a special edition with top of the line technology. It had an advanced 4.0-liter W8 gasoline engine and a four-motion all-wheel-drive system. Also, customers got a selection of manual and automatic transmissions.

The result was a perfect sleeper performance car in an unassuming Passat body. The compact, yet powerful W8 engine delivered 270 HP and 270 lb-ft of torque. This was enough to propel the somewhat heavy Passat to just over six seconds 0 to 60 mph times.

  1. Aston Martin V12 Vantage

Back in the early 2000s, Aston Martin introduced the Vantage, an entry-level model with a V8 engine to compete with Porsche 911. Wearing the signature Aston design, a great looking interior and more than enough power from its 4.3-liter V8, the Vantage proved to be popular. It was high in demand, especially considering that Aston Martin was, and still is, a limited-production manufacturer.

The success of the Vantage inspired the engineers to think further. They wondered if they could take the regular V8 Vantage and install the mighty V12 engine from the top of the line DBS model. There was only one way to find out and soon, many prototypes roamed around Aston’s headquarters. The engineers were surprised how good the new car turned out to be.

The V12 engine with 510 HP transformed the nature of this compact sports car and turned it into a British muscle car with fantastic road manners. The acceleration was brutal, as well as the top speed. Also, the big V12 didn’t affect the weight distribution or balance. In an era of robotized automatic transmissions, V12 Vantage was offered with a six and later a seven-speed manual, which proved to be the enthusiast’s choice.

These are the 20 best factory hot rods out there. Did you find your favorite? If not, don’t worry – they are busy making more.

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