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.
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.
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.