There’s nothing quite like a great big American V8.
No, try as you might with V6 engines that can deliver more power than V8s. For some of us the raspy grumble of a big throaty V8 is like a siren’s song.
Here’s a master list of 9 of the top classic American muscle cars with the engine sticking out and the wrench-heads who do a masterful job of dropping a big honking engine into a small chassis.
1. Chevrolet Chevelle
image source: Auto Evolution
This is one of the most respected muscle cars of all time. This ‘66 Chevelle sports a big blower sticking out of the hood.
And while the badges say 396 the engine is actually a 595 supercharged big block. That’s 9.25-liter displacement pushes out 850 horsepower.
2. Mercury Cougar
image source: Stacey David
Stacey David is correct, this car is criminally overlooked in the muscle car landscape.
In fact, it was doing matching sequential taillights way before the S550 Mustang. But its high-performance racing history is well documented.
This ’67 Cougar is fitted with a Jon Kaase Racing Boss Nine engine with a Hilborne fuel injection sticking out of the hood.
3. Ford Mustang
image source: Pinterest
There’s likely no other car in the world as emblematically vintage muscle car as the Mustang. And none are as special as the 1969 mighty Boss 429.
This Pro Street version boasts a big shot hi rev converter 347 cobra stroker engine.
It also features a BDS blower with two 650 holly carburetors protruding out of the engine bay.
4. Chevrolet Camaro
image source: MotorTrend
Check out this blown 1969 Chevrolet Camaro z/28.
A hot rod cover car from 1979, it has the same Dyres Street Charger supercharger sticking out of it as it did back then.
The raked rear end and traction bars are period correct. But when the current owner purchased it, he had a lot to do to get it to this shape.
5. Pontiac GTO
image source: BangShift
Meet the car that started the whole muscle car genre.
Although the hood has been modified to enclose the engine, under that giant hood bulge is a beast that uses twin turbos to crank out 1500 horsepower.
And can you believe it uses a factory iron block and D-port heads?
6. Dodge Challenger
image source: Car and Driver
What about a Mopar example? In stock form the 1970 Challenger was loud but didn’t have much to offer on power.
This example demonstrates what you can get with just a few turns of the wrench.
It boasts a custom fiberglass air-scoop underneath which is a vintage six-pack-carb setup sitting on top of a cammed-up 340 Mopar small-block V8.
7. Plymouth Road Runner
image source: Topcarnews
Or what about this 1000HP 1968 Road Runner?
From the outset, the Plymouth Road Runner was a purpose-built mid-size car with a focus on performance.
But the 472 cubic inch engine is among the long list of additions the owner made to get this classic to its current condition.
8. Pontiac Trans Am
image source: Drivingline
The Pontiac Trans Am is one of those rare cars that was built from factory with a hood that’s unable to contain the engine.
This 1979 Trans Am was built by Jessie Jewart.
With a twin turbocharged gem of a DART 427 SHP LS block, Jessie’s muscle car has more power and capability than any second gen T/A had stock.
Jewart’s setup is good for 1400 HP.
9. Dodge Charger
image source: Motorious
How can you go through any muscle car roundup and not talk about the Charger? While the ’69 charger is iconic.
The ’71 generation has been among our favorites since we had a chance to experience it in Gran Tourismo 2.
This green dream machine packs a monstrous 540 indie engine. If that wasn’t ludicrous enough, the owner added a 1071 supercharger to make a neck snapping 1,200 horses.