Journal: These 8 Cars Have The Best-Sounding 8-Cylinder Engines We’ve Filmed

These 8 Cars Have The Best-Sounding 8-Cylinder Engines We’ve Filmed

By Michael Banovsky
July 14, 2016

Eight cylinders sound just right, don’t they? Straight-8 and V8 engines are both some of the most sonorous mechanical devices ever conceived, and some of the farthest-reaching. From the early days of hot rodded flathead Ford V8s to race-ready IndyCars, air-cooled Tatras, and one very special straight-8-powered Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia special, it’s time to give these special engines their due.

“Driving this car through the hills is a great experience. There’s really nothing else on your mind when you’re going through the gears, and onto the brakes into a corner, and then accelerating through…” says Addison Lee. “There’s nothing else that you’re thinking about…it’s almost like taking a vacation after going for a drive in a car like this.”

This 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback has been in Lee’s possession since his teenage years, and even led to a career in racing—so now it’s fitted with a small upgrade: a 347 stroker with “about 430 horsepower and the same amount of torque,” he says.

“Whenever I see this car, no matter if it’s day or night, no matter from which angle I’m looking at it, I just fall in love,” says Michael von Trzebiatowski, the proud owner of this 1971 Aston Martin DBS. We’re in love with the way his DBS sounds, thanks to its iconic Tadek Marek-designed V8 engine.

Overshadowed by its bigger brother, the 308 GT4, the 208 GT4 was originally created to skirt under the Italian tax levied on engines above two liters. What the 208 GT4 lacks in displacement it makes up for in sound and style. For Bradley Price, designer and owner of Autodromo, the opportunity to acquire a practical “super car” of the ’70s with its famous wedge styling was too hard to ignore. Of course, Bradley can be found escaping the city and revving the sweet-sounding V8 along the roads and hills of New York.

Mr. Bob Gough’s family moved to France for a few years when he was thirteen years-old and thus he grew up idolizing European sports cars and looking down on American muscle. That was until he discovered the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S. The ‘Cuda Formula S was upgraded in-house by Plymouth with suspension and brakes that allow it to keep up with European sports cars in the twisties (that is, all but the tightest twisties).

Bob replaced the transmission with a Tremec 5-speed and now runs a 340 cubic inch V8, rather than the original 273 ci engine. He’s also replaced the original 14″ wheels with custom 15″ steelies…once the curves straighten out, its ample torque allows it to “leave Porsches behind.”

All you have to know before pressing play is that this Czechoslovakian-made Tatra T87 is powered by an air-cooled V8…mounted out back.

“In the summer of 1969, we found ourselves in Detroit. It was an exciting time for my father, of course, but for the whole family,” says Juan Escalante. “A visit to the Detroit Auto Show and seeing the Challenger…he just fell in love.” This is a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 Hemi 4-speed, one of only 137 equipped with the largest engine and a manual transmission…and it’ll stay in the Escalante family forever.

For Steve Strope of Pure Vision, turning his idea into loud and fast art is something very few fabricators can dedicate themselves to. His concept was created from a “what if” moment, where he imagined Ford and Martini Racing teaming up to dominate rally races across Europe. Powered by a 1966 Ford/Lotus Indy Car motor, this fastback Mustang is serious business when it comes to performance. The sound is intoxicating, without a doubt.

Few triumphs have inspired drivers like Sir Stirling Moss’ victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Then just 25 years old, driver Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson roared through 992 miles of Italian countryside in just 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds. Average speed? 98.53 miles per hour.

Called SLR for Sport Leicht-Rennen (“Sport Light-Racing” in English) the 300 SLR was the world’s most advanced race car of its time: direct fuel-injected straight-8 engine, roughly 310 horsepower, and a top speed of around 180 mph (290 km/h). “The 722 is a really strong car…” said Stirling Moss. “The fact the car’s [now] really old doesn’t matter—that car, the way it is now, I reckon we’d beat any other car, anyway!”

Join the Conversation
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith
5 years ago

There is NOTHING like the sound of a 392 Hemi, coming through open headers!

6 years ago

Makes me realize: you never filmed an e39 M5. And that’s a terrible thing…

Michael Hainey
Michael Hainey
7 years ago

Boy you missed the boat on the best sounding V8 of all!

Victor Early
Victor Early
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hainey

I agree. I was at the vintage racing at Road of America yesterday and the lone GT40 sounded great. Too bad though the new Ford GT sounds like a flatulent farm tractor.

7 years ago

I love that for him this car is not a piece of jewelry. Its to be driven on good roads and to be enjoyed for what it is. Kudos for another lovely film.