Journal: What is the Greatest Pre-'90 Eight-Cylinder Engine?

What is the Greatest Pre-’90 Eight-Cylinder Engine?

Avatar By Yoav Gilad
September 22, 2014
35 comments

That Mr. Henry Ford revolutionized the auto industry is no big secret. But besides helping along America’s love affair with the car, he also got us hooked on cheap V8 power beginning in 1932. Previously, Ford only built four-cylinders for its passenger cars but with the introduction of the Flathead, V8s went mainstream in the US. While eight-cylinders remained tied to luxury cars throughout much of the world, those fortunate enough to drive a big V8 understood the expression “there’s no replacement for displacement.”

Since then there have been many worthy eight cylinders, think of the Ferrari V8s, Chevrolet’s 350, and of course the Ford 289, just make sure it’s pre-1990! But please, when answering, let us know why you chose what you chose.

What is the greatest pre-’90 eight-cylinder engine ever?

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Latika
Latika

Hey! 1955 to 1981 Pontiac V8. All Pontiac V8 engines were built on the same bore spacing and were extremely versatile. Also everyone still can find good V8, for example here, and they are not so pricey.

Brody Lavoie
Brody Lavoie

I think a crate engine introduced in ’55 by Chevy begins a great shift in the
High-performance industry. It ranges in size from 265–400 CI that provides good performance in every form of racing and in almost every type of car. You can find such earlier [url=”http://buyusedengine.com/used_engine.php?make=Chevrolet”]used engines[/url] on salvage yards or online shops and compare them with the latest designed engines. You will see that there are lots of changes carried out to increase the performance.

jeremie
jeremie

FORD 302 (i know it is just a stroked 289) Best sounding common v8 with b303 cam and flowmasters for the win!
Oldsmoblie 455 is also a favourite

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

Chevy 350, One of the easiest to run. made for many years without major changes.
But Here I want to Introduce a not well know Alfa With two V8’s. The car achieved great Success with two Engines. One in The front and other on Back of the driver! let me know if you need more Info on the ALFAROMEO BIMOTORE 1935

Plum
Plum

Ford DFV

MGB GT 72
MGB GT 72

Euro engines; by far all Maserati V8’s, then with some distance the Mercedes V8 (380, 420, 500 and 560)
US; I am from Europe but worked and studied for A year in the States. I owned a Pontiac Parisienne with a small block, not a very exciting configuration. But I have to propose the small block V8 Chevy, because it is throughout the most utilized engine.

gianjay10
gianjay10

Maserati 4.2-4.9 v8 as found in the 450s , 5000s, Bora and others. Legendary competition engine to exotic car power plant.
It has it all , alloy, dual overhead cams, strong torque and horsepower numbers.

antoni millson
antoni millson

ford + chevrolet stand out as the big production + high profile makers of several great v8s. with all due consideration, the best motor of each before 1990 were: [b]ford 289[/b] [b]chev 350[/b] both small blocks, even though some big blocks such as the 429 or 427 respectively are mythic motors, they were heavy. the 350 chev is a stand-out in the world of hot rodding, being a very adaptable + reliable engine. in nz we call the flatheads [i]boat [/i][i]anchors[/i], because they ultimately were used as literally that! reliable engines but heavy. as another reader commented, the alloy rover… Read more »

Malcolm Cambridge
Malcolm Cambridge

Ford Small Block V8.
Introduced in 1962 and still being made today (Ford Racing Crate motors). Many millions have been made.
Twice Le Mans winner, 1968 & 69 in the GT40.
In alloy block twin-cam form it was the engine of choice in US open wheel racing during the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Compact and light in production form made it an ideal choice for the GT40, AC Cobra and Sunbeam Tiger… and who wouldn’t want one of those in their garage!

Philip
Philip

There’s obviously a lot of great 8 cylinder choices out there, but here’s one that I think is a contender that doesn’t appear to have been posted yet; Rover aluminium V8. Produced from 60-63 as the Buick 215ci, they then ceased production due to reliability concerns. Rover got hold of it, strengthened the block, and put it in some great cars and it was in production until 2006. As a Rover engine it saw use in the Morgan +8, TVR’s, TR8, MG B V8, Land Rovers, Rover P6 and SD1. Due to it’s light weight and high output it was… Read more »

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman

mercedes 6.3 !

Greg Porter
Greg Porter

Straight eights and V8.
In my opinion the top straight eights are.
The Miller 91
The Duesenberg J
Mercedes W125 engine
8c Alfa.

V8. The Chevy Big Block.
Chrysler Hemi
Ford 427
Ferrari 3.0 V8
Cosworth DSV
Rolls Royce 6.75 Litre

Patrick Frawley
Patrick Frawley

Is Ed Cole’s Chevrolet small-block V-8 too obvious to be included so far? Great packaging means it can fit into anything and everything, low production costs kept it and the cars powered by it in reach of the average consumer, and a super-flexible short-stroke/big-bore architecture allowed for endless tailoring to disparate applications from quiet family sedans to pickups to any number of racing cars. It remains an engineering masterpiece, and in power-per-dollar terms it is rivaled only by the near-clone small blocks produced by the other Detroit makers.

Peter Giacobbi
Peter Giacobbi

second that V8

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

I always have a soft spot for mechanical advancement, but quickly follows is response and sound. So, I’m going to have to go with the 3.7L Maserati derived Alfa Romeo V8. I think it has more potential, sound range, and wonder than people give it credit for.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

I’m sorry I didn’t read it right. 😀

2nd runner up for me would have to be the 427 Ford Cammer V8. Very advanced and potent for it’s time.

antoni millson
antoni millson

pre-1990 3.7?

Kirk Robinson
Kirk Robinson

Another vote for the Alfa Romeo Stradale! I’m not really a V8 guy, recently I have become fascinated with the V8 in the 33 Stradale, and (Tipo 33, the race car version). Some specs/features to save those who don’t know about it at trip to Wikipedia: -2.0L 90˚ V8 -Redline ~10,000 RPM. (!!!) -Road version: about 227 hp @ 8800 rpm, 151lb-ft @ 6000 rpm. -Race version: about 270 hp @ 9600 rpm -four chain-driven cams -aluminum block -dry-sump lubrication -fuel injection with independent throttle bodies -2 spark plugs/cylinder, four ignition coils About 230hp from a naturally aspirated 2.0L engine… Read more »

John Roth
John Roth

The flathead Ford showed the industry the future; small, smooth, light, powerful, inexpensive V8s. Over a span of literally decades, the small block Chevrolet V8 has powered a huge variety of vehicles, more than any other engine by miles .
The Cosworth DFV that came after won an enormous number of races over again, decades.

These are measures of greatness. Are there other cool, interesting V8s? Certainly, but these are the greatest.

Lukas Duyck
Lukas Duyck

What about the first AMG engine from the mercedes benz 6.9 sel AMG (called the red pig) in my mind still the best amg engine ever built. It was a monster engine with 420 horsepower. The engine was great but because the HUGE body it just came second in the 24 hours of Spa in 1971.

Scott Spaeth
Scott Spaeth

Alfa 2 liter from the 33 Stradale. 240 naturally aspirated hp in a two liter package from 2v heads. But I’m an Alfa fanboi and in no way objective, so I can see where others might differ.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

I really wanted to say that, but I didn’t see much history behind it. I forget what the TZ1 ran, but I don’t remember the 33 being all that successful.

JB21
JB21

I want to say Alfa Romeo 8C’s straight eight. Mind, I’ve never driven one or anything, but I’ve seen it in person, the engine looks mechanical and gorgeous. And sounds great, too, but pretty much all engines from that era sounded good.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Race the Ford Cosworth DFV, road I’ll be predictable and go with the Ferrari V8. Fairly mild state of tune stock but bolt on the turbos and it became a flyer. Ultimate pre 1990 application in the Lancia LC2 group C car.

Nuno Relha Vaz
Nuno Relha Vaz

Bugatti type 35

Year of manufacture 1924–31
Units built more than 300 (all 35 versions)
Engine 8-cylinder in-line engine, 3 valve/cylinder, overhead camshafts
Cubic capacity/bore [cm³/mm] 199/60 x 88
Compressor no
Carburetor 2 Solex
Power [HP at revolutions/min] 90 at 5500
Before Mr. Ford and how beautiful is ir??? The attencion to detail to be the best in engeneering and in art…
Just my opinion;)

D L
D L

Duesenberg SJ. It was producing 320 horsepower at a time when the next most powerful engines were less than 200. The Pierce Arrow V-12 was only 175, the Mercedes 770K had only 150.

D L
D L

It was a technical marvel too. Dual overhead cam, four valves per cylinder. Plus, it is just so pretty.

Gregory Coe
Gregory Coe

Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge 426 Hemi or a Porsche 928 with the 32 valve for me!

Isaak
Isaak

No one cares, unless you state why…

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

Another tough question to settle on just one answer . Honestly … it kind of depends ; Best pre 90’s V8 .. street or track ? – Ford Cosworth V8 .. hands down Best muscle car V8 ? A toss up between the Dodge 426 Hemi and the Ford Boss 429 … with my preference being the 429 Best exotic V8 ? Hmmn … I’m not a fan of Ferrari’s V8’s .. the Maserati V8’s were quite good but way too fragile and finicky . Lamborghini’s V8’s were a disaster . Oh wait …. I know ! THE best pre… Read more »

Rogers
Rogers

One of the lesser known great v8’s was the 62-64 Studebaker R series 289 ci.,especially the supercharged version. Engines were modified by Andy Granitelli and although HP output was never published by Studebaker it was some where above 300. Was an available option in a Studebaker Lark with 4 speed, positraction and 12 springer clutch. I purchased a new 63 super charged lark 2 door which was the fastest car I ever owned and a real fooler. Engine would turn 10,000 rpm with no damage. Had over 125K when sold without a tear down.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I have been throwing around this question in my mind for a bit now and its a damn good one. Im going to go a different route then the usual Ford, Chevy, Chrysler engines for my answer. Im going to say the Buick/Olds 215 v8 was a mighty fine engine for its time. Its all aluminum construction made it lighter then most four bangers of the day. It was one of the first production engines with a turbocharger well before most “Turboheads” were even born. The Olds version of the block was used as the basis for for the Repco… Read more »

Régis
Régis

Hi,

I think the Cosworth DFV,
Because it was the “base map” of all modern racing and sport road going V8 and the most successfull engine in the entire F1 history.

Stoiculescu Costin
Stoiculescu Costin

Ferrari F40 is the best 😀

Isaak
Isaak

Because you say so? …