The Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, and the engine is the powerhouse of the car. The design of engines has changed a lot over the years, some were experimental and forgettable, but some grew on us so much that we almost cannot stop making cars with them. One such type of engine is the V8.
The V8 defined an entire era of cars. In America, this powertrain is synonymous with muscle cars that make big power and developed loads and loads of torque. In fact, a muscle car can’t be great if it doesn’t feature an eight-pot, and for decades, the manufacturers have mostly stuck to this recipe. In Europe, on the other hand, these engines have been used to create quick and nimble sports cars.
But these aren’t the only vehicles to use a V8, and over the years, manufacturers have been known to dump this power mill into some quite unexpected and surprising cars. Here are 10 such examples.
Usually, you would think that a Rolls-Royce co-produced by Bentley would have a better chance of ending up with a V8. But the Corniche was 100% purely built by the people at Royce. And yet, it had a 6.75-Liter V8.
The 2002 Corniche, for example, had all the usual high-level luxury from a Rolls-Royce, and a V8 that made 325 HP. No wonder it became the inspiration for the Bentley Continental GT, one of their most popular cars ever.
1996 Lotus Esprit
While James Bond’s ‘No Time To Die’ is in cinemas right now, it’s befitting to talk about a Bond car. It’s not an Aston Martin, but the Lotus Esprit that appeared as a submarine car in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Lotus was known for making small, lightweight sports cars with small engines.
So did the Esprit that was fitted with an L4 engine. But the 1996 Esprit surprisingly came with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V8 specially designed for it. This wedge-shaped sports car made 500 HP, and it could sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds!
The words Fiat, and V8 do not really appear in the same sentence often. We would naturally associate Fiat cars with a small body, and a small engine. But there is indeed a V8-powered Fiat in their complete list of cars. The Fiat 8V Supersonic is the single Fiat with such a big engine under the hood.
They only made it for 2 years, and 114 units, so they aren’t that popular, but those who have seen it can’t deny how great it looks. Ghia was responsible for the bodywork after all. The 2.0L engine made 105 HP. Props to Fiat for exploring the V8 game and trying their hand on it.
Another small little car that would fool people into thinking it had an Inline-4 or something similar. When AMC launched the Gremlin X, they put a V8 in its top trim expecting it to be a very successful subcompact car. But many lost their interest due to the way it looked.
But if you like the Gremlin’s appearance, you’re in for a treat as the 5.0-Liter V8 produced 120 HP which was more than enough for a car of that size. The result was a surprisingly quick car that most people slept on.
Usually, this list consists of cars that we would assume to have a smaller engine turn up with a big V8. But here, it’s the opposite. The CCR is a rare supercar (only 14 made) that accelerates from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, handles excellently, and goes up to 241 mph.
Now one would expect a car this fast to have a V10 or a V12, or maybe even a W engine, but Christian von Koenigsegg said, ‘Nah, let’s throw in a big ol’ V8 in it’. It was a 4.7 turbocharged engine, and the car proved that you can make an asphalt-tearing car without restoring to an insane number of cylinders in the engine.
1971 Buick Riviera
The Riviera was one of Buick’s best and most successful cars of all time, selling over a million units over 35 years. The Riviera was known as a luxury car that offered heaps of comfort and plenty of performance. It was a winning formula that people liked, and yet, Buick thought to make it a bit more sports-oriented.
In 1971, Buick tried hard to change the design to more like a sports car that ended up with that ‘Boattail’ look. But surprisingly, they kept the V8 in. We are not sure why they kept it, but hey, there’s one more V8-powered car to choose from, so no complaints!
Ford Capri Perana
Ford certainly knows its way around V8 engines. And yet, one look at this little sports coupe and we would assume an Inline-4 or maybe a V6 inside this mini-mustang. But nope, the Capri Perana instead went to South Africa and came back to the States with a 5.0-Liter Ford Windsor V8.
The prodigal son’s return also gave it a beefier look, and even the transmission was the same as the Mustang. 0-60 time was under 7 seconds, which is not bad for a late ’60s, early ‘70s coupe. And the top speed was also decent at 143 mph.
1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop
A V8 engine is usually installed in cars that are meant to deliver mesmerizing performance and not care too much about comfort. That’s why luxury cars opt for a more refined, smaller engine that gives relatively less but consistent power for maximum comfort and minimizing jerks.
Not according to Chrysler. One of their best cars from its “Fuselage Era”, the Imperial LeBaron is a luxury car with a 220 HP V8. It was not something one would consider a practical decision, but somehow Chrysler made it work!
British car manufacturer Daimler built the SP250 right before its parent company sold it to Jaguar Cars in 1960. The SP250 looked absolutely beautiful from every side, but it’s a British sports car from 1959. A V8 is not something one would expect in such a car. And a V8 it had.
A 2.5-liter V8 engine that produced roughly 140 hp powered this stunner. The wide front and rear wheel arches are about the only thing common with a V8-powered bulked-up car. Other than that, there is nothing that screams the word ‘powerhouse’ as much as ‘elegance’ and ‘style’.
2007 BMW M3
BMW made a bold choice here. Up until 2007, the M3 models were loved for excellent handling and performance from a straight-six engine. But they opted for a V8 in 2007 and purists lost their minds. Even people who weren’t the biggest fans of the M3 did not see this coming. A 4.0-liter V8 with 400 hp would power the M3 through a double-clutch transmission that propelled it from 0-60 in just 4.6 seconds.
The body was sprinkled with carbon fiber parts, and the design looked just as good. Although many consider the previous model, the E46 to be the last true M3, we can’t deny that it’s a brilliant and blisteringly fast car and one of the best BMW cars in recent history.
Over the years, Japanese carmakers have produced some truly awesome cars with thundering V8 engines.
About The Author