The 1960s was a transformational period for the automotive industry as muscle cars became more popularized. The average consumer went from demanding a sleek, high-speed vehicle to requiring more power and acceleration from their cars. It was the dream of every young driver to have a muscle car parked on their front pouch. Those manufactured between the 60s and 70s became very popular because of their exemplary performances on the road. Here are the most popular muscle cars with engines that will blow your socks off.

What Muscle Car Engines are Most Iconic?

The Ford Flathead V8

The Flathead V8 from Ford is among the most iconic old-school muscle cars with an out-of-this-world engine. The first of these ford engines were manufactured in the early 30s, and its improvement spread to the 50s. One of the most significant roles this engine has in the automotive industry is its impact on the hot-rodding culture.

Although the V8 engine featured in this vehicle doesn’t maximize performance, its authenticity and retro style make it outstanding. One aspect distinguishing it from other engines is its intake and exhaust pipes inside the engine block. Most units have these components on the engine’s cylinder heads.

Dodge 426 Hemi

The Dodge 426 Hemi is another high-performance engine featured in several muscle cars. It is a famous unit that guarantees animal-like power under your car’s hood. It was easier to spot a muscle car fitted with this Dodge engine in the 60s and 70s than it is now.

The 426 Hemi compared to other top engines from Dodge, like the 440 V8 manufactured in the same era. The 440 V8 went ahead to replace the 426 Hemi in the market because of its affordability, reliability, and good performance scores.

Ford 302 Cubic Inch V8

Most of the engines fitted in muscle cars were V8 engines, and so was the Ford 302 engine. It was an outstanding engine dominating the American automotive culture for decades. You can find the engine in modern Ford’s like the Raptor F-150 and Mustang and other Ford units produced in the late 60s.

The 302 V8 engine size is not as substantial as other manufacturers’ units. However, you can achieve higher performance than engines in higher classes with the correct modifications. The base motor reliability and durability of the 302 are forever unmatched.

Chevrolet LS V8

The Chevrolet LS V8 is an engine featured in several vehicles, including numerous muscle cars. These engines are more compact and lighter than most V8 engine replacement units, making them popular across the United States. Despite its compact size, the power generated from this engine is enough to power your mid-sized SUV. It is an ideal replacement consideration for any V8 Chevrolet engine if you want to save money, although others find it uncreative.

6.2 Liter Hellcat V8

The most powerful engine to sit in any American muscle car is the 6.2 Liter Hellcat V8 engine. The engine delivers 707 horsepower and 650 lb of torque under normal driving conditions. The manufacturers destroked the 6.4-liter Hemi engine to create the 6.2 variant. Destroking it meant the engine would maintain functionality even under significant boost or unfriendly driving situations.

It is normal for a performance engine to produce a lot of heat. The 6.2 Liter hellcat V8 engine features two intercoolers and a high-capacity cooler to help cool your engine, specifically at incredibly high temperatures. The only problem is that it sits in heavy muscle cars, which compromises its mechanical grip and overall performance.

Ford 427 Cammer

The Ford 427 Cammer is another outstanding V8 engine from Ford. The manufacturers decided to increase heads on the 427 high riser race engines for more power and speed. The modification saw the introduction of the 427 Cammer variant, which was featured in several muscle cars in the 60s and 70s. It guaranteed a horsepower of 657 and 575 lb/ft torque, placing it among the most powerful units. NASCAR denied the engine from competing in races, limiting its popularity and market exposure.

Chevrolet 454 Big Block V8

If you believe the bigger an engine is, the more powerful it is, then the Chevrolet 454 big-block V8 is your ideal engine. The engine was not as popular as other units manufactured in the same decade, but its performance scores were outstanding. You are more likely to find the engine variant in pickup trucks and only a few old muscle cars. The 454 Chevrolet engine was more famous for its torque and reliability than speed and horsepower.

5.2 Liter Voodoo Flat Plane Crack V8 from Ford

The only American production with a V8 engine featuring a flat-plane crankshaft is the 5.2 Ford Voodoo engine. Most American-made V8s have a cross-plane crankshaft. The main difference between flat and cross planes is that the former is lighter, has a smaller crankcase, and guarantees a lower center of gravity. It provided the perfect driving experience as it could rev higher and proved to be more responsive.

What is a Muscle Car?

Muscle cars became more popular in the 1960s. The term described mid-sized cars with massive and robust engines, most of them being V8s. Other outstanding characteristics included a unique trim that facilitated maximum acceleration.

These cars are high-performing units manufactured between 1964 and 1971. At first, they were known as supercars. The name gradually changed to muscle cars regarding the horsepower ratings of the engines fitted in these vehicles.

As gasoline became plentiful and highway systems more expansive, the demand for muscle cars increased significantly in the United States. Manufacturers adopted the trend of fitting massive engines on mid-sized chassis from the early 60s onwards. The price was fair, but you had to pay more for optional equipment and increased engine size.

Do The Police Use Muscle Cars?

Several law enforcement departments find muscle cars effective in their daily operations. In the early days, police cars were huge and slow. It was not an issue until manufacturers started providing high-speed vehicles for the market. Some administration units like the Alabama State Troopers concluded that they needed faster cars to help them chase down lawsuit offenders.

The Alabama State Troopers were the first to use Muscle cars as patrol units. They bought an AMC Javelin fitted with a v8 engine. These vehicles could attain speeds of up to 150 mph, which significantly helped them in highway law enforcement.


Muscle cars continue to steal the limelight in the automotive industry as collectors and enthusiasts maintain their retro units. The engines featured in these vehicles are some of the most powerful engines manufactured in history. Units like the 6.2 Hellcat V8 and the 426 Hemi will continue to be our favorites for their performance and reliability.


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