Lift the hood of any muscle car and, more often than not, a rather special engine will be waiting for you. Usually a V8 – either naturally aspirated or supercharged – these monstrous motors offer plenty of power, personality, and charisma, with sound playing a large part in their appeal.
The exhaust note of a muscle car’s V8 is a staple of the class. Whether it be the raspy sound of a classic or the deep roar of a more modern example, a wonderful exhaust note is something every gearhead love to appreciate. With this in mind, here are ten muscle cars with awesome exhaust notes which deserve your attention.
10 1965 Shelby Cobra 427
What happens when you take a lightweight British sports car and put a 7.0-liter Ford muscle car engine under the hood? Well, you get the Shelby Cobra 427. This ’60s classic is the stuff of dreams, and so is the sound it makes.
Floor this snake-badged icon and you’ll find the noise coming out of its two side-mounted exhausts is enough to put a smile on any car enthusiast’s face. Its a throaty, powerful roar is one that’s unmistakably American.
9 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Now for something more recent: the latest Camaro Z/28. This car features a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 with 505bhp and huge amounts of character. As a result, this Chevy not only looks awesome, it sounds awesome too.
The Z/28 combines the best of old and new: it has the burble of classic American V8s and the snarl of later muscle car motors. For a similar sound, have a listen to the C6 Corvette ZO6 – the two share the same engine.
8 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302
The first Boss 302, pictured above in prototype form, features a 5.0-liter V8 engine created for the Trans Am racing series. With this 290bhp motor under the hood, the 302 is able to produce a pretty angry sound.
It’s a very ’60s V8 noise, one from back when exhausts produced particularly raw and unfiltered burbles and roars. The Mustang may be a pony car, but the 302 – along with its even more powerful 429 sibling – has some real muscle.
7 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
Sometimes described as a four-door Corvette, the CTS-V is far from your everyday Cadillac. Under the hood is a 6.2-liter V8 – the same supercharged one you’ll find in a C7 ZO6 ‘Vette and 2017 Camaro ZL1 – with 640bhp. All this V8 power makes for a 0-60mph time of only 3.7 seconds, as well as a truly muscular sound.
With such an aggressive snarl, the 2016 CTS-V has to be classed amongst the very best-sounding sedans on the planet. Move over Charger Hellcat, this Caddy deserves time in the spotlight just as much as you do.
6 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The Chevelle is a true American classic and a dream muscle car for many, especially in SS form. It’s a stunning car, both from the outside and under the hood. The latter is where either a 6.6-liter or 7.4-liter V8 would reside, depending on which particular SS you opted for.
Both motors, however, produce an incredible noise – your typical ’60s/’70s muscle car sounds. That’s right, floor this Chevy and it won’t disappoint. You’ll feel as if you’re Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher.
5 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350
The Shelby GT350 is what happens when you sprinkle a little bit of Ferrari onto your Mustang engine because this car’s 5.2-liter V8 has a flat-plane crank – a feature favored by said Italian manufacturer. Not only does this crank help this ‘Stang rev higher – it has an 8,250rpm redline – it also allows for an excellent exhaust note.
The GT350’s sound is truly one of the best in the modern business. It’s loud, aggressive, and reminds one of a jungle cat or other angry wild animal. So, as you can imagine, going all the way up to 8,250rpm is quite the aural experience.
4 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
The second-generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, known for its role in 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit, went through a rather significant amount of tinkering over its 11 years in production. From front facia changes – such as the 1979 redesign you see in the picture above – to new engines.
That being said, all the available V8 motors produce awesome exhaust notes – under the hood of the Trans Am Mk2, you’ll find everything from a 4.3-liter V8 to a 7.5-liter V8. Each engine has its own muscular growl that’s sure to get the adrenaline pumping.
3 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
The Dodge Demon possesses insane performance: 840bhp, 770lb-ft of torque, and a 0-60mph time of 2.3 seconds (in drag spec). With this craziness in mind, you won’t be surprised to hear it also possesses quite an insane exhaust note as well.
Under the hood, the Demon’s humungous 2.7-liter supercharger creates some wonderful supercharger whine while the 6.2-liter V8 barks, growls, and roars – it’s pretty spectacular. And, as with the rest of the car, the exhaust note is not subtle. In fact, it’s rather brash.
2 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
The Bel Air arrived to the muscle car party a little early; around ten years too early. That being said, while it may not be a traditional muscle car, the second-generation was offered with a couple of V8s. Yes, they are rather small – one is a 4.3-liter and the other a 4.6-liter – but the larger option has 283bhp and is shared with the Corvette of the time.
This means the Bel Air Mk2 has some muscle, even if it’s a tad lacking on what would come after it such as later generations and their 7.0-liter-plus V8s. Tap the gas and this Chevy produces a subtle, yet mean sound straight from the ’50s – one that’s hard not to love.
1 2013 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500
This GT500 arrived in 2013 as the last – and craziest – of the live-axle Ford Shelby Mustangs. It’s able to go from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds, as well as reach a staggering top speed of 200mph thanks to its 662bhp supercharged V8.
This 5.8-liter motor is a wild one. It’ll shred the rear tires if you provoke it, however, this snake-badged beast will certainly look and sound good in the process. No wonder Aaron Paul’s character in 2014’s Need For Speed chose a (modified) GT500 to hoon across the US.
NEXT: Here’s What Happened To The Mustang From Need For Speed
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