Car Culture & Entertainment / Muscle Car Match-Ups/March Madness / News & Car Culture

2017 Muscle Car Match-Ups (Engine Edition) Round 2 Pairings Unveiled!

The so-called Road to the Final Four is about to get chewed up.

You voted some of the most ground-pounding, asphalt-eating American V8 production engines of all time into our Muscle Car Match-Ups round of eight. Chevy, Ford, Mopar, Pontiac, and Buick are all represented. Just about everyone is happy—except maybe the EPA and the noise police. But we didn’t invite them to this party anyway.

Behold, the best of the best American V8s below. Which one is THE best? It’s up to you to decide—see how the voting is done here. Don’t miss your chance to crown your favorite powerplant.

Second Round Match-Ups

Chevy 454 LS6 vs. Chevy L88 427

Following a first-round blowout against the AMX 390, the Chevy 454 LS6 faces much stiffer competition in the Chevy 427 L88. On paper, the advantage goes to the LS6 by sheer cubic inches and horsepower. 
But they don’t play the game on paper.
Truth is, the stated power of both of these engines was said to be underrated. Estimates put both mills at around 500 actual horsepower! Both engines have plenty of street cred with Chevrolet enthusiasts, too. In the long and impressive Corvette lineage, the L88 (and its stated 430 horsepower) was the driving force behind the rarest and meanest versions of the ‘Vette. The LS6-powered Chevelle was the undisputed power king of 1970, even with its underrated 450 horsepower.
It’s like choosing a favorite between your children, isn’t it, Chevy fans?

Ford 427 Medium Riser vs. GM LS9

At long last, we have our Chevy vs. Ford match-up.
This one’s a little more complex, though. It’s also a battle of generations as you’ve got the fuel-injected, forced-induction LS9 battling the legendary, old-school Ford 427 Mid Riser. It’s arguably Ford’s most-iconic engine versus one of GM’s most powerful—ever
But what if you’re a Ford fan, who prefers modern technology? Or a Chevy guy who really appreciates old-school mechanical wizardry? *Mind blown*
We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Chevy 427 ZL1 vs. Chrysler 426 HEMI

The 427 ZL1-powered 1969 Camaro ZL1 landed in the top spot of our Top 10 Big Block Chevy Production Cars of All TimeWe’ve told the story of the legendary 426 HEMI here and dedicated an entire post to the best cars powered by the iconic Elephant.
Obviously, we think very highly of both engines.
You decide which is better. Is it the Mopar that first changed NASCAR, and then struck fear in the hearts of non-Mopar believers on the street? Or is it the lightweight, aluminum ZL1 that helped create the COPO craze? Do you prefer 490 ft.-lbs. of tire-shredding HEMI torque or the estimated 500 horsepower worth of ZL1 zen?
You decide.

Buick 455 Stage 1 vs. Pontiac SD-455

We’re not sure what surprised us more: The fact that the Buick 455 Stage 1 garnered the most votes of any engine in the first round, or the way the Pontiac SD-455 vanquished the Hellcat 6.2L. In any event, we’re not shocked to see either of these engines in the second round as both have fanatical followings.
The match-up represents two different approaches. Buick engineers opted to tinker with the 455, giving it cylinder heads with larger valves, increased compression, and a more aggressive camshaft. This Stage 1 version of the engine made about 400 horsepower from the factory. The Pontiac team, on the other hand, opted to hold back a bit on its 455, giving enthusiasts more opportunity to add power later. And you’re allowed to like whichever approach you want.

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  1. Joel Reeves says:

    1. Chevy L88 427
    2. Ford 427 Medium Riser
    3. Chrysler 426 Hemi
    4. Pontiac SD 455

  2. Daniel Speer says:

    LS6 454

  3. Daniel Wilson says:

    1. Chevy L88 427.

    2. Ford 427 Medium Riser .

    3. Chevy 427 ZL1.

    4. Buick 455 Stage 1.

  4. LS6
    STAGE 1

  5. Chevy 454 LS6 – no replacement for DISplacement!
    Ford 427 Medium Riser
    Chrysler 426 Hemi
    Buick 455 Stage 1 – Torque KING!

  6. LS6
    STAGE 1

  7. Chevrolet 454 LS6, LS9, Chrysler 426 Hemi and Buick 455 Stage 1

  8. Daniel Wilson says:

    There must be a problem with the screen display on my iPhone. I only see eight replies to the poll that asks readers to select their favorite engines from a list that includes some of the most famous muscle car in automotive history. Some readers might argue that the list is incomplete without their particular favorite but listing every engine that has enough power to smoke a tire or two just isn’t practical.

    It’s time to WAKE UP gear heads and participate. You might even have a little fun while your at it. If the automotive groups and sponsors that make these forums possible decides that nobody gives a damn, they will surely pull the plug and move on to greener pastures. I appreciate the efforts of the author, David Fuller and the entire staff for doing a great job of providing me with my favorite topics in Automotive Journalism and Performance.

    Dan Wilson.

  9. Really Making it hard;

    1. LS6 vs L88 = Tie
    2. Ford 427
    3. ZL1 vs 426 Hemi = Tie
    4. Pontiac SD455

  10. 1. Pontiac SD455
    2. LS6
    3. LS9
    4. Stage 1

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