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 Time. We’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?
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.