Muscle Car Engines

The development of muscle cars in America in the 1960s and 1970s saw extremely powerful engines set into standard sized, relatively light weight cars. This gave Muscle Cars phenomenal acceleration speeds and power. So, what kinds of engines were used in the classic Muscle Cars?

The V8 Engine

Development began on the V8 engine as early as the before the Second World War at General Motors and this was really the first engine to go in Muscle Cars. This engine was the first of its kind to use high compression overhead valves and worked well because it was light and efficient. The V8 brought together eight cylinders in two sections around a single crankshaft. The use of just one crankshaft here gave faster speeds of acceleration and helped give Muscle Cars their distinctive start up noise.

The Hemi Engine

The Hemi engine was developed by Chrysler in the 1950s. Its name came from the hemi-spherical (i.e. upside down bowl shape) design of the combustion chambers. The shape of the chambers here allows the engine valves to sit at an angle - traditional designs would have had them sitting next to each other. So, here valves could be larger and the flow of air/fuel into the engine could be optimised for peak efficiency which again gave Muscle Cars better power and acceleration.