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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

American V-8s power these 10 British muscle machines | Hagerty Media

The United States may have torn itself from the tyranny of British rule 245 years ago, but Britain just can't seem to escape its dependence on the all-American V-8. (Though Mr. Berg is a native Brit, he was in no way coerced to write this story on the United States' Independence Day.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/american-v-8s-power-10-british-muscle-machines/
79 REPLIES 79
Chris_s
New Driver

You should probably put the GT40 on that list. Another British car with an American engine. 😉
TrustyRusty
Intermediate Driver

I thought the GT40 was an American car.
Real_Life
Intermediate Driver

Nope. It was a Ford, but built by the Brits.
RW68RSConv
Intermediate Driver

built by brits, perfected by Americans...
dreamingeagle
Detailer

nothing could perfect the majority of these British chassis, least of all dropping a heavy 400-500bhp lump into what we’re essentially 1930s chassis technology;

most if not all of these would bite even the slightly inattentive faster than a 911 with all the computers switched off;
dreamingeagle
Detailer

wrong again, it was a Lola commissioned by Ford;
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

What about the GT40 MKIV?
audiobycarmine
Instructor

Whew, what stylings!!

You had me with the the first one; the “Keeble”.
Great design; timelessly conservative.
Maybe the name was what hindered sales.

The Mantis shows its E-Type roots, while the Tiger reminds us of what "CONTROL Agents" drove. The Clipper looks to be a Capri with even more Italian heritage, whereas the Bristol Fighter has great-looking Japanese influence.

I once worked with a guy that drove a TVR //?. It was tiny, and he was about 6’5”… Watching him get in was kind of like the “Toothpaste going back into the tube” phenomenon.

Me… I’d take any of these personally-“driven” minor masterpieces.
They’re all head-turners.
RW68RSConv
Intermediate Driver

I had never heard of the Keeble. That's a beautiful GT coupe!
dreamingeagle
Detailer

not surprisingly;

it, like the snack cookies, was built by elves and lasted the same amount of time;
delling3
New Driver

Seems to me that the MGB GT and the TR8 both belong on the list, as both were factory-built with the same Buick/Rover V8.
Real_Life
Intermediate Driver

By that time, Rover had not only bought and built the engine, but had made substantial changes, especially the later Triumph.
Bruinsguy
Pit Crew

What about Jensen interceptor with either a 383 Chrysler or 440 Chrysler. This should have made the list
gfviperman
Detailer

100%!!!! Should be #1 ...
390AMX
Pit Crew

+1

427sc
Intermediate Driver

Amen Bruinsguy, you beat me to it!
The Jensens should be at the beginning of the list along with the Sunbeams & Cobras...
When I was getting my Cobra painted a few years ago, the shop my car was in was just finishing a frame off restoration of a 440 powered Jensen.
Granted, the 440's these cars came with were fairly de-tuned (even the 6-pack cars made under 300HP if memory serves me). they still were torquey beasts for such a medium sized chassis.
JDull139
Pit Crew

Think the 6 Pack motors were rated at 375 HP.4 barrel 350 HP
doctorofmotors
New Driver

I thought the same thing when I saw the title of the story. How could you not list that car???
DAW1
Intermediate Driver

The Jensen Interceptor wasn’t featured but it was mentioned in the introduction.
ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

Didn't the Morgan 8 have a Buick in it first?
TrustyRusty
Intermediate Driver

Yes
Real_Life
Intermediate Driver

No, while originally designed by Buick, Rover continually updated the engine once it bought the tooling.
farna
Advanced Driver

My brother had a friend's early 2000's Range Rover with the AL V-8 in his shop a few years ago. Doesn't much resemble the old Buick any more! The block itself is similar, but few (if any!) parts would interchange, even with the early Rover engines. They even redesigned and moved the oil pump! The guy got the Range Rover Defender rather cheap because it needed a water pump and what we would normally call a few other minor maintenance items. Everything needed had to come from the Rover dealer or Rover specialists on the Internet, and were all at least twice the price you'd expect even if you were taking into consideration that they would be a bit higher than American engine prices.
ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

And what about the AC Bristol...the predecessor to the Shelby? First...260, later...289, 427
papa94301
Pit Crew

I once went over to England for a tech conference and rather accidentally came back with a Sunbeam Tiger, one of 700 in RHD. When my wife became pregnant for the first time I sold that and my trusty (not rusty) TR4-A (mostly in a panic) – both went to buyers in Europe – and lived without an interesting car until my daughter turned 13 and we were living in California. So I went on a hunt for something interesting. I wanted a Gordon-Keeble, and even saw one at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2001, but my family thought it was ugly (and there were not any for sale anyway). I've long admired nearly all of Giugiaro's designs. A year and a half later I bought a DARE G4. Not a V-8 but a Ford Zetec 2L with Weber fuel injection. Drove it yesterday. Meets my needs (and desires).
Tim
Instructor

That TVR looks the part, but I suspect that "plagued with delays" and "new factory in Wales" means it's doomed to cost substantially more than what could be considered its competition.
Richard
Pit Crew

What? No Jensen Interceptor? Chrysler 383 and later 440 engines.
Beestly
Intermediate Driver

So the title starts with “American V8s Power…” aaaaaand there’s a V10 car in there, aaaaaaaaand no mention of one of the coolest British cars using a Chrysler big block V8, the Jensen Interceptor. Either admit your stupidity or sign up for a 12 step program and quit drinking on the job! You need help.
390AMX
Pit Crew

For sure it should be......the Jensen is mentioned in the intro, but not showing on the list
OldFordMan
Detailer

A fabulous presentation, Nik!
Such creative styling in some of these although the total package wasn't there or the end price too high for survival.
Good luck to the ones hoping to make the comeback.
richreed701
Pit Crew

Hey! What about the MGC? (At least I think it was called that...) It was an MGB with an American V-8. Not sure of the lineage of the motor, but I think it was MOPAR. (A previous post mentioned the MGB GT. That was not powered by a V-8 but rather was an MG with a hard top fast-back, i.e. a GT by the purest definition of a GT).
JSievers
Advanced Driver

The MGC had an in-line six, the Triumph engine I believe. The V8 version was called simply the MGB GT V8 and came in the hardtop/hatchback body style only because the convertible lacked sufficient structural rigidity to handle the V8’s torque.
JSievers
Advanced Driver

Correction. It was a Morris Engines C-series 6-cylinder, also used in Austin sedans. The V8 was, of course, the aluminum Buick/Rover unit.
Real_Life
Intermediate Driver

Nice catch. Although lots of people have converted B's to Rover V8's, and the stout unit body B's can handle the torque. (I once hit a curb with my MGB GT and bent the rocker panel. I took it to a body shop and they told me "never bring this car to us again". The rockers had a least three stout layers of steel and their machines barely straightened the panel out.)
Real_Life
Intermediate Driver

Not up to snuff on MG history. The MGC was a development both the MGB and Aston Healey, being an MGB body modified north of the A-post with a torsion bar suspension and a BMC inline six, meant to take over from the earlier BMC six used on the A-H. It did not present itself well and dropped out of the line up after the 68-69 model years with (IIRC) 8999 units produced and sold. MG tried again in 1973 with the MGB GT which was permitted to use the Rover updated version of Buick 315 aluminum V8. It was chrome bumpered in 1973 and carried on after the rubber-bumpered B was introduced for 1974 1/2. BTW, the 1974 MGB had THREE bumper designs, the carryover 1973 chrome bumper, the rubber enhanced "Sabrina" bumpers, and then the full rubber 1974 1/2. I can't say MG made ANY 74 1/2 "sabinas", they may well be US/Canada only. But if you see one for sale in good nick, BUY IT!
DougL
Intermediate Driver

I never heard them called Sabrina bumpers. Who are they named for?
DougL
Intermediate Driver

Never mind, I found her!
DAW1
Intermediate Driver

The MGC had a straight six engine. There were MGB GT V8 cars however, with the Rover engine and of course there was the MG RV8 in the nineties.
jensens4me
New Driver

As mentioned before, the Jensen Interceptor should be included, particularly the Jensen Interceptor SP if you're talking muscle. SP standing for "Six-Pack" carburetors on the Chrysler 440.
http://richardcalver.com/article_sp.htm
JHMk1
New Driver

The Jensen Interceptor
Oldimpala
Intermediate Driver

Good friend owned a Tiger.

You can't heel/toe in the car because you can't move your feet. I couldn't wear shoes (size-11-ish depending on the shoe) or it would get wedged between the dash and floor.

Had bent tie-rod ends (yes, by design) to swing the custom-made rack & pinion to the hubs to steer. Worked OK until you exceeded about a turn on the wheel (like changing direction on a divided highway), the outer tire would hop angrily... In a straight line launch, *both* rear wheels would hop angrily on the leaf spring rear.

Needed to drop the transmission mount and driveshaft to swap valve cover gaskets; the last two or three rocker arms were under the firewall. This specific Tiger was a "California" optioned car (a performance package, with a 450 CFM 4-bbl Holley and Finned valve covers); the fins on the VCs were ball milled off, to fit under said firewall.

You had to remove 2 rubber plugs in the firewall, and curse a significant amount to access the rear 2 plugs or wires.

Terrible car. And I miss it. It was so much fun....

Could you imagine half those things passing QC/Engineering today?
terryjudd
Intermediate Driver

The Interceptor isn’t the only Jensen to be ignored. The 1961-66 Jensen C-V8 MK II was powered a Chrysler 383 V-8 and a three-speed Chrysler TorqueFlite. The C-V8 is best remembered as the car featured in the 1966 British television show “The Baron”. Actor Steve Forrest played antique dealer-turned-spy John Mannering in the show broadcast by the ABC Television Network in summer 1966. Of the 500 produced, only an estimated five with left-hand-driver made it across the Atlantic to the United States. A cool car for a equally cool show.
TimK
Detailer

I may be wrong about all this but I'm wondering if using the Cobra name on the AC Cobra Blower is an infringement of copywrite of Shelby's AC Cobra. Did Shelby's estate sell the name to them? But it seems to me Ford now owns rights to the name so if I'm correct I don't think Ford will be very happy about this car using the Cobra name.
RallyeRalph
Intermediate Driver

Some correct comments mentioned Morgan V8 (talk about chassis flex!), TR-8 (made a decent car out of the TR-7- one of the worst cars ever- but I once drove a TR-8 800 miles in ice and snow and talk about scary), and MGB-GTV8 (Yes they were never imported to my knowledge but seemed to be OK cars) and of course lots of Land Rover variations. The MGC was not a V8, it was a 3 liter straight six truck engine like a late AH 3000 with torsion bar suspension and so nose-heavy it understeered like an aircraft carrier. I sold my Elan (#110) and took in trade a TVR Griffith- the original. (talk about trading ice water for chilled piss!), 260 Ford with a Ford 4-speed in a glass body with a tail like a Manx cat. The drivetrain blocked part of the passenger compartment and the center console had a level top like a coffee table. My wife drove it to work while pregnant and folks would gather to see her get in and out. Lots more common in the USA than most of the cars shown. .
Correct on the Jensen Interceptor but it was preceded by the 541or C-V8. One of the ugliest cars ever, styled by amputees, but glass body and a 383 and quick- capital Q. Once motoring about 65 on I-75 I was next to Mr. Sports Car in his Karmann-Ghia convertible with the top down and his British flat cap. He gave me the V-sign and I smiled back, punched it and was GONE.
Tigers were great until you had to get on your knees to replace the rear plugs through the sides of the console. Maxwell Smart drove an Alpine, Britney Spears to Tiger's Serena Williams.
The Marcos shown looks like a Pride parade but I think is called a Mantula. Marcos made Straight fours and sixes, V-4 and V-6, and whatever other proprietary emgine was available. The previous model was a Marcos GT originall with a wooden chassis so you didn't know whether to have it Ziebarted or Terminixed.
No one mentioned the Daimler Dart aka SP-250 V8. Ugly but quick and went though clutches more often than brake pads. GT-40 was indeed a British car but very much modified by Shelby, enough to be American.
Under the heading of totally stupid, I once took in trade a Bugeye Sprite into which the owner had dropped a 383 Chryler. The new firewall occupied most of the footwells and the headers just the the side of it burnt the right calf if you could even drive it, Went like stink till it overheated and it took three men and a boy to try to bend it around a corner. I have was a used British car specialist from 1958 on, so Been there, Done that .
GrumpyOne
Pit Crew

IIRC the AC Cobras of the mid 1960's sported Paxton blowers which was a sub-division to the Studebaker Corporation. Somewhere in my files I have a picture of the the manufacturer's build plate which clearly shows this relation...
Bertone780
Intermediate Driver

1940's post wat Ford V8 Pilot. Used s UK built pre war Ford V8. Popular with the Bobbies.
Bertone780
Intermediate Driver

Make that post war.
ThePorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

Wat?




🙂
Davidb
Pit Crew

Chris_s, This is the first I've heard about the GT-40 being British in origin. Who was its designer and who was its builder?