10 Affordable V8-Powered Classics Every Gearhead Should Buy

The beloved V8 engine has been around for a long time, but it’s sadly becoming an endangered species. As the conversation around climate heats up, manufacturers are ditching our favorite V8 engines for smaller, more fuel-efficient ones and using forced induction or electric motors to supplement the power. While getting rid of the V8 engine is probably best for the environment, it’s sad for gearheads who love its balanced nature, raw power, and roaring sound, especially those who love muscle cars.

RELATED: 5 Most Powerful Italian V8 Engines (Vs 5 American)

Not to worry, though. Sure, it may be hard to find V8 engines in new cars, but you can still find them inclassic cars. There are still many awesome classic cars with V8 engines on the used market, and the best part is that many of them are still affordable. Let’s explore some of them.

10/10 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra – $27,000

Red 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R Parkedd Outside
via Mecum

In the early ’90s, Ford established the SVT division with one goal – to build high-performance versions of its popular models. One of the first cars the SVT division worked on was the fox-body Mustang, and the result – the Mustang SVT Cobra – quickly showed it meant business.

1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Rear shot
Via: Mecum Auctions

The Mustang SVT Cobra was equipped with a 4.9-liter V8 pumping out 235 ponies, giving it great performance. With less than 5,000 examples made, it’s no surprise that the Mustang SVT Cobra is widely considered to be one of the best special edition Mustangs ever made.

9/10 Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 – $26,000

Mercedes SL500 R129 Front Quarter Black Garage
Via Cars & Bids

If there’s one thing Mercedes-Benz is known for, it’s building over-engineered cars. Mercedes-Benz is known for paying close attention to every aspect of engineering to ensure that its models are reliable and durable. One car that helped Mercedes-Benz earn its reputation is the R129 generation of the popular SL Class.

Via – Mercedes

The R129 debuted in the ’90s, and even though it was criticized for having a boxy design, it made up for it with its powerful and reliable engine options, including a V8 and a monstrous V12.

8/10 Chevrolet Corvette C5 – $16,000

1997 Chevrolet Corvette C5

The heavily-anticipated fourth-generation Corvette had a great start to life in the ’80s, but sales were declining sharply by the mid-90s. Chevy knew it had to improve drastically to renew gearheads’ interest in the Corvette, so it gave the fifth-generation model a ground-up redesign before introducing it in 1997.

Chevrolet Corvette C5
Via: Chevrolet

The C5 was a massive upgrade over the C4 thanks to a new all-aluminum V8 engine with 350 hp on tap, an improved drag coefficient of 0.25, and active handling that gave it incredible handling.

7/10 AMC AMX – $19,000

1971 AMC Javelin AMX Cropped
Via mecum.com

AMC has been out of business for decades now, but it will always be remembered for its cars. One car that makes gearheads wish AMC was still around is the AMX.

RELATED: 10 Of The Coolest Cars AMC Ever Made

1970 AMC AMX Two-Seat Sports Car
Via: Mecum

The AMX was a Javelin-based coupe that AMC built to compete with the popular Chevy Corvette. The AMX had a shorter wheelbase than the Javelin and only two seats instead of four to make it more sporty, and the icing on the cake was its 325-jp V8.

6/10 1995 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning – $23,000

Red 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning Parked Outside
via Bring a Trailer

Ford recently unveiled the insane F-150 Raptor R, showing just how insanely fast pickup trucks can be. However, this isn’t Ford’s first time trying to build a pickup truck that can chase down supercars. Ford’s first crack was in the ’90s when it built the F-150 SVT Lightning.

Ford F-150 SVT Lightning
Via: mecum.com

Ford wanted to make the F-150 look more attractive to gearheads looking for a sporty, personal-use pickup truck, so they equipped it with a 5.8-liter V8 making 240 hp.

5/10 Mercedes-Benz 500E – $27,000

via: Mercedes-Benz Museum 

In the ’90s, Mercedes-Benz needed to build a new performance sedan that could compete with the BMW M3 and other top options. However, since it was busy working on the W140 S-Class, Mercedes-Benz hired Porsche and asked them to build a high-performance version of the W124 E-Class. That’s how the 500E came to be.


Porsche didn’t disappoint. It modified the E-Class chassis to allow it to accommodate a massive 5.0-liter V8 engine with 322 hp on tap, making the 500E insanely fast.

4/10 Jaguar XK8 – $21,000

Via: Bring A Trailer

The XJS was a massive failure for Jaguar, as many gearheads felt it wasn’t a worthy successor for the iconic E-Type. As such, Jaguar wanted to make the XJS’ replacement a winner, and that’s what the XK8 turned out to be.

Jaguar XK8 Convertible - Rear
Via H And H

The XK8 had many improvements over the XJS. For starters, it had a curvaceous design that looked much better than the XJS. It also had more power, thanks to a 4.0-liter V8 producing 290 hp.

3/10 Chevrolet Impala SS (7th Generation) – $23,000

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
Via Mecum Auctions

The ‘Impala SS nameplate is one that struck fear in every gearhead’s heart back in the ’60s and ’70s, as it was among the fastest muscle cars back then. However, by the ’90s, the Impala SS had lost almost all its muscle car identity.

Black 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS on the driveway
via Mecum Auctions

Anyone who saw the seventh-gen Impala SS in the ’90s would have easily ignored it as it had a boring four-door sedan design. Thankfully, the Impala SS still had its muscle car identity under the hood, which is why it’s considered to be one of the coolest American sleeper cars.

2/10 Plymouth GTX – $26,000

1971 Plymouth GTX
Via Mecum

When asked to name a Plymouth muscle car, the first thing that comes to most gearheads’ minds is the Barracuda and the legendary Hemi’cuda it spawned. However, Plymouth did have other cool muscle cars in its lineup, and the GTX is one of them.

RELATED: Ranking The 10 Best Plymouth Cars Ever Made

1971 Plymouth Hemi GTX Sunroof
Via mecum.com

The GTX has everything. For starters, it has a proper engine – a 7.0-liter Hemi V8 cranking out 425 hp. The GTX was also among the most beautiful muscle cars of its day, particularly the 1971 version.

1/10 1978-1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – $23,000

Black 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM on the driveway
Via Mecum Auctions

In 1977, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am gained Hollywood fame when it was featured in Burt Reynolds‘ hit film Smokey and the Bandit. This role turned the 1977 Firebird Trans Am into an icon, which is why it’s so expensive at auctions today.

1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM
Via BringaTrailer

Thankfully, gearheads who want a similar Firebird Trans Am to the 1977 model year can get the 1978-1979 versions for less than half the 1977 model’s price. These have similar designs to the 1977 model with the famous screaming chicken hood and were the last to have big-block engines.