In the ’50s, American automakers started equipping intermediate-sized vehicles with large V8 engines, effectively creating the muscle car segment in the process. There’s a lot of debate regarding what model was the first muscle car – some say it’s the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, while others believe it’s the iconic Pontiac GTO. One thing that every gearhead agrees on, though, is that muscle cars have played a key role in the American auto industry.
Though muscle cars are typically considered to be American cars, their demand has inspired manufacturers from other countries to use the muscle car formula. As a result, we have many fantastic muscle cars built in other countries. Let’s explore ten of the best.
10 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
In the late ’70s, Aston Martin built what’s largely considered to be one of the greatest British classic cars ever – the V8 Vantage. The V8 Vantage was clearly inspired by American muscle cars, as it had a muscular design that reminded many of the first-generation Mustang and a roaring V8 under the hood.
The V8 Vantage was equipped with the same engine as the Lagonda, but with several upgrades to boost its power output to 390 hp. As a result, the V8 Vantage had a 0-60 of 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph.
9 Alfa Romeo Montreal
The Montreal debuted in 1967 as a concept car and instantly impressed many. For one, it had an awesome design, which is nothing short of what gearheads expect from the renowned Italian marque.
The most impressive bit about the Montreal was its engine. Although its 2.6-liter DOHC V8 was quite small, it redlined at 7,000rpm, which was very impressive in the ’60s. Unfortunately, the Montreal failed to break into the American market, forcing Alfa Romeo to discontinue it.
8 Vauxhall VXR8
The VXR8 is an awesome performance car sold by Vauxhall between 2007 and 2017. The VXR8 is based on the Holden HSV GTS and was built to replace the Vauxhall Omega and Vauxhall Monaro VXR.
While it’s based on an Australian car, the VXR8 uses American power. Early models were powered by a 411-hp GM-built 6.0-liter V8, but were later upgraded to a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 with 425 hp on tap.
7 Holden Monaro GTS 327
After Ford’s triumph at the 1967 Bathurst 1000, Australian automaker Holden was determined to build the car that would bring the famous trophy back home. As such, Holden engineers rolled up their sleeves and developed what’s considered to be Australia’s first proper muscle car – the Monaro GTS 327.
The Monaro GTS 327 featured a two-door body style with larger wheels than the regular Monaro, a sportier interior, a graphics package, and a Chevrolet-sourced V8 engine producing up to 250 ponies. The Monaro GTS was a huge success, as it won the 1968 Bathurst 1000.
6 Ford Falcon Cobra
We know what you’re thinking – what’s a Ford doing on this list? Well, while the Falcon Cobra is a Ford, it was built by Ford of Australia to compete in the Australian muscle car market.
Introduced in 1978, the Falcon Cobra has everything a muscle car fan could want. For one, it has a coke bottle design that makes it look like American muscle cars of the ’60s and a paint job inspired by Carroll Shelby’s Mustangs of the ’60s. The Falcon Cobra is also a ton of fun to drive, thanks to a mighty 5.8-liter V8.
5 Aston Martin Victor
The One-77 is one of the rarest Aston Martin models ever, with only 77 examples built. However, the guys at Aston Martin still felt that the One-77 wasn’t rare enough, so they built a one-off model based on it – the Victor.
The Victor was unveiled in 2020 and impressed everyone. It has a menacing design and the power to match, thanks to a Cosworth-tuned V12 generating 836 horses and 606 lb-ft of torque. We know that muscle cars typically have V8s, but the Victor’s muscular design coupled with the loud roar of its naturally aspirated V12 makes it feel like a muscle car.
4 Mercedes-AMG C63
Mercedes-Benz’s tuning division AMG knows a thing or two about taking a normal model and turning it into a beast. That’s exactly how the C63 came to be.
The C63 is based on the W205 C-Class, but has multiple upgrades that make it feel like a German muscle car. For starters, the C63 uses a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8, sending 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. It also has three-stage adaptive dampers, speed-sensitive variable steering, and high-performance brakes.
3 Jensen Interceptor
Jensen no longer exists today, but the British marque will always be remembered for building the Interceptor. There’s a lot to love about the Interceptor. For starters, the name. Few model names will ever be as cool as ‘The Interceptor’.
We also love its alluring design, particularly the rear end. However, what we love most about the Interceptor is the engine. Jensen equipped the Interceptor with a Chrysler-sourced 6.3-liter V8 engine cranking out 335 hp, making it super quick.
2 Opel Diplomat V8
You don’t hear much about Opel these days, but the marque was one of the biggest German automakers of the 20th century. Opel was known for building big executive cars suited for European business folk, one of which was the Diplomat.
The Diplomat was a great car, but it needed a little more power to compete with other German cars. As such, Opel wedged a 5.4-liter Chevrolet V8 engine under the Diplomat’s hood with 225 hp on tap, giving it great performance.
1 Mercedes-Benz 500E
In the early ’90s, Mercedes-Benz partnered with Porsche and built the ultimate German muscle car – the 500E. The 500E was based on the W124, but since Mercedes-Benz wanted it to use a V8 engine, they asked Porsche to modify the W124’s chassis so that it could accommodate the new engine.
Granted, the 500E doesn’t really have the typical American muscle car design elements, but the V8 under its hood makes it feel like one – it has a 5.0-liter V8 producing 322 horses and 354 lb-ft of torque.
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