Back in the day the Europeans relied on American V8 power for some of their low volume sports cars. These engines were then shoehorned into exotics and the results were epic. Here are our 7 European cars with American V8 Power

Bizzarrini 5300 Gt Strada

bizzarrini5300gtstrada1The 5300 GT stems from a long and complicated relationship between Bizzarrini, Giugiaro at Bertone and Renzo Rivolta. These three worked together to create the Iso Rivolta 300, a flagship car for Iso, having a welded sheet steel monocoque and Corvette V8.
Power was an impressive 400 hp @ 6,000 rpm from the 5.3 liter V8. Top speed was 145mph and 0-60 was done in 6.3 seconds, pretty quick for 1966.

Iso Rivolta Grifo

iso-rivolta-grifo-6-1024x749Bertone-built the Bizzarrini’s sister car the Iso Rivolta Grifo in the same elegant way. The mechanical layout was a conventional front-engine and rear-wheel drive and the V8 sat behind the front axle for better weight distribution. Power came from a Chevrolet 327 cubic inch (5.4 liters) small-block V8 tuned to produce a claimed 365 hp. Transmission was either a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic, again American sourced.  A top speed of 161 mph was recorded in its 1966 road test.

Jensen Interceptor


Jensen used Chrysler V8 engines for the Interceptor, starting with the 6276 cc (383 c.i.) with manual or TorqueFlite automatic transmissions driving the rear wheels through a limited slip differential. The  6.3 liter engine produced 335 hp but owing to its 4,034 lb curb weight could only muster 0-60 in 7.7 seconds. It was primarily a GT car and if you have one today, a small firm in the UK will fit a Corvette engine in it for you.

De Tomaso Mangusta

De-Tomaso-MangustaThe Mangusta was came from Alejandro DeTomaso’s Vallelunga, built from  1964 until 1968. It used a Lotus-type chassis and the idea was to put put an American V-8 in it. The first cars had a Ford 289, which was soon replaced with a 302 with 250 hp. All U.S. spec cars had this motor. Independent suspension all round and Girling brakes were pretty exotic ingredients in 1966. Performance was pretty good for the time with a 0-60 time of 7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

AC Cobra

Shelby_AC_427_Cobra_vl_blue (1)AC is a British specialist automobile manufacturer and one of the oldest independent car makers founded in Britain.  American automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to AC asking if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine and the iconic AC Cobra was born.

The massive 7000 cc (427.1 ci) engine reached its peak power of 410 hp @ 6000 rpm and peak torque of 482 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm.  All this strapped to a car weighing only 2,528 lbs. A 5 speed manual only transmission helped the car reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 165.5 mph.

Bristol Type 603S

Bristol_603_ca_1984The 603S had a 5.9 litre engine, from Chrysler that could go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, while 603’s economic version featured a 5.2L engine and only managed 10.9 seconds on the 0-60 mph sprint. Electric seats and air conditioning came as standard features on this new luxury saloon. The 603 received a slight update a year later (S2), featuring redesigned exhaust grille and revised lamps.

Ultima Evolution

ultima evolutionThe British manufacturer Ultimate uses a  sleek body with a canopy-like cockpit, a spartan race-spec interior, and a V-8 engine in available in various states of tune.It weighs a mere 2,094 lbs and is fitted with a Chevy-sourced, 6.8-liter V-8 that cranks out a whopping 1,020 horsepower.
Performance is nothing short of sensational, 60 mph comes up in 2.3 seconds, 100 mph in 4.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 240 mph.

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