Ginetta G33

14 V8 Sports Cars Everyone Forgot About

The V8 engine may be the most famous. It’s been in everything from supercars to muscle cars, pickup trucks, and even family cars.

Among the vast automotive landscape, sports cars stand tall, and the V8 engine is their crown jewel. Yet, even in this exclusive segment, some V8 sports cars manage to maintain an air of mystery, slipping through the net of our attention.

This list will detail some V8 sports cars that we often forget about, reminding us why these particular cars were so great, even if they sometimes slipped our minds!

Jensen Interceptor

1974 Jensen Interceptor III USA Model
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

It is often and easily forgotten that the iconic Jensen Interceptor is a V8-powered monster. Jensen took the mighty LA small block V8 from Chrysler and decided it was the engine their new sports car needed.

The Interceptor could produce up to 330 hp thanks to the 440 ci engine in just 232 units, called the Jensen SP. Jensen also used the simple C-V8 chassis, allowing the sports car to handle superbly. At a time when it needed a sales increase, the Interceptor provided Jensen with the financial boost it so badly craved. Nowadays, the Interceptor is beginning to gain an appreciation for the V8 classic it is.

Pontiac Grand Prix GXP

Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Pontiac faced a tough time in the mid-2000s, yet despite some of the brand’s awfulness, some good cars did slip through. One of those was the V8-powered Grand Prix GXP.

The GPX debuted in 2005, and it used the LS4 5.3-liter Displacement on Demand V8. This was the trademarked name GM used for its active fuel management, which helped to increase mileage. Based on the LS1 block, the LS4 V8 produced 303 hp and 323 lb-ft of torque under the hood of the GXP. The top speed was impressive at 143 mph, while 0-60 mph was in just 5.7 seconds.

Holden Monaro

Vauxhall/Holden Monaro Mk1
Image Credit: Pinterest.

The Holden Monaro is a reminder that Australia could produce a fine car. One that packed a massive V8 under the hood, creating a fully-fledged Australian muscle car that was the Pontiac GTO in America.

The third generation is the definitive iteration of the muscle car. Under the hood, the Monaro packed a 5.7-liter GMS LS1/LS2 V8 engine capable of producing up to 349 hp in VZ Series form. The Monaro was a muscle car at its finest, with raw, rear-wheel drive V8 performance and the ability to perform heroic powerslides. Holden would go on to produce the HSV Coupe, a higher-performance version from olden Special Vehicles that could make up to 402 hp with the Callaway C4B V8 under the hood.

Spyker C8 SWB

1st-Gen Spyker C8
Image Credit: Mr.choppers/WikiCommons.

Spyker is a name we hear very little of now, yet the small company did produce a handful of exceptional sports cars. The C8 SWB is undoubtedly the best, partially helped by its mid-mounted 4.2-liter Audi V8 that produces 400 hp. 

The C8 SWB also has an incredible design, with hints of vintage sports cars mixed in with modern supercars that fuse to create a wild and whacky-looking machine. Inside, it gets better, thanks to the 1930s-style aviation interior. We might forget about it, but the Spyker C8 is one of the best sports cars ever to have a V8 under the hood.

Alfa Romeo Montreal

1970-1977 Alfa Romeo Montreal
Image Credit: el.guy08_11/Flickr.

The Alfa Romeo Montreal had the underpinnings and chassis of the 105 Series and took the engine from the stunning 33 Stradale. This meant Montreal had a 2.6-liter V8 under the hood, producing 200 hp, slightly lower than the Stradale’s 230 hp.

That didn’t stop the Montreal from being excellent, however. A cross-plane crank ensured that the V8 engine produced some excellent burble and grunts, and the more significant displacement and new cam profiles meant the Montreal produced more torque as well. The Montreal was very light at just 2,800 lbs, and like the 33 Stradale, it was a stunning-looking sports car.

Ginetta G33

Ginetta G33
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Ginetta Cars has been around since 1958, yet it’s a company that flies under the radar. They are most famous for producing racing cars and play a big part in the careers of up-and-coming drivers. However, sports cars, such as the striking G33, are also in their DNA.

Under the hood is a 3.9-liter Rover V8, and Ginetta launched the G33 in 1990 and took inspiration from its predecessor, the G27. The Rober V8 produced 202 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque, which provided all the performance needed thanks to how light the British sports car was. All in all, the G33 weighs just 1,874 lbs, a figure that would make many modern ‘lightweight’ sports cars blush.

BMW Z8

BMW Z8 Alpina
Image Credit: Thesupermat/WikiCommons.

BMW developed the Z8 as an homage to the iconic 507 of the 1950s. This followed the Z07 concept car, unveiled in 1997. However, the sheer performance and prowess of the retro-styled Z8 led me to believe it was closer to a GT car than a sports car.

But that shouldn’t detract from how good the Z8 is. Under the hood is the mighty 4.9-liter V8 engine from the E39 M5 saloon, producing 395 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to its location behind the front axle, the Z8 has perfect 50/50 weight distribution and a 0-62 mph time of just 4.7 seconds. The Z8 was electronically limited to a top speed of 155.4 mph, but it could reach 180 mph without the limiter.

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Including a Jaguar on a list of forgotten sports cars seems weird. Yet, it is easy to overlook how good some of its late 1990s and early 2000s offerings were. The XK8 is a perfect example of this, launching in 1996 to replace the aging XJS.

Jaguar kept things simple by shoving a massive 4.0-liter V8 under the hood. Jaguar attracted a larger audience to the XK8 thanks to the addition of the convertible alongside the regular coupe. In 2002, Jaguar upgraded the XK8s engine to the AJ-34 4.2-liter V8. This produced 294 hp and 303 lb-ft of torque. 

Maserati Shamal

Maserati Shamal
Image Credit: WIkiCommons.

Despite being an Italian icon, Maserati has had a chequered past with some of its products. The less said about the Biturbo, the better. However, in the 1990s, Shamal was a big hit thanks to its large V8 engine.

Under the hood is an AM 479 3.2-liter V8 that became a big hit after the Shamal launched in 1990. The AM 479 V8 produced 322 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque, propelling the Shamal to a top speed of 168 mph. Maserati designed the Shamal in collaboration with legendary designer Marcello Gandini, and it featured a few innovations, such as its front spoiler in front of the windshield.

Aston Martin V550 Vantage

Aston Martin Vantage V550
Image Credit: WIkiCommons.

Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage is one of the best cars in the British manufacturer’s history. Yet a forgotten iteration of the Vantage is the V550. It marked a giant leap from its predecessor, the Virage coupe, and it had some of the most aggressive styling of any Aston Martin up to that point.

Beneath that wild exterior lurked the heart of a roaring lion. Aston Martin gave the V550 a giant twin-supercharged V8 with 550 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. As you would expect, performance figures were impressive. The V550 had a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.

Aston Martin Virage Coupe

Aston Martin Virage Coupe
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The predecessor to the V550 Vantage, the Virage Coupe, is another Aston Martin that is sometimes sadly forgotten. When it launched in the late 1980s, it was the first genuinely new Aston Martin in 20 years, and Aston Martin based the Virage on a modified Lagonda chassis.

Aston Martin updated the V8 with new fuel injection, four valves per cylinder, and engine catalyzing. The 5.3-liter V8 was available in all markets, producing 330 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, even in the United States. The Virage was a striking-looking sports car that showed the world Aston Martin could still produce a real winner. The Virage name would reappear briefly in 2012; however, this new Virage coupe owed nothing to the original and instead had a V12 under the hood.

Wiesmann GT MF5

Wiesmann GT MF5
Image Credit: Richard de Heus/Flickr.

We don’t blame you if you have never heard of the Wiesmann GT MF5. Yet this remarkable sports car was a real winner when launched at the 20908 Geneva Motorshow, and the small company would go on to produce just 200 units of the vehicle.

Thanks to the aluminum monocoque chassis and fiberglass body, the GT MF5 was incredibly light. It also had a sleek design that was very pleasing to the eye. Crucially, it had enormous V8 power under the hood. The 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged BMW S63B44O0 V8 produced 555 hp and 501.5 lb-ft of torque. A top speed of 193 mph and a 0-62 mph time of just 3.9 seconds spoke for itself.

Lexus SC-430

Lexus SC-430
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

We associate Lexus more with luxury than performance, but they are no strangers to big V8s and sports cars. First appearing in 2001, the SC-430 was the successor to the SC 400 and SC 300 and was the perfect combination of a grand tourer and sports car, with a very classy design and the option of a folding roof.

The rear-wheel-drive coupe had a hefty 4.3-liter V8 under the hood, producing 288 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. There was plenty of power in a car with luxury and comfort at its heart. It was still good enough to propel the SC-430 to a top speed of 155 mph and from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds.

1998 AC Brooklands Ace

1998 AC Brooklands Ace
Image Credit: Flickr.

It can easily slip the mind that the AC name was suddenly revived in the 1990s as the new AC Ace. Hoping to emulate the brand’s success from the 1950s, sadly, few buyers took an interest by the time the car went on sale in the 1990s. 

AC Cars produced the new AC Ace in limited numbers, with just 58 leaving the factory before production ceased in 2000. Under the hood, it had a range of V8s, including the 4.9-liter Ford V8, the 4.6-liter Ford V8, and the 3.5-liter Lotus V8. The largest of the trio produced 225 hp. The AC Ace couldn’t compete with the likes of the Aston Martin DB7, which was also available and at a similar price to the new British sports car.

Henry Kelsall

Author: Henry Kelsall

Title: Writer

Bio:

Henry has freelanced for over eight years now, mostly in automotive matters, but he has also dabbled in other forms of writing too. He has a lot of love for Japanese classics and American muscle cars, in particular the Honda NSX and first-generation Ford Mustang. When not writing, Henry is often found at classic car events or watching motorsports at home, but he also has a curious passion for steam trains.

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