Eight baby V-8s that show displacement isn’t everything


From the 1950s through the 1970s, “V-8” became synonymous with “big engine” in America, with 400+ cubic-inch displacements as common as flies. But not all V-8s are giants. Just ask Gary Conley, whose company, Conley Precision Engines, builds the Stinger 609 V-8. That’s for 6.09 cu. in., or just 100cc of cylinder displacement. The Stinger weighs 11 pounds and makes 5.5 hp, or 9.5 hp for the supercharged version.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/09/04/eight-baby-v8s-that-show-displacement-isnt-everything


Here’s a couple from the motorcycle world. In the 50’s Moto Guzzi built a fabulous 500cc V8 GP race bike. Much later, Italian race bike builder made a few street motorcycles with 800cc V8 motors. Barber Motorsports Museum has examples of each.

nd of course, there are myriad small racing V8 motors from sucha as Coventry Climax, Cosworth Repco, BRM, and may others.


I had custody of a Daimler SP250 for about six months; the engine was truly the best part, though the un-servo’d 4-wheel disk brakes were pretty wonderful, too. For someone used to driving 850 Minis and Hillman Huskys, the available power was pretty amazing. When the guy whose name was actually on the paperwork (long story) asked me to try to sell it, I placed an ad. Got one phone call from a guy who said, “Now, this is that British fiberglass thing, right? The one that’s really beautiful but won’t go for ****?” Yes, he loved it only for its looks, and wanted to drop in a Chevy V8!

Aside from the occasionally dreadful handling, it was a good car to live with, and a lovely distance cruiser. Word was that Iskenderian’s cam for it, all by itself, would give an extra 25 hp, though I never would have seen the need.


A few things. The original Ferrari 2.9 made 255 hp before being emasculated. Also, It is probably wrong to omit the Alfa T33-derived 2.6 liter V8 that powered the Montreal. I believe it made 240 hp, but it could have been 225 or so. One of the very best small V8’s ever.


As a Sixth Former in Prep School, the thing I remember most aurally from that year was the exhaust burble of the Headmaster’s 1963, red, SP 250. It would stop me in my tracks, just to listen. Now of course, all those up-turned, tuned exhaust systems have long since rusted, so I can safely pass by an SP250 without asking the owner to fire it up.

The only other time I experienced such an ear-stopping moment was waiting to hear my biking buddy fire up his 89 Moto Guzzi 1000 LeMans. I eventually bought a 90 Guzzi 1000 SP III sport tourer, which was also nice, but not quite the staccato-boom of the LeMans.

Also agree with the rap on the original SHO; considered one after wrecking my 87 BMW 535iS, but went with another BMW 540.


How about the alfa romeo Montreal with the 2.6 liter 4 can v8 200 hp. Mated to a rear mounted transaxle. Also the pegaso z 102 with a desmodromic valve v8 that was 2.4 liter and 140 hp and finally the 2 liter Lamborghini urraco v8.


like it so much I have two!