When it comes to cars, the look is important, but the right sound can stop anyone in their tracks.
Number of valves, camshaft overlap, that iron-lung of a supercharger sitting on top—it all factors into how a car sounds. Changing out just a few items can alter the character of an engines sounds significantly, but it’s up to you what sound you want to dial in.
What some consider noise is glorious noise to others, so it’s a fine line. Just hearing a high-lift camshaft in a big-block Chevrolet will fill a drag racers mind with images of a muscle cars staging on the drag strip. Similarly, the shriek of a small-displacement V-12 as it approaches redline will conjure daydreams of Rosso Corsa-painted coupes on the Mulsanne Straight for those who prefer Italian steeds.
One example of unique sound- the Hagerty Redline Rebuild Hemi (Photo- Hagerty/Ben Woodworth)
With all the variety in engine displacements and layouts, there’s equal variation in intake and exhaust sound from one engine to the other. A keen ear can identify an engine on sound alone, but you know your favorite when your hear it. (The clatter of an air-cooled motor is a siren song for VW and Porsche’s faithful.)
Tell us below what engine makes the best noises, so we can settle this once and for all and finally stop making engine sounds at each other with our mouths.