Question of the Week: What’s the best car for burnouts?

Many people tell me that doing a burnout anywhere other than the narrow strip of concrete between a dragstrip’s water box and starting line is a totally gratuitous. They’re right, but in that moment of rubber-melting glory I just forget what the word “gratuitous” means. Oops.

Photo Brandan Gillogly/Hagerty

It’s true, lots of street tires just get greasy when you get too eager with the throttle, but today’s drag radials like a little heat in them. They need more than just a quick chirp to get ready. So when you’re racing it’s really just part of the job. Besides that, lighting up the tires in a smoky wail of machinery is fun!

So, assuming your fully sanctioned burnout box of choice is available, what car would you choose to light them up? Do you want a high-winding rotary, a forbidden race car, or the easy torque of big-block muscle? Assuming you didn’t have to worry about the tire bill, tell us your top pick for the ultimate burnout machine.

I would choose the Dodge Challenger Demon. I drive a standard Challenger as my everyday car, and really like it. In the 60’s I had a Roadrunner 440, and used to “light 'em up” on a regular basis. Before that, a Plymouth Sport Fury with a built LA series motor. Same thing. That is where it started. When I got into sports cars, that type of behavior had to end.

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That would be my choice too. If melting rubber is your desire nothing like 840 HP to do it.

Any of the late 1960 to early 1970 muscle cars, Chevy, Ford, Mopar or Chrysler, all were heavy hitters in the burnout department. But the best would have to be the Chevy SS LS6 454 Chevelle…

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1973 Rivera . . . . .My son had a close friend in high school who had one. . . . . It would boil the tires

What car would you choose to light them up? Traditionally, most people choose a rental, or friend’s car :wink:


Im going to go WAY off the board here, but mid-2000s minivans. most had large, torquey V-6 engines, full defeatable traction control, and manual parking brakes.


My 300 hp 1969 Camaro SS with 3.08s and peg leg. I bought the car because it would do amazing burnouts on the F78-14 tires, all the way through 4th gear. No brakes needed, just drop the clutch and watch the speedo climb while you sit still. I was buying new tires anyway.
I’ve since fixed that with a 9” with posi and 295 Nitto sticky rear tires.

Best car to do a burnout? Someone elses!

I don’t understand the obsession in beating the crap out of a vehicle like that. Sure, it was fun when I was 16 (until my dad noticed the tires on his cars), but now I just cringe at the straight-up seemingly pointless abuse.

I have a 590 hp C-10 farm truck and a C5 vette, both of which are ready, willing and able to smoke them (especially the truck, that is all it wants to do), but I just can’t do it.


My High School sleeper. A 1977 LTD II with a 400m, Mild cam, ported 2v heads. That car would boil both tires for as long as you wanted it to unless I had the Race Masters on it. Then one good smoky burnout and nothing but hook. It would lay a better patch than my 69 440 Sport Satellite and my '79 Camaro with a 340 horse 327 if it had street tires on it.

Burnouts, yeah fun with someone else’s car. Useful at the 1/4 track.

Otherwise makes about as much sense as drifting…haha


If someone is paying for tires…I choose what is in my garage. 2015 Z28 Camaro that has been to Hennessey Performance for a bump in HP, up to 650. With the widest tires on a production car at the time (305/30/ZR19) they leave quite an impressive set of black marks.

I choose a pickup. Any pickup really. I think they just look flat-out cool with tire smoke filling the bed which billows out as you drive away.

My choice? The 1990 Chevy Silverado 454SS, that truck has the power, has the positraction and has a very light weighted bottom that makes it perfect for burn outs. With that truck I used to steal the show!


1973 Lincoln Mark IV with a built 460, posi traction 9in with 4:10 gears. Bias ply town&country snow tires, smoked till the cords are hanging out.

My experience started with a 1969 Chevy Camaro RS/SS which then lead to my 1971 Chevy Corvette LS6 454 425hp.Now a days would have to lean towards the Demon as well.

So I see some people talking about abuse, tire cost, etc. Can you HONESTLY say that your inner teenager doesn’t occasionally get the better of you. Not necessarily enough to ruin your tires or to have to clean all the rubber from your lower quarter. But maybe enough to actually want to crack your Goodyear’s loose just a little.

I have nowhere near 600 ponies in my ‘68 Cougar. The laws of physics have made sure of that with my 289. But still, occasionally I like to let her out when nobody’s looking. It’s part of the fun of owning a pony/muscle car.

1967 Vette 427, 3x2’s 4spd all the way into 4th gear.
2014 CTS-V 556hp…6 auto shifted into 2nd still smokin’ when I shut it down.
I still have both of these awesome cars.

I bought a 1986 Grand National off the showroom floor. With add ons, Ice water intercooler and bolt ons, suspension enhancement and upgraded turbo I was running mid 11’s but could not go under 11.5 without a roll bar. Burn outs were to heat the slicks but were a good smoke show.! Put down a measured slab one time of 700 odd feet and got out of it. With regular tires and setting my line lock I would likely melt them to blowout.
The 60 to 70 Muscle cars were great for burnouts too. The Demon and Hellcat are nice fast cars and would be great for burnouts

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