The V8 engine is one of the automotive industry’s greatest inventions. Few things can give a gearbox more joy than hearing the glorious roar of eight cylinders firing harmoniously when they put their foot on the throttle. With increasing pressure from eco-warriors, the V8 engine is becoming harder to find in new cars as manufacturers switch to smaller motors and then use forced induction and electric motors to supplement their power needs.
That’s why now is a great time to buy a V8-powered car so you can enjoy the experience while you still can. Fortunately, there are many cheap V8 car options in the used car market. Here are some of the best.
10/10 2007-2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – $31,000
When Ford introduced the legendary Mustang in the mid-’60s, it wasn’t long before the famous Carroll Shelby started working its magic on it. Shelby first built the Mustang GT350 in 1965 and introduced the larger GT500 to the lineup in 1967. The Shelby GT500 was such a hit that it is still in production to this day.
If you want an affordable Shelby GT500, you’ll have to settle for the 2007-2009 version. Features include a 5.4-litre V8 with supercharger and intercooler that powers 500 ponies, a six-speed manual transmission, an extensive body kit and 18-inch wheels.
9/10 Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 – $25,000
Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for building advanced cars with some of the most advanced technologies. One car that helped Mercedes-Benz cement this reputation in the 1990s was the R129 generation of the popular SL-Class.
The R129 debuted in 1989 and has been widely acclaimed for its revolutionary technologies such as the first-ever seat-integrated seat belts, an auto-retracting roll bar and electronically controlled damping. There were multiple engine options for the R129, including a V6, V8, and V12.
8/10 Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06 – $26,000
The fifth generation Corvette debuted in 1997 with several changes, including a new hydroformed box frame, improved suspension system and new engines. Another big change was that, instead of the ZR-1, gearboxes got the Z06 as the high-performance version of the C5 Corvette.
The Z06 was equipped with a tuned version of the C5’s LS1 V8, which produced 385 horsepower in the early models and 405 horsepower in the post-2002 models.
7/10 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning – $22,000
Ford has used the name ‘Lightning’ several times over the years, most recently in the new electric version of the F-150. However, we prefer the old SVT Lightning as it is still one of the coolest pickup trucks ever.
The SVT Lightning made its debut in the 1990s and was produced over two generations. Thanks to a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 that developed 380 ponies and 450 lb-ft of torque, the SVT Lightning was faster than most pickup trucks built before it.
6/10 2004 Pontiac GTO – $19,000
Gearheads are always asking automakers to revive certain models. Sometimes revivals are successful, a prime example is the modern Dodge Challenger. However, the same cannot be said of the 2004 Pontiac GTO.
Pontiac made a huge mistake when reviving the GTO. Rather than designing a new modern muscle car from the ground up, they essentially renamed the Holden Monaro coupe in the hopes the gearboxes would never notice. This move failed miserably because most gearboxes hated the GTO, which is why they are cheap today despite having over 400 horsepower.
5/10 Cadillac CTS-V – $30,000
The CTS was a huge hit when it debuted in the early 2000s, thanks in large part to its looks and luxurious feel. However, it was still too slow to compete with its European rivals. So Cadillac went back to the drawing board and developed a much faster version – the CTS-V.
Cadillac equipped the CTS-V with the same 400 horsepower V8 as the aforementioned Corvette C5 Z06, making it one of the fastest American cars of the day. The CTS-V remained in production for over a decade, which is why some units are still affordable today.
4/10 Mercedes-Benz 500E – $23,000
Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are two of the largest car manufacturers, not only in Germany, but all over the world. So when they collaborated on the 500E project in the ’90s, everyone was excited to see what would come out of it.
Mercedes-Benz wanted to build a faster version of the E-Class, so they asked for help from Porsche. It was Porsche’s job to adapt the E-Class of the time to fit a 5.0-litre V8 engine, and they did it perfectly. The resulting 500E had 322 horsepower to play with, which is why gearboxes love it so far. Although only 10,479 were made, the 500E still sells for under $30,000 at auctions.
3/10 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 – $25,000
The Challenger is undoubtedly one of the most iconic muscle car models, which is why gearboxes have been begging Dodge for decades to revive it. Dodge finally agreed and in 2008 we finally got a new Challenger generation.
The new Challenger was an instant hit, thanks in large part to its muscular design. It is definitely one of the best modern versions of old designs. Gearheads also loved its raw V8 power, especially the one with the crazy SRT8 version.
2/10 Jaguar XK8 – $20,000
The first generation XK was an important car for Jaguar when it debuted in the 1990s. Jaguar wanted the XK to be a lot more successful than the XJS that preceded it, so they based it on the Aston Martin DB7 platform and equipped it with its new AJ-V8 engine.
The XK8 was a success for Jaguar, loved for its beautiful looks and the fact that it was the first Jaguar with a V8 since the 1960s.
1/10 BMW 5 Series (F10) – $25,000
The BMW 5 Series has always been one of the most popular German luxury cars. However, the F10 generation was even more special, as it is the most successful generation of the 5 Series after selling more than 2 million units.
There’s a lot to love about the F10, starting with its stylish design and ultra-luxurious interior. The F10 is also a proven performer regardless of engine options. However, buyers who opted for the twin-turbo V8 got the best deal, as it had over 400 horsepower to play with.