During the golden era of the America luxury car there were a wide array of different luxury car V8 engines available. Generally an engine that produced an abundance of low end torque was what luxury car customers wanted and a large displacement V8 was the key to keeping these customers happy. As American luxury cars got heavier and grew larger in size during the 1960s and 1970s, this fueled ever increasing V8 displacement sizes. Unfortunately this would not last long, by the 1980s these large displacement engines along with the golden era were gone forever. Here’s a list of the five favorite Golden Era Luxury car V8 engines available in the U.S.
1966-1978 Chrysler 440 V8
It can never be overstated how absolutely necessary the Chrysler Corporation’s full-size 440 cubic-inch big-block V8 engine was to its different car brands during the late-1960s and throughout the 1970s especially its luxury cars. Though there were higher performance versions of the 440 in the Chrysler Corporation’s different muscle cars from this era, the tons of low end torque of the regular 440 provided smooth and effortless acceleration in its Chrysler and Imperial brand luxury cars and kept many buyers happy. The 440 debuted for the 1966 model year, producing 350 gross-horsepower and an impressive 480 lb-ft of torque when found in the Chrysler Corporation’s luxury cars that year. By 1978 it’s last model year, the 440 still was beating most of its competition by producing 185-195 horsepower and a very good 310-320 lb-ft of torque when propelling some of Chrysler’s 1978 model year luxury cars.
1975-1981 Mercedes 417 V8
Though Mercedes was a German automaker it made the perfect V8 engine for its day for the American luxury car buyer. For 1975, Mercedes released an additional version of its popular M100 V8 engine which displaced 417 cubic-inches or 6.8 liters of displacement. Mercedes called it the “6.9 liter V8” and it was a durable and reliable SOHC V8. It had a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system and produced 250 horsepower and a very impressive 360 lb-ft of torque in the U.S. market. This engine was such a great luxury car engine because it provided fantastic low-end torque along with great performance. It made Mercedes a genuine world class luxury car brand when it powered the 1975-1981 450SEL 6.9. Not to mention the 450 SEL 6.9 which weighed in at a heavy 4,400-lbs went 0-60 mph in a very fast for its day 7.1 seconds.
1968-1978 Ford 460 V8
Ford’s best luxury car V8 of the golden era was its largest displacement version of the 385-series big-block V8, the 460 cubic-inch V8. It began its production life towards the end of the 1968 model year powering Lincoln’s car lineup where it produced 365 gross-horsepower and a superb 485 lb-ft of torque. Even during it’s last year as a Lincoln engine option, 1978, it managed to produce 210 horsepower and a great for its day 367 lb-ft of torque. The 460 V8 propelled the biggest Lincolns, Mercurys, and Fords of the 1970s. It proved to be the perfect engine for Ford’s luxuriousThunderbird and Lincoln’s larger models which increased in weight during the 1970s. The 460 V8 provided great low-end torque and ultra smooth acceleration.
1968-1976 Oldsmobile 455 V8
Starting in 1968, Oldsmobile released its Rocket 455 cubic-inch V8, that powered Oldsmobile’s luxury cars for 9 model years. For the 1968 model year the 455 produced 320-400 gross-horsepower and an very incredible 500-510 lb-ft of torque. For its last model year, 1976, the Oldsmobile 455’s power output still remained very good for the times producing 190-215 horsepower and 350-370 lb-ft of torque. One of the reasons why Oldsmobile during the late-1960s and 1970s made the transition from a regular car brand to a solid luxury car brand was the popularity of its Rocket 455 V8. It was the perfect luxury car engine especially for the Oldsmobile 98 and Toronado.
1970-1976 Cadillac 500 V8
Cadillac in its 1970 Eldorado debuted the ultimate large-displacement V8, the 500 cubic-inch V8 which had 8.2 liters in engine displacement. It produced an amazing 400 gross-horsepower and an almost impossible for its day 550 lb-ft of torque. The Cadillac 500 V8 was the largest displacement production V8 ever produced and the ultimate luxury car V8. It didn’t matter how heavy Cadillac’s largest sized cars weighed in the 1970s, the 500 V8 always had more than enough torque to move these ocean-liner sized Cadillacs effortlessly. For 1976, its last model year the 500 V8 was still the best luxury car engine in its class with power output ratings of 215 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque for the electronic fuel injected version. Also available at that time was a lower output carbureted version of the 500 V8 which produced a respectable 190 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque.
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