« Saturday Caravan | Main | If you ever disliked the Scorpion / Beta Monte Carlo »

Automobiliac's top 10 racing engine sounds

For no reason, I decided to list my top 10 favorite racing engines.  These are my personal favorites. Please feel free to share your own in the comment thread!

1) Matra V-12: Sounds like the wrath of the gods.

2) Aston Martin Straight Six: Smooth, with a wonderful guttural undertone.

3) Alfa Romeo Jano Supercharged Inline 8: The closest man has come to making a machine that sounds like a living, breathing thing.

4) The Colombo Ferrari V12: Needs no introduction

 5) Mercedes V-12: Defined the era.

6) BRM V-16: Ill fated car, sounds like raw aggression.

7) Offenhauser Indy Roadsters: Spine-tingling and brutal.

8) Can Am V8s, Ford and Chevy: Iron fist of America, hell yeah.

9) Group B Rally cars: Hard to pick a favorite, but the Audi Inline 5 Turbo is probably the most unique and memorable.

10) Ferrari 412 F1: The last of the V-12 Ferrari F1 engines.


References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Musings about cars, design, history and culture - Automobiliac - Automobiliac's top 10 racing engine sounds
  • Response
    Musings about cars, design, history and culture - Automobiliac - Automobiliac's top 10 racing engine sounds

Reader Comments (8)

Of course I'm biased, but one of my favorites, and I believe it can still count as a "racing engine," is the Nissan/Datsun L-Series:


It's an amazingly muscular sound for such a small engine, IMO.

Another great repository of engine sounds is the Ralph Lauren Collection site:


The Ferrari GTO sound, as above, is especially spine-tingling.
February 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSpannerhead
Hard to argue against anything on the list. I'd add the Porsche 911, air-cooled, non-turbo. Which sounds a lot like the DRB1 straight six, come to think of it...

February 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPilote Ancien
Oh... and the Porsche 917 flat-12. This video runs 6:20. Long warm-up period, so, after start-up, advance the video to 5:00 for the revs.

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPilote Ancien
too many to list...but the one that stands out to me is the 787B

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex B.
Thank you for this selection, 10 amazing sounds... It would be interesting to make a selection with the road car ...
February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWoody 7
This is the video of the alfa you should have used
February 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter061063063067
The Ferrari F1 car sounds like an amplified swarm of mosquitos - horrible. I like the gutsy sound of the Aston and the sweet sound of the BRM best.
March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Stewart
Everyone always forgets the American equivalent of the BRM V16, the Novi V8. Designed by Leo Goossen and Bud Winfield, it was a .2.7 liter, quad cam uniit with a Paxton-McCulloch centrifugul supercharger making 450 hp...in 1935. For the next 3 decades, carbuilders at Indy would try to match it to every variety of drive train (FWD, RWD and AWD) while increasing the Novi's power without success. The Novi chewed up driveshafts and differentials like a mechanical Tasmanian Devil, and the peaky way in which it delivered maximum power made it tricky to drive. In its final appearance at the Brickyard, in 1966, Andy Granatelli had the Novi developing more that 800 hp. While it never won a race in which it was entered, race fans of that era will never forget the mighty Novi.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Scroggs

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.