What is the best engine you’ve ever experienced?


This question might sound a little familiar, as we discussed your worst engines in our last installment of According to You. And that’s where Hagerty Community member Bob Keith’scomment comes into play:

“Hey one more thing – excellent piece on the Worst Engines – NOW how about an article on the BEST Engines? I would love to read the final survey results for that!”

Me too, Bob!  So let’s do it. Your answers should not be regurgitated opinions from others, nor should they be from content consumed online or in a magazine. Only your experience with an engine can help forge such an enviable accolade.

To kick things off, I’ll share my candidate and give you all a sense of what we’re hoping to see in your answers.

Lotus/Mercury MarineChevrolet LT5 V-8


My experience driving a 1990 Corvette ZR-1 ensured that its 5.7-liter LT5 V-8 motor would become my runaway favorite engine. I got to enjoy it for just a few days as a college student, but that was all I needed. The C5 generation (1997–2004), LS1-equipped Corvette was already a couple of years old by the time I met the C4 generation (1984–96) ZR-1, but I couldn’t care less after tasting the sweet, sweet powerband of that LT5 motor. Between the 370 lb-ft of torque and 375 hp on tap and the wide powerband, the experience absolutely blew me away. (That little key on the dash that turns off half of the sixteen fuel injectors when someone else needs to drive it is worth a chuckle or two, as well.)

Then I drove a Lingenfelter stroker version of the LT5 that was bored out to 6.8 liters and made 668 horsepower—the brain-melting commenced for a second time. The big boy Lingenfelter has all the torque of a big block muscle car with the powerband of a VTEC Honda. You simply cannot understate the magnificence, especially when you open the hood and see Lingenfelter’s signature siamesed intake resting atop those massive double-overhead camshaft heads.

Lingenfelter “415” stroker LT-5 Sajeev Mehta

The ZR-1 was a tour de force when new, but it’s just as impressive nowadays and still shockingly underappreciated in today’s red-hot collector car market. While it’s a bit complex on the induction side of things, the motors are shockingly reliable and quite trustworthy. Why people don’t lust after this vehicle is beyond me, but the LT5 is clearly the best engine I’ve ever experienced.

And with that, I leave it to you, Hagerty Community:

What is the best engine you’ve ever experienced?

Jump in with your experiences in the comments below.

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    Worthy candidates all! 👏👏👏

    But I reserve my love for the AMC sux cylinder, either the 232 or 258.

    Drove mine 175K miles, until both doors rusted off my Gremlin. My brother pulled the drivetrain and drove it another 100K…until the doors rusted off his Hornet 🤣🤣🤣

    The GM 3.8L Supercharged V6. Had those in my properly modified Pontiac Grand Prix 2001 and 2005 GTPs. Indestructable!!

    Why is there no mention of the Alfa Romeo 2.5 aluminum V-6 from the late 1970’s-80’s. This engine in my 1984 GTV-6 was the most silky smooth, high revving motor I ever experienced. The 3.0 version in the Alfa Milano Verde was one of the best engines Alfa ever made.

    5.9 Dodge Cummins Diesel !! Still operating as a daily driver. Pulled my 50 foot fifth wheel to Whitehorse, Yukon and back this past year 2022.
    This engine keeps on giving. Fuel mileage is the best. I can compare this dodge to my 2002 Mini Cooper S which has a beginning 1.6 Chrysler block with a blower. Both engines and vehicles are running as daily drivers.

    The venerable Mopar 4 liter straight six was/is a magnificent engine.
    If it was a dog it would be a Labrador Retriever.
    Willing, loyal, and hard working.
    I had one of each in my 1996 Jeep Cherokee XJ.
    The engine would pull from low RPM willingly.
    Perfect for four wheel driving.
    The 4 liter was even better when compared to it’s successor, the miserable 3.8 in my JK.
    It had the power of a Prius and the economy of a Hemi.
    Too bad the JK didn’t have the 4 liter.
    I loved that motor.

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