While sleek, flowing bodywork gets plenty of attention, racers know it’s mostly there to keep the engine dry. OK, OK, aerodynamics and downforce are important, but the bottom line is that engines are a huge part of a car’s character. It provides the soundtrack to racing and, even more important, powers the cars we love through the corners and on to the checkered flag. We prowled the Amelia Island Concours looking for popped hoods to highlight some of the best-looking engines. Starting with the four-cylinder and ending with 16, here are some of our favorite motors we spotted at Amelia.
Powering this Watson Indy roadster to Indy 500 victory in 1960, this Offenhauser engine was set off to the left rather than the traditional mounting that canted them over. It allowed for more weight bias to the left side of the car – inboard on a counterclockwise oval track – and easier maintenance as well.
This mechanically fuel-injected Cologne V-6 is mounted in a Ford Capri.
Aston Martin used an inline-six engine designed by Polish engineer Tadek Marek. In DB5 trim it produced 282 gross horsepower.
We found this beautiful inline-six under the long hood of a Jaguar E-type.
The John Player Special McLaren driven by Emerson Fittipaldi used Ford V-8 power.
This Lola has been restored and is once again powered by a Ford small-block as it was when Dan Gurney was behind the wheel.
Ed Roth’s Tweedy Pie is powered by a Chevy small-block wearing six Stromberg 97 carbs.
Chevrolet’s Rochester mechanical fuel injection system that debuted for the 1957 model year was developed on the Corvette SR-2. This engine is wearing an intake modified to accept twin throttle bodies, while the factory offering used only one.
The Corvette’s 427-cubic-inch L88 V-8 was a force to be reckoned with. The aluminum-head big-block was used in road racing as well as drag racing and was rated at a conservative 430 horsepower.
The Ford FE big-block began its life as a lowly truck engine but was eventually modified for racing duty, including the 427-cu-in version that dominated Le Mans in the mid-mounted GT40.
One of only four in existence, this 610-horsepower, 6.4-liter V-10 powers the only Cobra concept of its kind. It’s based on DOHC 4.6-liter Ford architecture, not the tall-tech, three-valve Triton 6.8-liter V-10 as you might have assumed.
Six Webers in a row feed the front-mounted 4.4-liter Ferrari V-12 in this 365 that produces 352 horsepower.
If you were expecting a 16-cylinder Bugatti, think again. These twin Ford FE engines power a replica of Ed Roth’s Mysterion.