8 American Cars That Were More Powerful Than Advertised

The horsepower rating of a car is measured at the engine crank or the wheels, but most automakers advertise the former number because it’s usually higher. Then again, there are instances in which manufacturers deliberately put down lower horsepower figures due to several reasons. For one, automakers underrate their vehicles in a bid to keep insurance premiums at bay. For other manufacturers, advertising lower horsepower rates help to avoid taxes and satisfy EPA requirements on certain types of cars.Related: 15 Cars That Are Way More Powerful Than AdvertisedIt’s worthy of note that advertising a more conservative output is not exactly an offense, but instead a corporate lie, which Japanese car manufacturers refer to as “the gentlemen’s agreement.” Although popular brands all over the world like BMW, Porsche, and Nissan occasionally claim they measure horsepower ratings in less than ideal conditions, in this piece, we focus on eight American cars with more output than advertised.

8th 1967 Chevrolet L88 Corvette

Chevrolet has built several powerful muscle and sports cars over the years, but some like the L88 Corvette were very underrated. Although Chevrolet claimed the special ultra-high-performance 427c.i. big-block engine has an output of 435 horsepower, in actuality, the L88 Corvette made up to 540 horsepower.

The big-block engine was mated with a 4-speed transmission and all L88 Corvettes ran on super-high octane gasoline rated at 103 octane due to the engine’s sky-high 12.5:1 compression ratio. Chevrolet built only 20 examples of the track-focused L88 Corvettes and the ones in auction houses today go for millions of dollars.

7 1968 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet

With big-block Camaros and Firebirds dominating the muscle car scene in the 60s, Ford responded with the high-performance 428-powered Mustang in 1968. With the 427 ci V8, the Mustang 428 Cobra Jet was a terror on the streets, as it became Ford’s fastest pure-production Mustang during that era.

On paper, the 1968 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet made only 335 horsepower in a bid not to stir up insurance and dragstrip troubles, but the 428 Cobra Jet’s actual output is around 410 horsepower. Ford rolled out only 1,299 examples of the 1968 Mustang 428 Cobra Jet.

Related: Evolution Of The Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

6 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429

The Ford Mustang Boss 429 is also known as the “Boss 9” and it was produced together with the Boss 302 from 1969 to 1970. While Ford made the Boss 302 specifically for the Trans Am Racing Series, the American automaker built the Boss 9 to meet homologation requirements for NASCAR’s Grand National Division.

The Boss 429 engine was mated with a 4-speed transmission and the advertised output was 375 HP at 5,200 RPM. But independent dyno tests revealed that the Boss 429 engine produces up to 420 hp. Ford made only 1,358 examples of the Mustang Boss 429 for the two years it was in production.

5 1970 Buick GS 455 Stage 1

Buick offered a pair of 455 V8s in its 1970 Skylark GS when the regulations on installing V8s above 400 ci on intermediate vehicles were relaxed. In addition to the standard 455 was the extra-powerful “Stage 1” version. The engine was rated 350 hp, but dyno tests showed that it was up to 426 hp and 513 lb-ft of torque.

Buick lived up to its “go fast with class” philosophy, as Motor Trend magazine claimed in its January 1970 issue that the 1970 GS 455 Stage 1, which hit a quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds at 105 mph was one of the fastest muscle cars tested at the time.

4 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51

When Chevrolet introduced the 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51, the big question on the minds of customers was: how much power does the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine make? With hopes of the 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51 making at least 450 hp, Chevrolet beat the expectations of customers when it revealed the output is 460 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque with optional performance exhaust.

To know the actual output of the 2014 Corvette Stingray Motor Trend took the car to K&N Engineering in Riverside, California, for a dyno test, which placed the actual power of the 2014 Corvette Stingray at 462 hp, slightly above the factory claim.

3 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Chevrolet claims that the 2016 Camaro SS cranks out 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, which is good enough for a serious muscle car, but the team at hot rod believes that Camaro is much more powerful. Hooking up the Camaro to a dyno shows that the actual power rating is around 466 horsepower.

The 2016 Camaro SS gets its power from a 6.2-liter LT1 V8, just like the 2014 Corvette Stingray. The great thing about the 2016 Camaro SS is that it’s not only performance-focused but also aesthetically appealing, safe, and offers good value for money. It’s not surprising that the 2016 Camaro won Motor Trend’s Car Of The Year prize.

Related: 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Chevrolet Camaro SS

2 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

The sound of the 5.2-liter V8 engine dubbed the “Voodoo” is perhaps the best in any new production car out there, and don’t just take our words for it—listen to it here. The advertised output of the Voodoo is 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque.

However, strapping the 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 to a dyno shows that it crushed the advertised output, cranking out 581 horses and 449 lb-ft after accounting for drivetrain loss.

1 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8

First off, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 is a bit controversial when it comes to the dyno test. Chevrolet marketed the “American Ferrari” with an output of 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. To know the actual power of the 2020 Corvette C8, Motor Trend attached it to a dynamometer, and the results were mind-blowing.

The 2020 C8 cranked out 656 hp and 606 lb-ft when it was supposed to be making around 500 horsepower from the 6.2-liter LT2 V8. But what makes the amazing results believable is the fact that the same dynamometer was used to test the 2020 Ram 2500 that same day and the numbers were reasonable. While there are reservations about the 2020 C8 dyno measurements, the car certainly makes much more power than Chevrolet claims.

Front 3/4 view of the Venom GT

These American Cars Are Way Too Powerful For Their Own Good


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.