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BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Best Sounding Internal Combustion Engine?

BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Best Sounding Internal Combustion Engine?

Today’s a day where sound seem to be a theme and now we’re dragging you into it.  Part of being a dedicated gearhead is an appreciation of the many ways that cars, trucks, and other mechanical devices interact with all of our senses. Hearing is an important one when it comes to engines. From the glacial RPM scale of an old tractor engine to the incredible roar of a blown alcohol mill, they all have an auditory signature. Some of those are more flowery and complex than others.

Mostly based on personal taste, this question is one where a general consensus is virtually impossible to achieve. Sporty car guys will speak whistfully of the shreik that small cube engines in old European road racing cars make, import drag racers lovingly talk of rotary engines that many people plug their ears for, and oval racing fans stand pat on the basso rumble sent forth by the headers on an alky injected big block hanging off the side of a Super Mod.

You can give the cop out, “I love ’em all,” line if you want to look and sound like a weiner. Otherwise, man (or woman) up and tell us loud and proud what the best sounding engine of all time is!

Pro Stock Truck engine

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30 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Best Sounding Internal Combustion Engine?

  1. MGBChuck

    Most of my friends have big ci BBCs, they sound great but I’m biased towards a high strung Gen 1 SBC (the Freight Trains dual SBCs sounded like nothing else, the S&S TA/D sounded insane, Champion N/FD another example)and I love the sounds my roller cammed, high Comp. sbc makes in my MGB.

  2. Curtis

    Any Pontiac street engine with a healthy camshaft and a good sounding full length exhaust, great sounding idle to these engines.

  3. Weasel1

    Tie. A 283/327 when it winds instantly and just as fast backs down. The other is something I have only heard one night at Martin US 131 Dragway, a blown, alcohol slugging Dadge slant 6 in a front engine homemade rail. I had to go find it in the pits to ask the owner why that motor? His reply, because I was told I couldn’t be done.

  4. SSNOVA427

    Gen 1 SBC in any C/SM Camaro or Vette..coming out of the water or when the stage bulb lights. Love those 10 grand launches.

  5. Chip

    Its gotta be a Big Block Chevy with a hog ass cam. Although e type Jag with the v12 sounds pretty good in a completely different way.

  6. Tim Burton

    I’m sure someone has put one in a car somewhere so it counts, nothing sounds as beautiful as a Rolls Royce Merlin. Take your pick, true Rolls Royce or Packard built, they sound subtly different but that engine is music to the ears.

    1. MGBChuck

      Good choice Tim, I lived in Seattle as a child and could hear the Unlimited Hydros on Lake Washington, The Merlin powered ones just were meaner then the rest

  7. Matt Cramer

    I like the sound of a high revving motorcycle V-twin myself – not your potato potato potato cruisers, but something that screams past 10K.

  8. Steve

    I’m definitely a fan of a Hemi on good ole ch3no2 be it crisp 392 on a high percentage or a modern fueler that sounds fat on the high volumes of fuel. Another is the BRM v16s from F1. Unique sound down low in the revs to that wail when they’re really spinning.

  9. 88GT

    I love the sound of any engine on a dyno… it is just pure engine, nothing else. Favorite on the dyno are the big inch nitrous motors or a Pro Stock motor!!

  10. Joe Jolly

    Ford Cammer was a favorite till I heard a 400+ HP Y Block at Bonneville. What a great noise!

  11. Tim Kuehl

    First off, it must be a V8. I personally believe there should be a federal law with capital punishment authorized for anybody who makes a 4 or 6 cylinder engine sound anything but quiet. Not fond of the sound of 10 or 12 cylinder engines, been a long time since I heard a straight 8 so don’t remember and never heard a 16 cylinder Caddy or 12 Cylinder Lincoln. But in 1964 I heard the 256 Cu In Ford (now Foyt) DOHC engine with the “snake pit” exhaust and loved it. It didn’t have that rumble most of us love so I know not everybody agrees but it was quite unique at the time.

  12. BigDogSS

    You might think this is crazy –> I love 2-stroke motorcycle engines –> the bigger, the better. The more cylinders, the better. Check out a 1985 Yamaha RZ500–> music!!!

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