Remember The Roar: Our Favorite Historic Engine Notes

GT40 Mk1One of the amazing things about automotive history is the timeless aspect of it. Though metal may age and decay, the sights and sounds captured on film can live on for virtually forever. Seeing all-time great race cars is powerful, but hearing them roar truly stirs the essence of the soul. Those epic sounds bring history to life in a way few other things can. Ready to hear the echoes of legends? Let’s start some engines….

Ferrari F2005 and 412t2

Formula One has always been at the pinnacle of motorsports, pushing the most advanced automotive engineering to the absolute limit. However, as the need for efficiency has increased, turbocharged V6’s and fuel limitations have taken the place of screaming, unleashed V10 and V12 engines. In our book, regardless of what was gained, it’s a significant step backward. For proof, just take a listen to this Ferrari F2005 V10 followed by a 412t2 V12. If the sound of those beasts echoing through the forest doesn’t give you goosebumps, you may want to check your pulse.


Ford GT40 Mk1

The legend that started it all. Born out of rage towards the above mentioned Italian supercar manufacturer, the Ford GT40, especially the Mk1, is one of the most brutal sounding machines ever made. Combining an intimidating low RPM burble with ferocious high-speed raspy scream, the mid-engined V8 monster produced a sound that’s hard to mistake for anything else. Carroll Shelby famously said “Next year, Ferrari’s [rear end] is mine.” If any engine note ever conveyed that do-or-die personality, it’s that of the GT40.


Porsche 917K

The Porsche 917 was such a brutally quick car, it was the beginning of the end for the virtually unrestricted LMP1 class. Reaching speeds of up to 240 mph on the back straight of LeMans, the 917 was absolutely as menacing as it sounded. The very idea of an air-cooled flat twelve is a magical thing, with an incredibly pure, uncompromising chassis to match. Given that driver safety wasn’t exactly a priority, the only thing more impressive than the speed was the courage of the pilot inside.


McLaren M8C

You might be thinking to yourself…yes those are very nice, but I’d prefer something that’s going to permanently damage my hearing. No problem, we incredibly have you covered. The McLaren M8C Can-Am car sounds angry enough when it’s running, but it has nothing on when it starts. Your buddies may compare their cars to fire breathing dragons on cold starts, but when you hear the M8C genuinely explode to life, you’ll start looking for shrapnel. Headphone users: it was nice knowing you.


Corvette C6.R

Ok, technically this one isn’t that old but we couldn’t help ourselves. No car, race or otherwise, has ever brought the phrase “rolling thunder” to life quite like the C6.R. Made specially for GT2 racing, this thunderstorm on wheels not only has an iconic engine note, but ear splitting backfires to match. The C7.R is a worthy successor. But the C6.R will always have a special place in our hearts.


What are your favorite classic motorsport engines? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!


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