Ain’t no substitute for cubic inches, right? Well, not always, according to some of our facebook readers.
When we asked the question on our Facebook page, “What’s your favourite engine, and why?” it wasn’t just big-bangers, blowers and turbos that got the vote from our readers. All the greats are there of course – Barra, Windsor, Cleveland, Hemi, LS, etc, but there were also a few surprises in the mix of responses we received. So whether it comes down to grunt, looks, sound, layout, reliability or even the fun-factor of a small capacity engine that still packs a punch, here’s a selection of what you told us to be your favourite donk and the reason/s why. Plus, it was just a great opportunity to show off a pic of your own engine!
Kenny TwoTwenty My 265 Hemi.
Chris Bitmead You got the answer spot-on with the picture that kick started this thread. 392 cubes of Hemi goodness celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
Janne Räisänen 426 Hemi with Blower! Because the power, the sound and the attitude.
Matthew Clarke Hemi 265 straight six. Tuff and bulletproof.
Adrian Mark 250 2V with triple webber and Toploader.
Dick Bateup Datsun A12. My introduction to freedom and fix-it-yourself.
Peter Jerkic Nissan RB30 because it’s the fastest.
Gi Performance Factory-spec Hillman Imp GT Coventry Climax 875cc slant-four. Change the factory valve springs and a bigger overlap cam in the head and it will rev to 10500 and pinch out 125hp all day.
Tamaoho Charles Llewell Christensen The Cammer! OHC years before they were fashionable. Capable of 9000rpm easily. Banned from NASCAR before ever turning a wheel in anger. (John Kasse version of the motor pictured)
Jim McGuire 8V92 for sound, 903 Cummins a close second.
Terrance Whitehead 460 big-block Ford. Lots of torque, fairly cheap to buy and easy to hot up!
Greg Noble Flathead – cantankerous, old-school, outdated, old and from a different time. Somewhat like me. I love the sound and the way it looks. We have a BA GT-P and an XW with a Clevo too, all sounding different and doing the job differently. They are great motors as well. But, the Flathead is cool. Plus, you can see every bit of it, even when driving.
Hamish Mclay 540 big-block Chevy. Because they are a strong motor and sound awesome.
Kevin O’Brien Chevy big-blocks. Torque and sound and they look so tuff.
Neal Thomsen Big-block Chev. Easy horsepower.
Jake Dylan I quite like the 302. There’s plenty of ways to get some easy horsepower out of them, and they look pretty good even sitting on a stand. It will look even better in the car though. A Clevo won’t fit in an XM without the exhaust touching the shock towers, but I can just squeeze in a Windsor.
Stefan Tikellis I really like a Ford XR6 4.0-litre, but my favourite is a Volvo 2.3-litre turbo because they are easy to work on and are a strong motor.
Ethan Woodvine 1275cc Mini. Small, light, fast.
Matt Fenech Datsun L-series, it has been going longer than me and will be when I’m gone.
Tony Purcell The mighty Holden 253. I just love them, great little motors. My current one is still going strong even with regular trips past 8000 rpm.
Christopher Jones Might cop crap for this but the 253. Good old working motor. They pull all day, slow and steady as she goes. The old man got 500,000km out of the one in our HJ, then did a head gasket!
Jason Mckinney Any Holden inline six with a big cam. Great sound. But 253 is my favourite, will go forever and people hate them!
Dave Rose Always liked the sound of the 253.
Thomas C Glover Holden 253. Revs for days.
Tim Martin My GF’s 3-cylinder 1.0 Suzuki Alto, it’s low running expenses allow us to afford to pay rent in Sydney. And it sounds like a Massey Ferguson, nearly as quick too!
Andrew Russell Can’t beat my 5.0L Holden. 4-into-1s 3″ pipe, 3″ flowmaster dumped at the diff and a whining gearbox to boot. Why? Because racecar!
Greg Fitzgerald Boss 290. It gets me to work and back daily.
Steve Bedford 4AGE , oil and water and it will run forever. But V8 wise, this. It’s a Ford, and I’m much more a GM man, but this 347 built Stateside with the manifold I built on top of it was pure glorious.
Ben Ainis 4AGE best sounding 4-cylinder in my opinion and just loves to rev.
Vanish Kruss 351W. Nothing sings like it.
Jamie-Mele’ana Wickham Ford 429. Hemi-killer. No explanation needed, I believe!
Alen Kulevanov TU3 Peugeot engine. Simply because I’m stuck with it and now have spare parts. Easy to turbocharge, full, quality aluminium block and head, cheap forged internals, easy replaceable cylinder sleeves and very good engine mounts design that hold everything stiff. Four-banger, but if you put it in a lightweight setup its a hell of a lawnmower. Barely a sleeper.
Bevan Moore I’ve always had a thing for the old-school 283 Chev. The little engine that could.
Dave Phillips 351 Chev. Just loved it’s all-rounder abilities and angry noise.
Alex Ramos Olds 400 E-block climbs the ladder rev-wise. With a hot cam it rumbles nice. The American V8s all make great music. But for affordability, got to go Chevy parts, they are endlessly cheaper and less challenging to get.
James Ramsay Oldsmobile 455 big-block. Factory blue printed back in their day & absolute torque monsters.
Clyde Anchor 454 big-block Chev. I just think it’s my inner bogan coming out.
Stephen Hill Nothing like the sound of a BBC with 3in crower injection at 7200rpm when all the harmonics have kicked in.
Glenn Lever 409 big-block Chev. They look tuff with a blower. That’s what I’m building for my ’32 3-window coupe project. Not too many 409s left.
Emilio Cuesta 427 L88 self explanatory.
Russel Soper 427 Chev big-block. Because I have wanted one in my HQ since I was 13.
Reyne Wilson 427 aluminium big-block Chevy. Internally balanced, a V8 that revs to the moon.
Jordan Farrar Blown Holden 308. Built a couple of street machines with dad and my uncles, all running 308s. Just fell in love with the engine. It has its pros and cons but you would expect that with any engine and it sounds better than the LS.
Luke Eames That’s a hard one, as I’ve got a lotta luv for different cars, but if I had to choose, it would either be an Aussie 308, or a Nissan RB26 cause I just love the sound of them.
Shane Anderson Old iron-block 304 & 308 for that sound.
Jake Hall 304 5L. Don’t know why, I know they ain’t a powerhouse but I love them.
Bruce Harvey Holden 304/5L injected. Love the sound. Aussie made. Can be warmed up without too much trouble.
Ty Barber BT9 304 with decent roller cam and full exhaust. Very last of all Aussie 8s.
Kyle Wombat Lines Nissan RB30. Cheap and reliable and make great power.
Kasey Winstanley The answer is simple. Nissan TD42! Soot gets the moot! Will blow the doors of anything.
Lincoln Godwin Mercury Racing 1550. Because twin-turbo 552 boat motor. That’s why.
Jamie Coles HRT Supercar engine! It’s the best sounding V8 and can be driven hard all day without breaking.
Aaron Mckie Grumpy Holden straight-six. Good memories.
Rodney Ali Enderle injection, blown Hemi for me.
Ian Mckenzie Chrysler Hemi. Still not beaten on the drag strip.
Kirk Walker Hemi because no other engine can make 14,000hp and more.
Allen Harris Have to add the Aussie 265 Chrysler Hemi six. Either stock or preferably in E38, E49 form. And the 350 Chev. Strong motor and easy to get power out of.
Rodney Ali Old blown Donovan mmmmmmmm.
Andrew Groch 265 Hemi with triples on it. Love the screaming sixpot.
Shirwan Potter (Audi 4.2 V8) Built to rev to 9000rpm. These things sound amazing and a flat torque curve means they don’t give up in the high rpm.
Jon Morton Buick 455 because I like to go fast!
Greg Jones My baby has a Dodge SB LA V6. Not big horsepower, but incredibly reliable and economical, with a more than satisfactory burst of speed when required.
Warren Azzopardi The Hemi….no need to explain why.
Andrew Lewty 265 Hemi, L28 Nissan. Just love old-school six-pots. Not easy HP to get, but it’s a love affair when it’s done right.
Connor Radel Old-school 392 and 354 Hemis. They are just so tuff, nothing beats the look they have.
Warren Azzopardi Hemi 265 with triple 45 Webber.
Kieya Dorian 265 Hemi, because it’s the best Aussie engine made. Showed up everything in its day in E49 beast mode, and it’s the best sounding six.
Warren Azzopardi Chrysler slant-six.
James Williamson Chrysler slant-six. Just a great motor.
Chris Waddell 426 Hemi or 225 slant-six. Mopar or no car.
Anthony Cortina The great almighty Aussie-boosted Barra ’cause Aussie. But for V8, I’d go with either a Roush Yates Nazi engine or an MMR-built Gen-X 5 Ltr 352ci Coyote engine that can punch out 3000hp.
Simon Ford 4.0 Barra. The amount of power it has, all the way from stock to the big-banger turbo XR6s. It’s lightweight so it can run down most V8s and they last forever. Really, any of the 4.0 Ford Falcon 6s. My last Falcon was an EF XR6 with over 340,000km on the clock and I got 600km from a tank, when it was in need of a service. I could also include the 289 small-block Ford V8, the amount of power Shelby got out of those original engines in his GT350s and AC Cobras was amazing.
Phil Claxton I bought a Barra Falcon for the engine and 250,000km later it was strong but the rest of it let me down – auto, trim. The only engine problem was the throttle body. It ended up more to fix than the value left in it, so I sold it for $150 and it went to Heaven. Got my money’s worth for reliably, it never let me down since 2004. Eat that Holden!
Duane Beaver Holden 304 all the way.
Bruce Harvey Holden 304/5L injected. Love the sound. Aussie made. Can be warmed up without too much trouble.
Leah Fraser Holden’s 304. Not the fastest but that sound was just drool worthy. So easy to work on too.
Tyler Brand It has to be either the 351 Cleveland or the turbo Barra. They are strong motors with amazing sound and power.
Allan Pryor 351 Clevo because that sound is the best.
Paul Smith Yamaha twin-cylinder 2-strokes.
Antony Freeman Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 4-cylinder. Pulls and pulls and is bullet proof.
Marley Blackwell Ford 250 X-flow.
Glen Fairley My old man has an XY GS with a 250 2V and it’s still a very strong motor with heaps of torque. It’s quite surprising for its age, really.
Jerome Pulham 302, 347, 363 Windsor. They go hard and I just love the sound.
Peter Mcdonnell Nissan RB26 just the sound on-gate.
Josh Bandt Mazda 26B 4-rotor. That sound.
Nicholas Bull 13B, because Rotary!
Jason Bain 13B Bridgeport! Blows the doors off most big lumps.
Rick Fenwick [Holden six 179]…in my boat
Denis Murray 427 Ford Cammer. Awesome engine.
Aaron ODonoghue Ford 427 SOHC. If you’ve gotta ask why you’re on the wrong page.
Grayson Kinnane How about a Ford FE427 SOHC in a Hydro, towed by a Galaxie with a SOHC.
Hans Olav Turborider Fangan Hello From Norway! Ford 427 SOHC with a blower. Because its looks really good and has lots of torque and Power! We’ve got a Modded 302 in our Mustang ’65 and like that engine too, must say.
Mark Moten Ford 427 SOHC. 616bhp stock, 654bhp with dual quads. Way ahead of it’s competition and virtually no weaknesses.
Paul Karton LS carb big-cam. The sound just can’t get better.
Ben Aarons LS3 because it’s light and go-faster parts are readily available, but if you don’t want to modify they’re pretty decent out of the crate anyway.
Travis Airs Mine has to be the LSA. Hands-down the best modern-day motor, but for old-school even though I’m a Holden person, it’s hard to beat the Hemi.
Blair Rossiter Used to be 350 Chev but now the LS-series of engines are my favourite.
Matty Delooff Old-school cast iron 304.
Chris Abbott Turbo LS. Because racecar. Or 4G63 for the same reason.
Micheal Burns LS for days! Can’t beat the LS motors. Easiest motor to make big power.
David Fitzgerald LS 6-bolt mains from factory, they make them very reliable. Easy to extract power from and can be retro-fitted into almost anything.
Jason Behringer I’m just going to leave this here.
Jamie Marschke Honda D16 because of economy.
Kym Rapisarda GM 4-cylinder Ecotec.
Nick Fenton I’m a V8 person but I must say my favourite would have to be a 6BT Cummins or an old Detroit screamer.
Panayiotis Voutos 351 Cleveland. Seriously, does anything sound as good cammed up? Torque monster!
Andrew Koutsofrigas 351 Cleveland. Was built to run hard revs for long periods of time.
Cambell Lawton Armstrong 308. Easy to work with and good old-school sound.
Craig Stanborough Good old Aussie 308. Tough as nails and sounds awesome.
Dean Whiteley My one.
Peter Christopher Hockley-Munro 265 Hemi six they produce big HP, love to rev and sound awesome and over the years have caught out a lot of V8 drivers.
Andrew Tolcher LSX 454R. Because HORSEPOWER!
Samuel Simons VN 3.8. You can’t kill it
Troy Adam Profilio My LS1
Joel Frakking Can’t beat the sound of an LS1.
Giacobbe Nicolosi Holden 304. Cheap easy HP.
Arron Peter Reid 202 Holden. Because it’s not a V8. Everyone has one of those.
Rastus Watermelon 427 side-oiler.
Glen Terry 327 Chev high-revving motor and my first V8. I miss that HQ One-Tonner.
Geoffrey Jeffro Crossing Gen 3 5.7 I love the lifter tick and excessive oil use.
Greg Barton I’ve got three. Ford Cleveland (351/302ci). Legendary performance, I grew up around that type of engine. Great sound too. GM LS1. Very modifiable and flexible. Really good bang for your buck. Pretty much a go-to for any car enthusiast. GM LSA, My current fave. Awesome sound, great value for power. Sounds great even in stock form. (Plus factory supercharger).
Mary Lee Alfa Romeo Busso V6. 3.2L 24V. Best sounding six-cylinder road engine ever!
Yetta Sutherland Le Mans Aston Martin. Low roar and so velvety.
Nick Medeiros 7.3 International. Power, reliability and it’s damn near immortal.
Tyronne Tunza Bony A tie between Holden’s 186 and Ford’s Barra engine. Both great engines in their own time.
Jacques Van Staden
Morgan Barnes Can’t split them, but here goes my top four – 265 hemi, 269 P76 V8, 351 Cleveland, XR6 Turbo. Hemi because it was epic performance from a six. P76 for its glorious sound and it’s super lightweight. 351 because of its huge balls, XR6 Turbo for much the same reason as the Hemi.
Benn Davis I love my Ford and Mopar sixes, Clevos, small-block Chevs, LA-series Mopars, and I go weak at the knees over 440 six-packs, ZL1 Chevs and Ford cammers. But my favourite engine of ll time, by far, is the 426 Hemi. Why? Because HEMI!!! No other engine has won more races, literally every top fuel drag car has an engine based on the Hemi. Gotta love the bop-bop-bop of the old Mack V8 too!
Abod Mosa Brezat
Matthew Boate Toyota 4A. They are very difficult to break.
Robert Brian Tawhara Toyota 3.0 2JZ Turbo or non-turbo. Toyota Supra RZ. Strongest inline six ever made.
Peter Marcek Toyota 2JZ because Supra is life.
Scott Reichstein Toyota 1g-gte. That sound and power, plus reliability.
Mohammed Asim Abbas Toyota 2JZ GTE. That sound, and it can make a hell of a lot of power.
Moses McNabb Want a sweet sounding engine? Cleveland. They sound tuff even in standard form. It’s in the timing. Want a screamer? Gotta be a small-block Chev. They just rev so hard at full noise. But if you want true torque and horsepower you will go Hemi every time. As for beautiful looking engines, you cant go past the billet Sainty 3-valve engine. It is truly a work of art. For true.
Jose Cantu 406 SBC. Because it’s lighter than a big-block, but still packs a punch. And I run nitrous on mine. Performance – every one would love a Brad Anderson aftermarket-blown Hemi.
Denny Lee Ford Barra or 250 Crossflow. 265 Hemi is unbreakable and 2JZ Toyota six…all sixes are all pretty indestructible.
Tyson Grech Barra because with small modifications it will increase the kW a bit and they sound nice.
Daniel Peachey Is this a serious question? C’mon!
Greg Broderick The best engine in the world is the engine in my car. When I’ve had a shitty day, I can jump in my car, head for the hills and disappear – windows down, music up, world off.