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American car manufacturers have built some exceptionally fast cars over the years.
When asked to name the automakers that make the fastest cars, most gearheads will mention European brands like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Ferrari. Not many will mention American brands, which is understandable since Americans are typically associated with muscle cars and, more recently, giant pickup trucks. However, over the last three decades, we’ve seen more American automakers build cars aimed at breaking speed records long held by their European rivals. Let’s explore ten of the fastest American supercars of all time.
When Dodge introduced the Viper in the early ’90s, everyone was stunned. No one expected Americans to come up with a V10-powered supercar that could destroy European supercars. The Viper was such a hit that Dodge produced it for almost three decades over five generations.
The fifth and last generation of the Viper was fantastic. It was powered by a gigantic 8.4-liter V10 blurting out 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to hit a top speed of 206 mph. Although the Viper was discontinued, every gearhead wishes it will be revived in the future.
Over the last half-century, Dodge has established itself as one of the top muscle car manufacturers. The Challenger SRT Demon is arguably Dodge’s best muscle car ever, as it has more power than any other ever built. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
At the heart of the SRT Demon is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 pumping out 808 hp when using regular fuel, or a crazy 840 horses when using 100-plus-octane racing fuel. This is not a car you want to face on the drag strip. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
The ‘ZR1’ designation has been used on some of the fastest Corvettes since the ’90s. After the huge success of the first two ZR-1s, Corvette was determined to make the third a winner. Their plan worked, as the 2019 ZR-1 is the fastest Corvette ever. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
Under the ZR-1’s hood is a 6.2-liter supercharged LT5 V8 generating 755 ponies and 715 lb-ft of torque, giving it incredible performance. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
In the mid-2000s, Ford introduced the GT to honor one of its greatest cars – the legendary GT40 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans competition three years in a row in the ’60s. Everyone loved the GT, so Ford introduced a second generation in 2016. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
The second-generation GT is a work of art. It has a fantastic design with styling elements inspired by the GT40 and has a proper engine to match – a twin-turbo V6 generating 660 hp. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
Not many gearheads know about Vector these days, but back in the ’90s, it was one of the most promising American automakers. Vector built several fantastic supercars, and the W8 is arguably the best of them all. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
The first thing people noticed about the W8 was its design – it had a wedge-shaped design that rivaled anything from Lamborghini or Ferrari. The W8 was also incredibly quick, thanks to a Chevrolet-sourced 6.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 625 hp. With only 22 examples built, the W8 is one of the rarest American cars. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
Saleen is a California-based company known for producing high-performance car parts. In 2000, Saleen decided to show everybody that it could also build a world-class supercar, so it introduced its first-ever car – the S7. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
Although the S7 was Saleen’s first car, it was impossible to tell since it looked great, was well-engineered, and had tons of power to play with, particularly the Twin Turbo. With 750 hp on tap, the S7 Twin Turbo could attain a top speed of 248 mph, earning it a spot on the list of the fastest cars of the 2000s. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
Hennessey is an American tuning house known for making some of the best custom cars. In 2017, the company established the Hennessey Special Vehicles division to build its own supercars. The Venom F5 is the second vehicle built by the division. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
Hennessey wanted the Venom F5 to be able to hit a top speed of over 300 mph, so they equipped it with a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V8 producing a crazy 1,817 ponies and 1,193 lb-ft of torque. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
In 1998, Jerod Shelby (not related to the legendary Carroll Shelby) established SSC North America with one goal – to build the fastest production car in the world. After several years of development, SSC introduced the Ultimate Aero in 2004. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
While the Ultimate Aero was superfast, it couldn’t beat the Bugatti Veyron’s speed record, so SSC went back to the drawing board and came up with the crazier Ultimate Aero TT in 2009. The TT had 15% more power than the Ultimate Aero, allowing it to become the fastest production car in the world with its 254-mph top speed. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
The Venom GT is the first-ever car built by Hennessey Special Vehicles. The Venom GT is based on the Lotus Exige chassis but is heavily modified, resulting in a supercar that looks fantastic and performs exceptionally well.
At the heart of the Venom GT is a massive 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 developing 1,244 hp and 1,155 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 0-60 of just 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 270 mph. With only 13 examples made, the Venom GT is incredibly rare. â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹
The Ultimate Aero was an important car, as it showed American automakers could also build a record-breaking supercar. However, it didn’t take long for manufacturers like Bugatti and Koenigsegg to break its record, so SSC decided to build a new car to re-establish its top speed record dominance. The result was the Tuatara, which debuted in 2020.
The Tuatara is a gorgeous supercar with a 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,350 hp or up to 1,750 hp when using special E85 fuel. After a controversial top speed run in October 2020, SSC repeated it three months later and recorded a top speed of 283 mph, making the Tuatara the fastest production car in the world.
Martin is a seasoned content creator who has been writing about cars for over a decade, and has been in love with them for even longer. Growing up, Martin was surrounded by gearheads who instilled a deep love and understanding for cars in him at a young age. He loves to learn and write about all the developments happening in the auto industry – especially in the EV space. When he’s not writing about cars, he likes to spend quality time with his wife, kids, and fur baby.