American sports cars are known more for their muscle than their handling prowess, but there remains a subset of high performance heavy metal in the U.S. that has been designed not just to blow up dyno charts but also scarf down a road course without breaking a sweat. This new generation of American sports cars includes special editions of old stalwarts, all-new designs, and a few boutique brands that have quietly made names for themselves in the annals of speed.
Let’s take a quick look at 8 of the best American sports cars.
Best American Sports Cars - 01 - 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Aside from its dramatic striping, the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 might look like a standard Mustang GT, but underneath the skin the differences are extensive. The Ford Mustang Boss 302 has been designed to tackle corners with gusto, which means adjustable shock absorbers, a lowered ride height, a new rear sway bar, a six-speed manual transmission, and Brembo brakes with 14-inch rotors out front. Power is up too, with 444 horses and 380 lb-ft of torque squeezed from the Boss' 5.0-liter V-8 by way of aluminum heads, special valves, a short-run intake, and an exhaust system that can open up just in front of the rear axle for additional wildness. Add in the TracKey, a special red key that changes 200 engine management settings in order to unleash even more throttle response, and it's clear that the Boss 302 is a whole other animal compared to the model it is based on.
Best American Sports Cars - 02 - 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 improves on an already potent sports car package by imbuing the Corvette's design with a number of competition-inspired touches. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 rides on an aluminum frame that replaces the standard Vette's steel unit, and it also comes with beefed up cooling for the transmission, the differential, and the engine. The lump up front has been upgraded to a 7.0-liter V-8 good for 505 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed manual transmission handles the gear-shifting duties for the sports car. It's even possible to outfit the Z06 with carbon fiber body panels for even more weight reduction, as well as carbon ceramic brakes and near-race rubber.
Best American Sports Cars - 03 - 2013 Hennessey Venom GT
Sports car or supercar? That's the conundrum when attempting to categorize the Hennessey Venom GT, a coupe that melds the lightweight chassis of the Lotus Exige with the mind-melting power of a twin-turbo V-8 engine. Yes, the Hennessey Venom GT provides all of the handling prowess that one would expect out of a car that costs nearly a million dollars, but its real trump card is the 1,200 horsepower from its 6.2-liter V-8, which is enough thrust to send it well over 200 miles per hour. That stupendous output is managed by a six-speed manual transmission borrowed from the Ford GT, and the Venom GT is hauled down from stratospheric speeds by six-piston Brembo brakes.
Best American Sports Cars - 04 - 2013 SRT Viper GTS
The 2013 SRT Viper GTS returns to the American sports car scene with its trademark V-10 growl intact. After speculation that the Viper might be gone for good, it was revived by SRT and given a new lease on life through a styling effort reminiscent of the vehicle's glory days. Of course, performance for the new Viper GTS is even more spectacular than that offered by its predecessors, with 640 ponies and 600 lb-ft of twist being delivered by its 8.4-liter, ten-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission serves as the Viper's exclusive gearbox, while the GTS also provides an adjustable suspension system and the availability of R-compound tires and two-piece brake rotors.
Best American Sports Cars - 05 - 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE
The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE is in many ways the Bowtie brand's answer to the Boss 302. Based on the Camaro SS, the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE provides a number of handling upgrades such as thicker swaybars front and rear, unique shock absorbers, a strut tower brace to help hold things together, and Goodyear F1 Supercar tires. The vehicle's six-speed manual transmission offers more aggressive gearing along with the appropriate level of cooling. Engine output remains at the same level as the stock SS, which means 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2-liter V-8.
Best American Sports Cars - 06 - 2013 Mosler MT900s
The 2013 Mosler MT900s is another relatively obscure American sports car company - obscure, that is, unless you happen to frequent the tracks that make up the country's high performance driving event circuit. Relying on the tried, tested, and true LS7 V-8 engine - the very same unit found in the Corvette Z06 - the Mosler MT900s delivers 530 horsepower and 515 lb-ft of torque. Of course, when matched with a platform that weighs in at just over 2,000 lbs, bodywork included, as well as massive brakes and a race-focused suspension system, it's no surprise that Mosler has become such a respected name amongst dedicated track junkies.
Best American Sports Cars - 07 - 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V coupe might not come from the same sports car DNA as the other members on this list, but the two-door luxury car provides explosive performance thanks to the dedicated efforts of the American brand's engineers. The Cadillac CTS-V coupe offers 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, and it also comes with a magnetically-controlled suspension system in order to keep the heavy car planted through the corners. A six-speed manual transmission is recommended with the CTS-V, although a six-speed automatic featuring a traditional torque converter designed is also available.
Best American Sports Cars - 08 - 2013 Factory Five Racing Roadster
Kit cars are not often considered legitimate production vehicles, but Factory Five Racing has carved out a unique niche amongst Cobra-replica vendors with the Factory Five Racing Roadster. The MK4 version of the Roadster moves the sports car up a notch and enables it to accept a range of power plants, including both the original and the modern 5.0-liter V-8 mills built by Ford. It's possible to spend anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 on a Factory Five Roadster build, and the car's potential for over 500 horsepower, an independent rear suspension, and a curb weight approaching that of a first-generation Miata equals a formula for checkered flag-taking fun.