As the end of the internal combustion era appears to be coming into view, we’re reflecting on some of the great engines to have made their way into production. What do you think is the greatest production engine ever made?
This is another question with a number of great answers. An engine can be good because it delivers bulletproof reliability, a great soundtrack, or mind-boggling power numbers. It can be great simply because it looks great.
A good candidate is the Buick 3800 Series II V6. This engine was a workhorse, found in a number of GM models from the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. You could find a 3800 nestled in everything from a Buick Riviera to a Pontiac Bonneville.
A naturally aspirated 3800 is good for about 205 HP while the supercharged variant brings the power up to 240 HP. That isn’t going to pin you to your seat, but it’s perfectly adequate power. This engine is also known for its reliability and for being easy to work on. Belts and pullies are easily accessed without requiring some poor wrencher to be a contortionist to do basic repairs or upgrades. It’s not uncommon where I live to see a rustbucket with a 3800 still purring away under the hood.
This engine is also a popular engine to swap into other vehicles.
The Navistar DT466 is “honorable mention” for me. These are massive 7.6-liter straight six turbodiesel engines commonly found in school buses and regional trucks. A DT466 makes up to about 300 HP and 860 lb-ft torque, but where it really shines is that it’s so tough that some call it an engine that can’t be killed. Personally, I just adore the way it sounds.
What do you think? What is the best engine ever made?