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What's the Worst-Sounding Engine of All Time?

Vee Cue Boys, this is your time to shine. You can bring your SR friends along too.

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Photo: Tennen-Gas, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a Sunday morning, and you’re out grabbing brunch with a friend in your local restaurant’s dining shed. The mimosas are flowing, the weather is beautiful, everything’s perfect. But as you open your mouth to speak, you’re suddenly drowned out by the most horrible, grating exhaust note you’ve ever heard. What was that?

Today we’re talking about the worst-sounding engines of all time. These are the powertrains that make volume a detriment, and remind you of the peace and serenity that could come with EVs. What’s the most obnoxious, cacophonous, and downright unpleasant engine you’ve ever heard?

Loud 350z acceleration leaving car show.

Of course, for unpleasant engines, there’s a default answer: The VQ series, found in Nissan Zs and Infiniti Gs. The latest Z finally abandoned the old VQ, replacing it with the twin-turbo VR30DETT, but the scourge of the Vee Cue Boy remains. Thousands of 350Zs, 370Zs, G35s, and G37s, all with the cheapest muffler deletes money can buy, roaming the streets in packs.


The VQ sounds perfectly fine, if a little muffled, from the factory. A well-tuned exhaust system can even make the engine sound fantastic — but “well-tuned” is the caveat. Cheap exhausts that value volume over tone, however, lead to the Vee Cue Boy image we know today. Well, that and the rainbow-tinted headlights.

Stock 350z with muffler delete.

My pick for worst-sounding engine goes to The Hated VQ, but can you think of something worse? Do you loathe every Harley-Davidson’s potato potato sound, or have you had enough of RX-8s that sound like vacuum cleaners? Leave your picks for the worst-sounding engine below, and we’ll collect your best answers tomorrow.