The Most Iconic Engines: Window Shop with Car and Driver



shape: This week's challenge was to find famous and historical engines, and somehow no one chose a small-block V-8 or a Hemi.


© Car and Driver
This week’s challenge was to find famous and historical engines, and somehow no one chose a small-block V-8 or a Hemi.

Unlike most of the challenges we face as Window Shoppers, this week’s contest has less to do with cars than it does what powers them. We set out to find the most iconic engines, engines that helped define a brand, made a mark in history, or were just spectacular. The car is important, but the engine is king. If you watch, you may wonder why no one chose a Chevy small-block V-8 or a Mopar Hemi. That’s a fair question, and the answer is that each of us incorrectly assumed someone else would pick them.

Instead, we presented slightly less obvious choices. Contributing editor Brett Berk found a sedan with the engine from the 1950s Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Deputy testing director K.C. Colwell also found a transplant job, selecting a four-door with the heart of an Audi R8. Contributor Jonathon Ramsey decided that infamy could make an engine iconic and put up a 2011 Volkswagen diesel for judgement. And we couldn’t argue with that logic, particularly when you consider how far-reaching the media coverage and consequences of Dieselgate were.

Gallery: Ten Rad Cars You Can Import to America in 2021 (Road & Track)

a close up of a toy car: In the U.S., you can't import and register a car under 25 years old not originally sold in this market, unless it's one of the few that qualify for a Show and Display exemption or it's a track-only race car. With this so-called 25-Year Rule in place, it means a new class of cars becomes eligible for U.S. import every year. In 2020, the R33-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R was finally allowed in the country, along with a host of other neat cars. Here are the 10 coolest cars that'll become eligible in 2021. Note that if you're actually planning on importing any of these cars, they only become eligible for import and registration the month they were built. So if you find something built in October, 1996, you'll have to wait until October, 2021 to get it on U.S. roads. It's unfortunate, but hey, you've already waited two and a half decades. What's another few months?There are some real gems on this list, cars we can't wait to see trickle into the U.S.

In addition to engines, we discuss car phones, German chancellors, the ideal buyer for a car with fold-flat front seats, Ford Aerostar crash-test results, and things that can go wrong on the last of Porsche’s air-cooled flat-sixes. We even dig into why Colwell hates sunroofs. Clearly, this episode goes off the rails, but you’re used to that by now, right?

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