Best of

The 7 Best Sounding Cars of All Time

It is worth noting that the cars which make the most glorious noises are often also the most beautiful.
Gary Grant

Without question, one of the most addictive qualities of the automobile is its ability to excite all of our senses at once. The sights, smells, and sound of a great car are almost as important as the tactile experience of actually driving.

As I present my list of the best sounding cars of all time, it is worth noting that the cars which make the most glorious noises are often also the most beautiful. Here they are, in no particular order.


Jaguar D-Type

One of the most iconic automotive shapes of all time, the Jaguar D-Type was built from 1954-57, with only 71 units being completed. Powered by a glorious sounding straight six engine measuring between 3.0-3.8 L depending on not only the year built, but the years in which the car competed, the D-Type was a Le Mans winning wonder. The slippery body and powerful engine allowed for a top speed of almost 280 km/h.

The car in the video has a uniquely Canadian history, having been here for many years.



Fast forward nearly a quarter century and engine design had come a very long way, with the straight 6 sounding like a totally different style of engine. Where the Jaguar had a deep, guttural growl, the BMW M1 Procar wails.

Built between 1978 and 1981 as a homologation special to allow BMW to compete in sportscar racing, the M1 did not fit the rules package by the time it was built. Instead, the cars were raced in a single marque series called the BMW M1 Procar Championship. The series ran as a support race for Formula 1 in 1979 and ‘80 and featured many F1 drivers. Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet won the two championships.

The M1 is still a fan favourite in vintage racing and European hill climbs, largely because of the ungodly scream the cars make.


Ferrari 250 GTO

No list of great sounding cars would be complete without a V12 Ferrari and what better example to choose for this list than the simply awe inspiring 250 GTO? Another car built for homologation to allow use in racing, the 39 examples of 250 GTO models were produced between ‘62-’64, with a price of $18,000 US dollars. In 1962, the average family income in the U.S. was just $4,400. Think about that for a minute.

The GTO was built to race against machines like the Shelby Cobra and E-Type Jaguar and featured a 4.0L V12 which generated about 300 horsepower. The sound the machine made while generating those ponies is nothing short of glorious. In yet another video from Petrolicious, enjoy more than 7 minutes of the 250 GTO in action!


Audi Quattro

You could say that the Audi Quattro, aka Ur-Quattro, not only changed the world of rally forever when it burst onto the World Rally Championship circuit in 1980, but eventually changed the retail market as well. The effects of that first ever all wheel drive rally car are still in evidence today in most new car showrooms, as many consumers seek out the safest powertrain configuration.

The Group B era of rallying was the pinnacle of extreme automotive engineering, as manufacturers sought to outdo each other in the most pure form of autosport and the Quattro was the class of the field. To this day, the unique wail of the turbocharged 5-cylinder Audi stands as one of the most recognizable automotive sounds, backed up as it is with bangs and pops, each accompanied by bursts of flame from the exhaust.


Matra-Simca MS670

Not well known by many North American race fans, the MS670 was a force to be reckoned with in the early Seventies, winning the World Championship for Makes for Group 5 prototypes.

Powered by a screaming 3.9 L V12, the MS670 won the ‘73 and ‘74 championships and the 1974 Le Mans 24 Hours race with Jean-Pierre Jarier and Jacky Ickx at the helm.

The sound of this monster is simply unforgettable.



Created as Grand Prix racing began following the end of World War 2, the BRM V16 is a bit of a marvel. Oversimplifying the description somewhat, the V16 was essentially two tiny V8 engines which had been connected into one unit, so tiny that even with 16 cylinders, it displaced just 1.5L. It created a massive 600 horsepower at 12,000 rpm although there are estimates that it could spin up as high as 14,000 rpm.

Infamous for its unreliability, the complex engine is also considered to be one of the best sounding engines of all time.


Mazda 787B

My final pick for the best sounding car of all time is admittedly a bit of a double edged sword. As many gearheads LOVE the sound of a well tuned rotary, probably just as many absolutely hate the sound.

As I am about to stuff a 13B in my 65 Spridget, I admit to being biased, but how the hell can anybody hate the scream that says “I won the 59th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans”?

10 of the greatest Le Mans racers

Follow on


Instagram #wheelsca

Show Comments