What’s the point of getting into one of the fastest American cars if you don’t want to go really fast?

There is something about driving fast that infects you. The thrust of the car, pulling itself forward on the asphalt. The rumbling in the car’s frame, in your bones of the engine as it propels you ahead. The light pull of wispy G Forces cuddling you into the seat. Your fingers grip the steering wheel, and your foot slowly pushes the gas pedal down further and further. Before you, the road unfolds its twists and turns until it’s just you and it. While it may not be correct to call it a religious experience, it’s definitely on the right side of transcendental.

While there are fine automakers all over the world, there is something about fast cars that feels quintessentially American. But for decades, the high speed monsters eating up the asphalt came from overseas. Porsche, Ferarri, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and other overseas automakers have been the first ones people think of when they want to combine luxury with speed. However, those days are bygone like the days of hand crank engines and no seat belts. Today, the fastest American cars give the fastest foreign cars a literal run for their money.

What makes the fastest American cars, uh, so fast?

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Credit: Kamal Aboul-Hosn, Flickr

To understand what makes these cars perform as they do, you have to understand a little bit about how cars work in general. Sure, we all know you dump some gas in the tank, start up the engine, hit the pedal, and go. But it’s a little more complicated than that, especially when you are looking to maximize your speed.

For the tinkerers, there are many tricks you can pull under the hood of a car to make it go faster than it would otherwise. From upgrading the air intake to adding forced induction to your engine, you can push any car faster and faster. For example, you can upgrade the exhaust headers, manifolds, and add a high-flow cat-back exhaust system to a vehicle and significantly increase the power your engine produces.

They even have high-performance chips you can add to your car’s computer to increase fuel-to-air ratios, torque, and other features as if you were Knight Rider. (The cars don’t talk to us in a sassy British accent…yet!). This, however, is not what we are talking about here. This compilation of the fastest American cars features vehicles that are insanely fast right off the dealer’s lot.

What is involved in these fastest American cars then?

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When it comes to the fastest American cars, it’s not just about the engine. Power is the force that pushes a car along the road. Engines produce this power by mixing fuel and air, then burning that mixture for an explosive thrust forward. Power is measured by horsepower. One horsepower equals 550 foot pounds per second.

However, all that power has to get to the axle to turn the wheels. For that, cars depend on their power train, which are used to reduce friction and resistance. Other factors, such as how many cylinders are firing in the engine, also contribute to creating speed.

But it’s not just the engine that contributes to reaching the insane top speeds you can hit with the fastest American cars. As any sophomore physics student can tell you, when trying to figure out your speed you need to account for weight. If you have two cars with equally powerful engines, they won’t go the same speed if they are made from different materials. If one has a carbon fiber and aluminum body and the other is made from heavier metals, like steel, the latter car will never be able to go as fast as the former.

Finally, the design of the car plays a role in its speed, too. You might think how a car looks is all about style, but that’s not so. An aerodynamic shape is essential if you want to reach top speeds, especially because air causes greater resistance the faster you go. That’s why so many of the fastest American cars feature rounded edges and low profile designs. This is so the air flows over it with little resistance allowing them it go faster and faster. 

The Ten Fastest American Cars on the Road Right Now:

Now that you know exactly why these cars are as fast as they are, it's time to look at what's on the road. These ten fastest American cars want you to take them for a test drive!

1.Tesla Model S P100D

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When it comes to the fastest American cars, a top speed of a little more than 150 miles per hour doesn’t really seem that impressive. However, what if the car reached that speed without burning a single drop of gas? Tesla’s Model S P100D is one of the fully electric cars from Elon Musk’s powerhouse automaker. The P100 boasts a 762 horsepower engine and accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds. With electric cars still growing and developing, the P100 is a pioneer, and a car that enthusiasts won’t soon forget. The automakers even have a little fun with themselves, dubbing the P100’s power “Ludicrous Mode,” a sly reference to Spaceballs.

2. Ford Mustang Shelby GTO

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Credit: Ford Motor Company

Any list of the fastest American cars must include a Ford Mustang. The GT350 is a 2018 model that is as beautiful to look at as it is fun to drive. Sculpted like something between a marble statue and a futuristic spaceship, the GT350 looks like a Mustang but also feels fresh and new. Accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, this rocket on four wheels can blast open a straightaway while handling corners well at high speeds. Still, the GT350 is a powerful beast. The V8 engine features 525 horsepower that combines with 429 pounds per foot of torque. It’s a powerful car that’s fun to drive, and you’ll look good doing it.

3. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

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Credit: Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Camaro is one of the most iconic fastest American cars in production. Showing off a near total redesign of the ZL1 line of Camaros, the ZL1 1LE cuts a sharp profile as it flies down the road. It’s lighter than its predecessors, which of course means that it is faster. The 6.2 liter V8 engine can produce 650 horsepower for top speeds of about 190 miles per hour. This car really feels and looks like a sports car, and its expected to become one of the most impressive vehicles in the Chevrolet stable. Before 2017, the Camaro struggled and hit some snags, but Chevrolet was not only unwilling to give up on this brand, it knew it could recreate it to better match the classic memory of these iconic cars.

4. Chevrolet Corvette

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Credit: Powhusku, Flickr

From drag-racing subculture to rock and roll videos, one of the fastest American cars is also one of the most iconic. The Chevrolet Corvette has inspired the country from its appearances on television, film, and music, most specifically the late Prince’s classic song “Little Red Corvette.” With a classic design and a telltale engine sound, people know the Corvette and love it. There are a number of models of Corvettes that belong on this list. The first is the Z06 which can go from zero to sixty miles per hour in just under three seconds with its 650 horsepower engine. The Z07 is the same under the hood, but adds lighter weight body panels and components in addition to premium tires. Both of these top out anywhere from 180 miles per hour to 195 miles per hour. But, the ZR1 is perhaps the most powerful Corvette of all time. It’s 755 horsepower engine can hit top speeds of 212 miles per hour. This means it can travel a quarter of a mile in just ten seconds. 

5. Equus Bass 770

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Credit: Equus

While most of the names on this list are what you usually think of when pondering the fastest American cars, the Equus Bass 770 is a newcomer. The company, based in the original Motor City of Detroit, Michigan, hit the scene in 2014 and has since made a name for itself. The design of the body screams classic Americana, with smooth lines and a muscle car feel. The body is mostly carbon fiber and aluminum, which makes it very light. The 6.2 liter V8 engine is supercharged with 640 horsepower, making the Bass 770 capable of hitting 200 miles per hour. The engine is essentially a tweaked copy of the Chevrolet Corvette engine, but the design and features of the car are all Equus. It is a serious machine, and it’s brought the world of automobile construction back to Detroit. 

6. Cadillac CTS-V

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Credit: Zombieite, Flickr

When you think of Cadillac, you probably think elegance more than you think of speed. Cadillac is so closely associated with luxury automobiles it has become a point of reference for other fields. If you had the best smart refrigerator on the market, you’d probably refer to it as “the Cadillac” of smart refrigerators. However, it’s not just luxury that the Cadillac CTS-V is known for, but also speed. The CTS-V boasts a supercharged V8 engine capable of hitting top speeds of 200 miles per hour. The engine has 640 horsepower, but the body is heavier than other cars on this list. Still it can make the jump from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, which will leave other luxury car drivers coughing on your dust. The CTS-V is all Cadillac and has many of the high-class features you expect in a luxury car, but just with a little more power under the hood than you might expect. 

7. Dodge SRT Viper

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Credit: Abdullah Al Bargan, Flickr

Dodge is one of the great American automakers, so it should be no surprise that it is the manufacturer featured most heavily on this list of the fastest American cars. For decades, the one make of Dodge that has most car enthusiasts salivating at the mere mention of its name is the SRT Viper. A sleek car with smooth curves and a low profile, the Viper is an amazing piece of machinery. Under the hood you’ll find an 8.4 liter, V10 engine capable of 640 horsepower and speeds topping out at 206 miles per hour. It can go from zero to sixty miles per hour in just three seconds, but this is a car made for high speeds and long hauls. The Viper can keep pace with Ferraris and just about another fast car out on the market.

8. Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

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Credit: Lucas Dash, Pintrest

The next Dodge to appear on our list of the fastest American cars is another classic with a much longer history than the Viper. The SRT Charger is part of the recently relaunched line of the classic muscle car. It features a big body, four doors, and angular lines evoking the designs of decades past while still looking like something out of the future. The supercharged 6.2 liter V8 engine draws on its 707 horsepower to reach an amazing top speed of 204 miles per hour. It’s easily the fastest sedan in the world, but it cuts a much different profile than the CTS-V does. From a dead stop to 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds, the SRT Charger is an impressive car that can still feed your need for top speeds. Even still, the larger design can also help ferry the kids to and from practices and can make that trip to the grocery store a little more fun that you might expect. 

9. Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

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Credit: Dodge

Dodge’s final appearance on our list of the fastest American cars is also it’s slowest, (if you consider 199 miles per hour "slow"). The Challenger SRT Hellcat is a car that looks as if it jumped through a time tunnel from the heyday of the 1960s muscle car craze to the streets of the modern day. It has a smooth design, with soft curves and sharp angles. It might look a little “boxy” to those who love the spaceship stylings of some of the high performance autos out there. But the Challenger SRT Hellcat evokes a classic look that, frankly, never will go out of style. It’s not just a pretty machine, either. This 707 horsepower car takes roughly three seconds to go from zero to 60 miles per hour. It has a robust and distinctive engine sound, and if you feel the call of the open road there is no better car with which to answer it.

10. Hennessey Venom

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Credit: Ishmail Taha, Flickr

Until recently the Italian-made Bugatti was the fastest thing on four wheels, at least until the Hennessey Venom GT blew apart its record. Hennessey is a car company based in Texas that makes cars to break records. The GT has a 1,244 horsepower, twin turbocharged V8 engine it uses to hit top speeds of 270 miles per hour. Not enough for the Texas coachbuilder, the forthcoming Venom F5 could hit even faster speeds. The 7.4 liter V8 engine is also twin-turbocharged and produces 1,600 horsepower and 1,3000 pounds per foot of torque. If any car is going to break the 300 miles per hour barrier, it will be this one. Of course, the Hennessey line of cars is not exactly for everyday driving, and it has a hefty price tag. The GT, for example, will set you back more than one million dollars.

Now that you know which are the fastest American cars, get out there and drive.

As we said above, there is just something about driving fast that feels almost magical. You are surrounded by the height of American ingenuity and technological advancement. Yet, there is something about driving that feels totally natural -- just you and the open road. It’s exhilarating and calming all at the same time. Behind the wheel of one of these fastest American cars, you will know just what we’re talking about.

Did you enjoy this list? We certainly hope you did and found it helpful. However, if there are any cars we missed, let us know in the comments below. Share this with the car enthusiasts in your life.

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