Speed has always been king in the automotive industry. From the earliest endurance races of Europe to American muscle car mania, producing more horsepower and more torque has been the goal of manufacturers all across the world. But compared to the last decade, automotive progress has been slow for the majority of time since the invention of the internal combustion engine.
For context, the first Ford Model A only had 8 horsepower and a top speed of 28 miles per hour. By the 1970s V8s ruled the game, but even winning race cars like the Ford GT40 cranked out at around 400 horsepower.
Today's technology has exponentially increased the potential of the modern engine, and even most basic consumer cars can claim over 200 horsepower. That's thanks to improved metallurgy combined with the miracle of forced induction.
The highest performance cars in the world these days have twin turbo engines, hybrid drivetrain, 3D printed carbon fiber bodies, and can usually hit insane figures like 1,000 horsepower and 1,000 lb-ft of torque or even higher. Though no production car to date has broken the mythical 300 mph barrier, many can go from 0-60 in well below 3 seconds. In a way, modern sports cars are quickly becoming so powerful that 0-60 times may soon be obsolete.
In the meantime, keep scrolling for 20 American made cars that can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds.
20 SSC Ultimate Aero TT - 2.78 Seconds
SSC, the company formerly known as Shelby Super Cars, began developing their first production vehicle in 2004. A series of design and drivetrain developments followed for the next 9 years. These resulted in the SSC Ultimate Aero TT. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 387 cubic inch version of the Corvette C5r V8 engine, this car is able to sprint from 0-60 in 2.78 seconds because it boasts over 1,100 horsepower and nearly identical torque figures.
The mid-mounted engine is the centerpiece of the car, but its styling and features are also impressive. Fully street legal versions offered navigation systems, a 10 speaker sound system, air conditioning, and even a back-up camera which comes in handy given that you don't want to be parallel parking with a car that costs almost $300,000. That only matters if you can find one, since SSC produced only 24 units in total.
19 SSC Tuatara - 2.3 Seconds
SSC's followup to the Ultimate Aero TT is the Tuatara, which outclasses even the impressive stats of its predecessor. With an insanely high redline of 9,200 RPMs, the Tuatara's twin-turbo 6.9 liter V8 cranks out a reported 1,350 horsepower at 6,800 RPM with 1,700 horses available at the redline. The torque peaks at 1,280 lb-ft, which is strong enough to push the sleek and futuristic coupe from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds.
The billet aluminum engine, fully carbon fiber body, and seven speed manual transmission highlight the Tuatara's light weight of 2,750 pounds, which means it boasts a power to weight ratio of 1,000 horsepower per ton. The Tuatara's wheels are even constructed out of a single piece of carbon fiber to help keep its weight to a minimum.
18 Tesla Roadster - 1.9 Seconds
It's impossible to create a list of the fastest American cars without mentioning what is perhaps the most talked about car of the past decade. Tesla's second generation Roadster made waves when Elon Musk announced that it would be able to go from 0-60 in 1.9 seconds. This would make the Roadster the fastest production vehicle ever.
The torque from electric motors is available instantly, which gives EVs an advantage over their gas-powered counterparts in the supercar market even before considering that the wheel torque for the Roadster is roughly 7,400 lb-ft.
Teslas also only have one forward gear, which means there is no time lost while shifting. The battery obviously won't last long if the car is constantly driven in Ludicrous Mode, but in normal driving conditions the new Roadster will allegedly be able to cruise from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back with only one charge.
17 Tesla Model S P100D - 2.5 Seconds
While the Roadster is busy setting records for production cars, Tesla's top of the line sedan is close behind. The Model S P100D has all wheel drive and is powered by two electric motors which allow it to notch a 0-60 time of only 2.5 seconds. That's not too shabby for a spacious luxury sedan with a driving range of over 300 miles.
The Model S can even be optioned with a cabin air filter that's meant to protect passengers from biological and chemical attacks.
Even though it performs spectacularly like its Roadster sibling, the Model S starts at a fraction of the price. It's only $74,500 in its base form, and under $120,000 for the P100D. In other words, it's less than half of what the Roadster costs.
16 Tesla Model X P100D - 2.9 Seconds
The world's fastest production SUV is Tesla's Model X. With gull-wing style rear doors, a higher wind profile, and an 8% increase in weight over the Model S, the Model X makes it from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds.
The weight and size also mean the SUV can travel less distance on a single charge than the sedan, being slightly less than 300 miles. The Model X has a roomier interior than the S thanks to its larger design, and it does share 30% of its parts with its little brother. That allows Tesla to keep costs low.
Unlike the S, the X is only available in all wheel drive form.
Similar styling cues also help group the S and X together as part of Elon Musk's electric vehicle revolution.
15 Chevrolet Corvette Z07 - 2.95 Seconds
Chevy officially entered modern supercar territory with the 2015 unveiling of the Z07 package. To the Corvette Z06 recipe it adds Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, and plenty of aero features to increase downforce at speed.
With the 8 speed paddle shifted transmission, the Z07 can reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill in only 2.95 seconds thanks to a supercharged V8 engine that produces 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the Z06 only reaches 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.
Handling for the Z07 is equally impressive. The car can reach 1.2 g's on the skidpad. Starting at only $80,590 when new, the 2015 Corvette is one of the most moderately priced options out there for buyers looking for supercar performance on a budget.
14 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - 2.85 Seconds
One step up from the Corvette Z07 is the new for 2019 ZR1 package. Featuring additional intake grills, a raised carbon fiber wing in the rear, and a larger supercharger paired with a larger engine, the ZR1 will go from 0-60 in 2.85 seconds when optioned with an 8-speed paddle shifted transmission. (A seven speed manual is also available.)
The aggressive body kit hides a massive 6.8 liter V8 under the hood, and extensive use of carbon fiber in every possible element helps keep weight down but pushes the price up to at least $121,000. 755 horses and 715 lb-ft of torque available down low in the rev range combine to create a radical new entry into Chevy's history of high performance Corvettes.
13 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - 2.3 Seconds
Pure, unadulterated power is what American muscle cars are all about, and Dodge's Challenger SRT Demon lives up to the challenge. The Demon sports looks only slightly more aggressive than the standard Challenger and the Hellcat, but under the hood is a screaming supercharger that pumps air at 14.5 pounds of boost into a 6.2 liter Hemi V8.
The combination churns out 808 horsepower, and is paired to a unique 8 speed automatic that features a transmission brake for added capabilities when launching off the line.
Essentially, the car holds itself in first and second gear until the supercharger is fully pressurized.
Then, with a stomp of the accelerator and a release of the paddle shifter, the car bucks off the line at 1.80 g's. This car goes straight at very high speeds, and is available for the relatively low price of $86,000.
12 Hennessey Camaro ZL1 HPE850 Camaro - 2.7 Seconds
The Texas-based company Hennessey Performance has emerged at the top of the American high performance auto tuning crowd. Hennessey is speed obsessed, taking cars from a variety of manufacturers and cramming superchargers under the hood and refining exterior body kits to improve aerodynamics and downforce at speed.
Their upgrade for Chevrolet's Camaro ZL1 increases the 6.2 liter V8 engine's output to 858 horsepower at the crank, or 735 at the wheels.
That's good enough to send the coupe from 0-60 in only 2.7 seconds. Top speed for the HPE850 upgrade is 210 miles per hour, for those bold enough to try and lucky enough to have a location that allows them to do so. The numbers don't quite best the Challenger Demon, but the Camaro certainly has better handling in the end.
11 Hennessey Performance Camaro Exorcist (Undetermined)
Of course the crew at Hennessey couldn't sit still while the Challenger Demon dominated the speed market, so they went ahead and topped themselves with their Camaro HPE1000 upgrade, which they call the Exorcist. (It exorcises demons, duh.)
Only 100 of the Exorcist's upgrades will be available to the public, and the $119,000 per car price tag buys a 2.9 liter supercharger upgrade which forces enough air into the engine to create 1,000 horsepower.
The American made muscle car now outpaces a Maclaren 720S, a Lamborghini Huaracan, and Ferrari 812 Superfast. With custom wheels, a transmission upgrade, a tool kit, a chilled intercooler, and a laundry list of uprated internals, the Exorcist lives up to its name and even comes with a 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty.
10 Hennessey Cadillac CTS-V HPE1000 - 2.9 Seconds
For those who want supercar performance with the utility of a four door sedan (and who also need the roar of a gas engine, not an electric whine) Hennessey puts the same supercharger upgrade package that powers the Exorcist into a Cadillac CTS-V.
This new setup also puts out 1,000 horsepower, and due to the slightly heavier body of the CTS-V, launches from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds.
It's slower than the Exorcist but still a sizable improvement over the car's stock performance at 4.3 seconds.
The quarter mile flashes by in 10.5 seconds at 135 miles per hour. That's not too bad for a big sedan that easily fits four fully grown adults and can still hold a couple of bags of golf clubs in the trunk.
9 Hennessey Venom GT - 2.7 Seconds
Hennessey set out to stun the world with their Venom GT model. though it is loosely based on a Lotus Exige, it's also so highly customized that it can be considered American made. The goal of the project was to beat European manufacturers at their own game.
At the time names like Porsche, Ferrari, and Bugatti dominated the world of performance hypercars.
The end result is 0-60 in 2.7 seconds, but it's the higher end numbers that truly impress. With over 1,200 horsepower crammed into a mid-engined position in the stretched out, lightweight Lotus frame, its overall weight of 2,743 pounds allows the Venom GT to rocket to a verified top speed of 270.49 mph, and that's after running the quarter mile in only 9.92 seconds at 163 mph.
8 Hennessey Venom F5
Hennessey will follow the success of the Venom GT with the company's first attempt at building a fully custom car: the Venom F5. With a curb weight of 2,950 pounds and over 1,600 horsepower, the 0-60 time will definitely be under 3 seconds, though the true goal of the model is to break 300 miles per hour.
Along the way, it will pass 186 mph in under 10 seconds, and hit 249 mph in under 20 seconds.
The twin turbocharged, fully bespoke 7.4 liter V8 engine is mated to a seven speed automatic transmission, and just about every other part of the build is made of carbon fiber. A six speed manual transmission will also be available for purists who require a third pedal to enjoy their world class cars. At a cost of about $1.6 million, though, most enthusiasts would likely accept either transmission option if offered.
7 Hennessey Viper Venom 1000 TT - 2.7 Seconds
Though Hennessey competes at times with Dodge's Challenger models like the Hellcat and Demon, they also build their own upgraded Viper in the form of the Viper Venom 1000 TT. As you may guess, it sports twin turbos manufactured by Garrett that push enough air through a heavily modified Viper V10 to crank out over 1,000 horsepower at the wheels.
The list of custom components for the Viper Venom is quite long, from the exterior fascia to interior details like the shift knob and premium floor mats. Of course, all that really matters is that this car beat a Bugatti Veyron to 200 miles per hour in an independent Road and Track test session. At the time it was the fastest time the magazine had ever posted for a 0-200 run.
6 Ford GT - 2.8 Seconds
Ford's first GT model blew the world away when it won Le Mans for Carroll Shelby and his team back in 1967. It was the only full American car to have ever done so. With a series of wins over the next decade, the GT40 solidified its legendary status in the racing world in multiple iterations. When Ford released a new GT in 2005 fans lined up quickly, both to love and hate the new offering.
Now, a brand new GT model unveiled in 2016 will feature a twin turbocharged Ecoboost V6 capable of 647 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, which will send the ultra lightweight coupe to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.
Active aerodynamics combined with a sleek design and carbon fiber components combine to give the new GT one of the best power to weight ratios of any production car ever made.
5 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo- 2.8 Seconds
The Saleen S7 was arguably the first purpose built American supercar. It was basically a race car made for the street. The S7 debuted all the way back in the year 2000, though you'd never know it from the car's futuristic design which seems contemporary even today.
The original S7 was one of the best cars of its time, and was only improved with the introduction of a twin turbocharged engine in 2005. It allows this long, low car to blast from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds.
Steve Saleen originally intended to power the first S7 models with the twin turbo engine, but decided ultimately to go with a 351 small block V8. With an optional competition package, the newer models churn out over 1,000 horsepower, and their classically sporty looks keep the S7 relevant in the automotive world to this day.
4 Aria FXE
Unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Aria FXE is the debut supercar from a new, California-based manufacturer intent on disrupting the world of high performance and high speed. The car will feature a mid-mounted, supercharged 6.2 liter V8 engine powering the rear wheel, but that's nothing particularly special in the company of the rest of this list.
What makes the FXE stand out is that it will also feature two electric motors powering the front wheels.
These bump the whole package's total output up to 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 lb-ft of torque. The car's chassis is made of mostly 3D-printed carbon fiber, which is really Aria's specialty. They are the company that manufactures carbon fiber for Singer's heavily modified Porsche 911's. Aria's FXE will push the boundary of tech and hopes to break the 3 second 0-60 mark.
3 Trion Nemesis RR - 2.8 Seconds
Trion is a new American company founded by Rich Patterson in 2012. Their first production car is the Nemesis RR, a four wheel drive supercar that features a 9.0 liter twin turbo V8 engine producing 2,000 horsepower.
Trion's goal is to break both the overall land speed and production car speed records, and the Nemesis RR's smooth exterior shell certainly looks the part to do the deed.
The car is hyper-modern as well, with an optimized interior that will fit drivers up to seven feet tall and blast their ear drums not just with the engine's cacophony but also a 10-speaker JBL sound system. The base price for a Nemesis RR is $1.6 million, and with that kind of room inside it, Trion is clearly catering towards a very specific clientele.
2 PSC SP-200 SIN - 2.6 Seconds
Another new American company hopes to rival the hybrid supremacy of the Trion Nemesis RR, however. Las Vegas-based PSC has unveiled its SP-200 SIN, and though the name sounds more like a bar code than an actual car, the performance numbers sound pretty staggering.
The hybrid powertrain puts 2,400 horsepower entirely to the rear wheels, unlike the Trion, and even has a claimed 750 horsepower and a range of 60 miles on electric mode alone.
Production will reportedly stay limited to 35 units, so don't expect to see any SIN's in your neighborhood quite yet. A fully functioning prototype has yet to become publicly available, but if the SIN lives up to the hype then it could make quite a splash in the high performance world.
1 Acura NSX - 2.9 Seconds
When the original NSX debuted in 1991, its radical design and space age technology combined to form a futuristic sports car with that trademark Honda reliability. Fighter pilots reportedly helped in crafting the car's cockpit, while the extensive use of aluminum construction helped to keep weight down.
The car was priced well below the leading sports cars of its day.
The newest generation of NSX's continues in the original's spirit of high technology, although it doesn't quite live up to the affordability of its predecessor. It features a hybrid electric, twin turbo V6 powering the rear wheels as well as two electric motors powering the front axle, good enough to power the Acura to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. If it seems like an Acura shouldn't be on a list of American supercars, though, keep in mind that the new NSX's are manufactured in Ohio, right here in the USA.