It can be surprisingly affordable to get a thousand horses under the hood.
The fastest car at the beginning of the 20th century was the Mercedes-Simplex. It had 60 horsepower, a top speed of 73 mph, and featured cutting edge technology including a magneto-electric spark ignition system and a single spray-nozzle carburetor. By the 1940s, the Jaguar XK 120 was making just over 160 hp and had a top speed of 132 mph. During the 1960s, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 had more than doubled that with over 350 hp and could push up to 174 mph. Then, in the 1980s, the Ferrari F40 pushed over the 200 mph mark using 471 hp. In 2010, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport cleared the 1,000 horsepower mark by 200 hp and hit 268 mph.
Today, entry-level economy cars often compare to the 160 hp of the 1940s Jaguar, which was a supercar of its day. Over 700 hp is attainable now by splashing some cash at the dealer, but 1,000 hp still isn't typical, although more and more cars are grabbing headlines with that magic number. If you want to experience the rush of 1,000 hp or more, these are the cars to do it in.
Rimac Automobili's Concept_One was a spectacular electric hypercar. The Croatian company's follow up is the Rimac C_Two, and like its predecessor, is also an electric hypercar. However, where the original generated 1,224 hp, the current model pushes 1,914 hp, and Rimac claims it will go from a standstill to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds. Only 150 units were slated to be built at $1.9 million and all have been sold. However, we suspect that if you turned up to Rimac's head office with a briefcase full of cash, they wouldn't turn you down.
It's not just phenomenally fast; it's luxurious on the inside and a beautifully sculpted piece of art on the outside. The Bugatti Chiron's centerpiece is an 8.0-liter 16-cylinder powerplant with four turbochargers attached that generates an insanity-inducing 1500 hp and 1180 lb-ft of torque. Bugatti says the Chiron will scream to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds before it goes on to a top speed of 261 mph. The Chiron Super Sport 300+ cranks the potency up to 1,578 hp, and, in the hands of test driver Andy Wallace, a prototype hit 304.773 mph last year. With a price tag of $3.9 million for a Chiron Super Sport 300+, that's around $13,000 per horsepower.
The Regera could turn out to be Christian Koenigsegg's masterpiece. It's complex, it's fast, and it's expensive. The combustion engine alone puts the Regara in this list, but when its 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 is combined with the three electric motors, there's over 1,500 hp at the driver's disposal. It has a single fixed-gear transmission with a 2.73:1 reduction ratio, so the electric motors fill in the power until the V8 is ready to come on song. For all that technology and power, the Regara commands a price of around $1.9 million.
According to Ultima, the RS model is a relatively affordable way to get into a car with over 1,000 hp. It's a kit car, so you can choose to put it together yourself or order a turnkey, US road-legal solution that includes a worked-over supercharged Chevy LT5 V8 crate engine generating the magic 1,200 horsepower. It also weighs just 2,094 lbs, and as a result, will hit 60 mph in a breathtaking 2.3 seconds. Ultima is cagey on pricing but says you can get into an RS for the price of a BMW M3, around $66,500, but the turnkey solution is likely to double that.
If you want the rush of over 1,000 hp and everyone to sit up and take notice on a track day, the Zenvo TSR-S fits the bill perfectly. The 5.8-liter V8 is based on a General Motors LSX crate engine and includes a flat-plane billet crankshaft connected to forged pistons to handle the extra power generated by two superchargers.
While the Zenvo TSR-S screams around a track, it's the car's aerodynamics that will keep onlookers hooked. It has a massive rear wing that uses two hydraulic actuators that can adjust it on the fly by up to 20 degrees on the car's longitudinal axis. In other words, the wing leans with the car into the corners, lowering it on the wheel-side on the inside of a turn. While the Danish manufacturer doesn't make a lot of vehicles, it'll build you one for around $1.6 million.
A Hennessey car is inevitable in this list and the Exorcist Camaro is available direct from a Chevrolet dealer. Not only does the Exorcist have 1,000 hp under the hood but, to get it to 60 mph in just 2.1 seconds, the engine also produces a scorching 883 lb-ft of torque. That power comes courtesy of a built engine with a 2.9-liter supercharger system bolted to it. According to Hennessey, it will run the quarter-mile in 9.57 at 147 mph, then go on to a top speed of 217 mph. Also, according to Hennessey, only 100 are being built at the cost of $119,950 apiece.
Lebanon Ford Performance is a Ford dealer based out of Ohio with a history of selling Mustangs with a lot of power for more than reasonable money. The Mustang LFP 550 is a 550-hp 2.3-liter turbo-4 Mustang that costs just $32,995. That's why everyone's ears perked up when the dealership announced it's selling a 2020 Mustang GT with a Whipple 3.0 Gen 5 Stage 2 supercharger attached to the 5.0-liter V8, along with heavy-duty cooling and heat exchangers fitted. It comes tuned for 93 octane fuel for the street and E85 fuel when you want to smoke everything in sight.
The other route to 1,000 hp Lebanon Ford Performance has involves a D1X Procharger Stage 2 supercharger with straight cut gears and a Big Red blowoff valve so people can hear when you're coming off the throttle as well. The best thing here is the cost, as either option is yours for $54,995.
Yenko is an old and storied name attached to the history of the Camaro, and, as a result, you can order the Yenko/SC Camaro from any Chevy dealer in the US. That's assuming the 50 Specialty Vehicle Engineering says it's making for 2020 haven't sold out, because a 1,000 horsepower Camaro for just $70,000 is one hell of a value proposition. You can get it based on either Camaro 1SS or 2SS trims with the massive 6.8-liter supercharged version of GM's LT1 V8 engine sitting underneath a unique carbon-fiber hood.
If you want something more sizable and capable off the road than a car, and don't mind a 2019 model, then, for now, Specialty Vehicle Engineering has the answer. The SVE Suburban and Tahoe can be bought through Chevrolet dealerships, complete with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, and with a 1,000 hp. The V8 under the hood is based on the LT1 found in the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette and bored out to 6.8 liters before a supercharger is added. The result is 1,000 hp and 875 lb-ft of torque, but only in rear-wheel-drive models.
The Rezvani Tank has moved on from using the bones of the JK generation Jeep to the JL platform. With a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine from the Dodge Demon upgraded to make 1,000 horsepower and 870 pound-feet, the Rezvani Tank X starts at $155,000. Rezvani claims it's the "most powerful production SUV in the world," but the SVE Suburban & Tahoe above beat it out on torque by five ft-lb. What Chevrolet and HVE don't have is the option for a thermal night vision system, protection against electromagnetic pulses, or a $349,000 Tank Military Edition version.