No. 1 SSC Ultimate Aero
Base Price: $654,500
Top Speed: 260 to 273 mph
The Ultimate Aero is one of the most extreme vehicles--make that one of the most extreme ideas--of which we have ever heard. It achieves such ridiculous performance with a 1,046-horsepower V-8 engine (you read that hp figure correctly), shoehorned into a car that weighs as much as a Dodge Neon.
No. 2 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo
Base Price: $555,000
Top Speed: 240 to 260 mph (estimated)
About as fast and pricey as a car can be (any car, not just an American one), Saleen's S7 has been around for enough years to become an icon in the auto world, even if it may not have widespread public exposure. Recently overhauled, the S7 now features a 750-hp V-8.
No. 3 Evans 387 and 487 (tie)
Base Prices: $175,000 (387); $170,000 (487)
Top Speed: 206 mph
Evans, a small automaker started in 1986, makes street-legal racecars that are anything but subtle. Both Evans' 387 and 487 models use 7.0-liter, 550-hp V-8 engines.
* Pictured above: The Evans 386. The 387 is the same car with a different engine.
No. 4 Ford GT
Base Price: $141,245
Top Speed: 205 mph
If the American auto business reverses its fortunes and returns to fighting strength, the GT will be adduced as a turning point. People will remember it for reminding the world--when the world needed reminding--how amazing, fast and beautiful an American car could be.
No. 5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Base Price: $65,800
Top Speed: 198 mph
The newest Corvette is also the fastest Corvette ever. Recently released, the Z06 has about as low a sticker price as a car with 505 hp can have.
No. 6 Dodge Viper SRT-10
Base Price: $85,745
Top Speed: 190 mph (estimated)
The top-speed figure posted here applies both to Dodge's classic Viper convertible and its new hardtop version of the car.
No. 7 Mullen M-11 with V-8
Base Price: $69,950
Top Speed: 180+ mph
Mullen is a small company that builds kit cars, but also pre-assembled, hand-built models. Its M-11 sports car can come with a 400-hp Corvette V-8.
* Pictured above: Mullen M-11 (not necessarily with V-8 engine)
No. 8 Panoz Esperante GTLM
Base Price: $121,325
Top Speed: 180 mph
A perennial favorite of ours, the Esperante is a low-volume model line built by Georgia-based Panoz. Its flagship model is the GTLM convertible, which delivers stunning performance to complement good looks and a high level of interior comfort and practicality.
No. 9 Chrysler 300C SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Dodge Magnum SRT8 (tie)
Base Prices: $42,695 (300C), $38,095 (Charger) and $37,995 (Magnum)
Top Speed: 165 to 170 mph (estimated)
Among American automakers, Chrysler and Dodge have recently started producing the most consistently good new cars. They are making their name with strong designs and high-performance vehicles. The best combination of sharp new looks and strong performance is Chrysler Group's family of "SRT8" cars, which are all new and highly desirable.
* Pictured above: Dodge Charger SRT8
No. 10 Cadillac CTS-V
Base Price: $51,395
Top Speed: 163 mph
The CTS-V sedan was the first entry in Cadillac's new high-performance V-Series line. Soon, an STS-V sedan and XLR-V convertible will join the lineup, but for now the CTS-V is all there is.