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The Five Best American-Made Supercars

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DETROIT - JANUARY 12: The Saleen S7 sits on display at the Saleen exhibit at the North American International Auto Show January 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
The Saleen S7 sits on display at the North American International Auto Show (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The Saleen S7, which is heading back into very limited production after almost a decade, can lay claim to the title of the first true American mid-engine supercar. But that’s just a technicality. Despite a penchant for muscle-over-handling finesse, the Saleen is just the latest in a long line of supercars with an American helping hand. Below, are five more U.S. supercars that automobile fans should know about right away.

A 1972 DeTomaso Pantera on display at the 15th annual Rocky Mountain Rod and Custom Car Show at the Colorado Convention Center Friday afternoon. The show features over 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles from around the nation that are competing for a $5000 "Creme de la Chrome Award," a first for the show. The show runs through this Sunday at the Convention Center. Andy Cross, The Denver Post (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
A 1972 DeTomaso Pantera (Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The DeTomaso Pantera
It may have been built in Italy but it was designed by an American—Tom Tjaarda—and used American horsepower in the shape of the Ford V8 block. What’s more it was imported directly into the U.S. by Ford, who sold it at its Mercury dealerships and ironed out all of the issues that plagued all Italian-built cars of the era. As a result of Ford’s direct involvement, within three years of production, the Pantera was a genuinely good car capable of challenging the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini on the track and road.

Lamborghini Diablo VT (Lamborghini)
Lamborghini Diablo VT (Lamborghini)

Lamborghini Diablo
Another Italian supercar, this one was built while Lamborghini was owned by Chrysler. It was the first raging bull–badged vehicle to surpass the 200 mph barrier, and in its second iteration, the first to get all-wheel drive to cope with those ferocious levels of power. Chrysler sold Lamborghini in 1994, but not before the two companies had worked together to create the phenomenal V10 engine that would power the Dodge Viper.

2017 Ford GT '66 Heritage Edition (Ford)
2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition (Ford)

Ford GT
Unlike the car that inspired it—the original GT40—this car was built from the start to be a road-going supercar. However, one thing remained constant: It had to surpass the benchmark set by Ferrari, and that it did, thanks to a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine that delivered 550 hp, a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds, and 205 mph top speed. The result was a faster lap time than a Ferrari 350 Modena.

SSC Ultimate- Aero (SSC)
SSC Ultimate- Aero (SSC)

The SCC Ultimate Aero
The car made global headlines in 2007, when it briefly beat the Bugatti Veyron to become the world’s fastest production car, setting a Guinness-verified speed record of 256.14 mph. It managed this because of a twin-turbocharged Chevy V8 engine, but stealing Bugatti’s record simply made the VW-owned firm go back to the drawing board and return with the SuperSport, which took the record back. All versions of the Ultimate Aero went out of production in 2013.

venom_gt

The Hennessey Venom GT
No list of U.S. performance cars would be complete without the Venom, which uses the nose and doors from a Lotus (to meet crash testing regulations), but everything else is 100 percent American mechanical know-how. Its twin turbo V8 engine is capable of outputting 1,415 hp, and the Spyder version is currently the world’s fastest open-top street-legal car, having set a top speed of 265.6 mph. —Relaxnews