1977 Oldsmobile Toronado XSR, Most-Powerful American Cars

The Oldsmobile Toronado was the third most powerful American car of 1977. Note that the T-Top roof depicted in this brochure image never reached production.

Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate the extent to which emissions equipment and low-octane unleaded fuel had impacted the power output of new-vehicle engines is to note the following:

The most powerful engine available from AMC–the 360-cubic-inch V8–was good for just 140 horsepower.  Meanwhile, AMC’s 304-inch V8 had been emasculated to just 120 horsepower.

Still, not every maker had been hit as hard as AMC by the double whammy of clean-air- and low-lead regulations. Shoppers looking to crack the magic 200-horsepower line could still do so, though just barely.

Presented here are the five most powerful American vehicles of 1977. If you’ve spent time with any of these “muscle cars,” do tell us about it.

The most-Powerful American Cars of 1977

The Most-Powerful American Cars of 1986

The Most-Powerful American Cars of 1991


Chevrolet Corvette: 210 Horsepower

1977 Chevrolet Corvette

1977 Chevrolet Corvette

Engine: 350-cubic-inch L-82 V8

Status: $495 option

Standard Engine: 180-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V8


Lincoln Continental and Continental Mark V: 208 Horsepower

1977 Lincoln Continental

1977 Lincoln Continental

Engine: 460-cubic-inch V8

Status: Standard Continental Sedan and Coupe, $133 optional Mark V

Standard Engine: 179-horsepower 400-cubic-inch V8 (Mark V)


Oldsmobile Toronado: 200 Horsepower

1977 Oldsmobile Toronado

1977 Oldsmobile Toronado

Engine: 403-cubic-inch V8

Status: Standard


Pontiac Firebird: 200 Horsepower

1977 Pontiac Firebird Formula

1977 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Engine: 400-cubic-inch V8

Status: Optional Trans Am ($50, deletes standard automatic transmission), optional Formula ($205)

Standard Engine: 185-horsepower 403-cubic-inch V8 (Trans Am), 301-cubic-inch V8 (Formula)


Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis: 197 Horsepower

1977 Ford LTD Landau

1977 Ford LTD Landau

1977 Mercury Marquis Brougham

1977 Mercury Marquis Brougham








Engine: 460-cubic-inch V8

Status LTD: Optional coupe and sedan ($297), wagons ($189)

Standard engine LTD: 351-inch V8 (coupe and sedan) 400-inch V8 (wagons)

Status Marquis: Standard Marquis Brougham and Grand Marquis, optional base Marquis and wagons ($225)

Standard engine Marquis: 400-inch V8 (base Marquis and wagons)

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