3 Ways to Increase Muscle Car Horsepower

January 27, 2012

Muscle cars were originally designed to be small, compact and extremely powerful, with some of the biggest motors available at the time, and in recent years, muscle car design has shifted somewhat and muscle car horsepower has been put aside in favor of sleek design and aesthetic appeal. Still, depending upon your muscle car weight, there are a number of different options for you if you're interested in boosting the power of your vehicle. Before you do, however, you'd be wise to confirm your muscle car specs with a specialist so that you know the best way to go about improving the horsepower on your vehicle. There are 3 common ways that people improve the power of their muscle cars.

Number 1 — Supercharging

A supercharger works by altering the way that the combustion process in the engine of your vehicle works. Essentially, superchargers allow for more oxygen to be mixed in with the fuel just prior to combustion, meaning that a greater amount of fuel can be utilized at once. The result is a massive increase in the overall power of the vehicle. These systems are broadly referred to as forced induction devices. They do tend to be quite expensive, and a supercharger for a muscle car can cost several thousand dollars (in some cases $10,000 or more).

Number 2 — Change the Engine Controller

Modern cars have engine controller units to help regulate certain aspects of the car. These chips, called ECUs, are designed to help specify how the engine should operate. In most cases, even with muscle cars, the settings on the chip dictate that the engine focus primarily on maintaining a good balance of power and fuel efficiency. These are not ideal settings for a driver that is hoping to get the most horsepower possible from his vehicle. By purchasing an aftermarket chip of this kind, you can adjust the settings of your engine and focus primarily on delivering power rather than on maintaining fuel efficiency. These chips typically cost several hundred dollars.

Number 3 — Use a Cold Air Intake System

Similar to supercharging, a cold air intake system will increase the amount of oxygen that you can use to combine with fuel for the combustion process. This boosts the overall power of your vehicle. Cold air intake systems introduce cooled air (with a higher percentage volume of oxygen) into the system, which increases the amount of fuel that you're able to use. These systems generally cost only a few hundred dollars, making them a good alternative to supercharging for those on a budget. Keep in mind, however, that after you add a cold intake system, you may need to alter the type of gasoline that you use for your vehicle.

If you have any other questions about how to boost the horsepower in your muscle car, speak with a mechanic or an auto specialist for additional info.

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