10 Key Tips to Supercharge Your Muscle Car

If you love muscle cars, you know the right modifications can take your basic stock-equipped model up a few notches on the coolness meter. Whether your muscle car is a newer model or reached classic status a while ago, you can find some creative ways to mod it out.

Mods aren’t all that tricky if you at least inform yourself of all the basics. While some muscle cars are naturally so amazing that you might not wish to mod them, you might find yourself looking for a few ways to help your car stand out at car shows and on the road.

Let’s review 10 ways to mod your muscle car to perform to your standards.

Add an Aftermarket Exhaust

Add an Aftermarket Exhaust
Image: Shutterstock.com

Adding in a supercharger but keeping the stock exhaust won’t let the supercharger’s power truly shine. You will want to get the most respiration possible, which means putting on an aftermarket exhaust.

You can put some long-tube headers, cat-back mufflers, or new X- or H-pipes on if you’d like. It’s all about whatever leaves everyone else in the dust.

Add a Supercharged Engine

Add an Aftermarket Exhaust
Image Editorial credit: Barry Blackburn / Shutterstock.com

Muscle cars – even the new ones being put onto the market today – do not always have the beefy engines we expect. That can make for a disappointing performance. If you want something to assist your naturally aspirated engine, bolt on a supercharger and see how you like the power output.

Adding a supercharger allows a computer to determine the fuel and air mixture best suits your car, leading to a muscle car sprinting for longer jaunts. The better your car can breathe, the better its performance will be. Superchargers aren’t expensive but are effective at beefing up power.

Enhance Purity in the Air Intake

Since we’re talking about breathing, the purer the air quality you get into your car’s ‘lungs,’ the better. Like humans, cars need to get clean O2 through their systems. Your car’s engine needs the most – and cleanest – air possible, so you need to ditch your paper air filters and swap in a high-flow cone air filter.

Not only are air filters incredibly inexpensive, but they also help a lot of aspects of under-the-hood performance.

Buy a Shift Kit and Shifter

If you want to get your muscle car up and moving a bit faster, consider getting a brand new gear shifter–and altogether better. If you are driving a stick like a classic muscle car lover, a short shifter can help reduce pickup lag in your vehicle.

Want to stick with an automatic? You need to invest in a short-throw shift kit. This sends the car into higher gears more quickly and helps you speed things up when you are on the highway. Driving with a short-throw shift kit swapped in is more efficient and engaging.

Grab a Performance Camshaft

Tweak your horsepower using a performance-oriented camshaft. The stock camshaft might just not be giving you enough hp. Still, a performance-oriented camshaft adds several ponies to the lackluster stock vehicle, even without any other modifications. The valve opening times for every engine stroke are better, resulting in more hp and swifter acceleration.

Even without another mod, a mild camshaft gets the job done. A wild camshaft is best left for an already-modded car with a supercharger under the hood.

Tune the Intake Manifold and Throttle Body

Since respiration is a huge part of how your vehicle functions, it is important to tend to the throttle body and intake manifold. You need these to make airflow move efficiently throughout the car. You can easily find a bigger aftermarket throttle body to put in. Upgrading to a larger air intake manifold isn’t remotely dangerous but helps move O2 through the vehicle.

Snag Some Nicer Wheels

Sure, alloy and other premium-grade wheels look nice on the outside, but they greatly enhance a vehicle’s performance. Aluminum alloy wheels tend to weigh less than stock steel wheels, so you don’t get as much drag and can get your vehicle moving a bit faster.

You might want to consider buying front wheels that are a touch narrower than what you currently have slapped on there. For racing purposes, use racing tires and wheels to boost your track speed and lessen the amount of traction you get.

Laugh All You Want, but Nitrous Oxide Works

Snag Some Nicer Wheels
Image Editorial credit: adolf martinez soler / Shutterstock.com

Nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – is a chemical you can put into your vehicle to garner more hp. Is it an ideal long-term solution? No. But it can take you through some races at the tracks. Of course, you should proceed cautiously since nitrous oxide can be lethal to a car engine if you put too much in.

Splurge on High-Quality Tires

One of the things I say about tires is that you usually get what you pay for. Cheap tires tend not to be up to speed, literally and figuratively. Racing tires are optimal if you plan on hitting the track on your weekend off. Radials are good for contemporary muscle cars, and if you live in a four-season climate, you should also get some winter tires that offer a lot of traction. Don’t go cheap on any of them; you could find yourself in a real pickle.

Enhanced Traction from Lower Control Arms

The average muscle car is outfitted with a respectable enough stock suspension. Of course, you might be looking for more geometric shapes where lower control arms are handy. Solid factory arms don’t provide as much stability at launch as lower control arms.

LCAs have an advanced bushing that keeps the car steady before launch, plus these LCAs can be adjusted. You will get optimal traction and a lower-flex approach for maximum launch speed off the line. Adjustable arms allow you to alter the vehicle’s ride height depending on whether you are on the track or hitting the open road.

This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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