Big Boys Toys: customized, tuned and ready to burn the ashphalt!

12 November 2011: Automotive tuning, or car tuning as it is usually referred to, is the practice of taking a stock factory car and turning it into a personalised automobile specific to your taste and preferences. It originated in the 70's and 80's, when Japanese performance cars were 'streeted' for racing. With time some of the Japanese sports cars like the Nissan GTR Skyline gradually found their way into the European and North American markets through grey channels. Car tuners have always focussed on high performance cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan Skyline and Ford Mustang; but increasingly day to day cars are also being tuned to resemble performance sports cars.

Customized Nissan Skyline R34
(www.nissentric.com)
A car can be tuned in various ways. There are a number of components and parts that can be either removed, installed, upgraded or replaced to dramatically improve the performance, handling and appearance. Car Tuning is now a full blown industry as well as a hobby for people who were passionate about their cars. In fact, people spend as much as the cost of the car to get it modified! Here's a quick look at what you could do. And remember, it doesn't always have to be a performance car - your Swift, Beat, or even a Honda City can be transformed into a street racer!


Modified Interiors: 
Modified interiors of a SLS AMG GT3
(www.zcars.com.au)

Though most would associate interiors with appearance, the fact is that it's the most important part of a modified car. To increase performance, the car's weight can be kept low by stripping it of all unnecessary components like extra seats, center console and radio. Sometimes, an anti roll bar or cage is also installed to improve safety.

Engine Tuning:
Installing turbochargers and superchargers which are forms of forced induction is one way of tuning engines. Tuners usually prefer turbochargers, as supercharging imposes a rev limit on RPM which
Super charger
(www.evoperform.com)
decreases performance over time. An inexpensive way of increasing power output involves altering the car's ECU(electronic control unit), which is like an embedded computer that controls the multiple systems and sub systems of an engine. When a chip is installed into the ECU which increases power, it is called chip tuning. The ECU can also be completely re-mapped to considerably improve power and torque.

Exhaust Tuning:
This is an effective way of increasing the power of a car. Exhaust valves or flaps can also be installed. As of now, three performance exhaust systems are available in the market. The sports exhaust system which increases output at high revs and improves exhaust sound; the stainless steel exhaust system which is more durable and provides more power, and the super efficient titanium racing exhaust system, which provides greater performance and durability.

Suspension Tuning:
It is important that a car's suspension should be able to handle the added power, else it can become unstable and cause fatal accidents. Therefore, suspension components like sway bars are added for better handling, stability and improving the car's cornering abilities.

Body Tuning:
This is the most popular form of modification but does not necessarily improve performance. Actually, body kits and aftermarket spoilers usually make the car heavier, and also increase its drag coefficient.

Performance Tyre Tuning:
Brabus tuned Mercedes CL 800
(www.inautonews.com)
This is what influences a car's handling, cornering and on-road manners. Tyres should be selected carefully in order to improve performance. There are a range of tyres available in the market, according to terrain, weather conditions and wideness, and the one most appropriate for your car should be selected.

In the international car tuning scene the major players are Brabus, which specifically tunes Mercedes vehicles and Vorstiener, which has tuned a range of cars. Vilner, Romeo Ferraris and Lorinser are a few others. India is yet to catch up and car tuning here remains a hobby for a few auto enthusiasts who modify vehicles within a very limited network. Probably due to the absence of too many high performance cars in the market.


Big Boys Toys: customized, tuned and ready to burn the ashphalt! Big Boys Toys: customized, tuned and ready to burn the ashphalt! Reviewed by raghav sarma on Saturday, November 12, 2011 Rating: 5
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