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How to Increase Horsepower in a Corvette

by Scott Eilers; Updated November 07, 2017

The Corvette is a two-door, rear-wheel drive sports car first introduced in 1953 by General Motors, under the Chevrolet badge. The Corvette remains in production today, making it one of the longest-running production vehicles in American automotive history, according to General Motors. Every version of the Corvette, from the original 1953 model which produced 150 horsepower, to the 2010 Z06, which produces 480 horsepower, can be made more powerful via the purchase and installation of performance aftermarket upgrades.

Purchase and install a performance aftermarket cold-air intake system. The Corvette's cold-air intake system is responsible for cooling and directing air into the engine. Performance aftermarket cold-air intakes are designed for maximum airflow, whereas the stock cold-air intake is fairly restrictive to reduce engine noise. Installing a performance aftermarket cold-air intake typically results in a boost of 5 to 20 horsepower, according to manufacturer claims, depending on the model and year of Corvette.

Purchase and install a performance aftermarket exhaust system. Exhaust systems allow warm air to flow out of the engine to maintain a lower engine operating temperature. As with cold-air intake systems, stock exhaust systems are fairly restrictive to minimize engine noise and emissions. Installing a performance aftermarket exhaust system can provide a power increase of roughly 10 to 40 horsepower, based on manufacturer claims. Note that doing so will typically make the engine louder and will increase the Corvette's emissions. Make sure to consult the automotive regulations for your state before installing an aftermarket exhaust system, as you may inadvertently cause your Corvette to lose its street-legal status.

Purchase and use a handheld flash tuner. Tuners can only be used on Corvettes that have an onboard computer. General Motors began putting onboard computers in its Corvettes in the early 1980s, depending on trim line. Tuners reprogram the vehicle's onboard computer, which can provide a moderate horsepower boost to a stock Corvette. More importantly, a tuner will maximize the horsepower gains of any aftermarket modifications you make to your Corvette. A Corvette with an onboard computer should be tuned after each installation of a performance aftermarket component.

About the Author

Scott Eilers began writing professionally in 2006. He has been published as a coauthor in "Measurement in Counseling and Development" and "The Journal of Counseling and Development." He holds a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Science in clinical psychology from Argosy University.

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