That's it?!!! 10HP for all that money?!!! by: Chuck Montecillo (Clunky Driver)
Thursday, 30 November 2000 08:00

That's it?!!! 10HP for all that money?!!!
by: Chuck Montecillo (Clunky Driver)

Well, it seems that our community of drag racers are becoming very educated, indeed. Judging by the poll results, 50% of you answered correctly! Yes, the average HP increase when installing a free flow air filter, headers and a free flow muffler IS just 10HP. The operative word here is AVERAGE. Some engines do get a higher HP increase, but some less. For example, the SOHC engine from Honda, the D16, gets a boost of 11HP by just removing the air silencer below the air box! This doesn't even include the installation of the K&N air filter! By contrast, the venerable B16A engine, also from Honda, will only get around 6.3HP more when installing ALL of the three modifications.

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Which brings me to a very interesting point. Since we now know that the average increase is ONLY 10HP, which is barely perceptable, how much do we "hotrodders" pay for such a miniscule increase? In the Philippines, our culture has taught us to be very "brand" conscious. From the socks we wear, to the very type of cellphone we carry, brand names have a great impact. Especially in our wallets! This behavior also makes its way to the descisions we make when deciding on which performance enhancing product we want to install. Some would rather pay the premium for Recaro seats over Sparco seats or going with the Tanabe Racing Medalion muffler over say, a Fremuff muffler.

So, how much do we really pay for that extra 10HP? For some, that figure would exceed the 100,000Php range, all top quality brand names! Most of us, though, pay in the range of 8,000Php to 15,000Php for a mix of local and branded parts. Is there really such a difference? Performance wise, NO. But, I'm sure those who spent the most feel better knowing they can brag about the parts list they have come to compile.

Let's take an imaginary Honda Civic VTi. A nitrous kit costs 50,000Php (installed). That'll increase your HP by 50 HP! That comes to 10,000Php for every 10HP. Now, let's install an Iceman intake, DC Headers and a 5Zigen Fireball muffler. Your bill just came in at 80,000Php!!! At best, your HP increased by 15HP. For 30,000Php less, you just left that noisy Civic in the dust, with your "stock" sounding car.

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Here's another senario, say the NOS fill-ups are too costly and you really like the loud exhaust tone. You stop by your local Nodalo's Muffler shop and have their header installed. Then, you drive over to Fremuff and get their bolt-on exhaust kit. So, far you've only spent 7,000Php. Next stop, is your local hardware store. You buy some dryer hose and a couple of clamps. After that, you install a drop in K&N filter and remove the air silencer. With the dryer hose, you make a "ram-air" tube leading to the opening below the air box. Your total cost... Roughly, 11,000Php. You just matched the HP increase of the branded parts, but spent 69,000Php less!!! You can still buy that NOS kit and have money left over for lots of fill-ups!

Most people stop at this level of modification, since they drive their cars on a daily basis and view drag racing as just a hobby (unlike us, right?). By spending money wisely, you can really go much quicker than other cars. I've tried this on a friend's '93 Honda Civic Esi (US model), less the K&N filter (we used the stock paper filter). He ran a best ET of 14.5 seconds at 97mph!!! Not bad for 3 mods! (parts used- 2 chamber Flowmaster muffler, removal of the intake silencer and a 50HP NOS kit)

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Now, before anyone says I'm ragging on brand name parts, let me say, I'm not doing that. I just want to illustrate that there are more ways to skin a chicken (or in this case, knock off a a couple of seconds in your ET)!

Aftermarket manufacturers of high-performance products have invested millions of dollars to giving you, the consumer, the best parts possible. They do all the machine work, testing and R&D so you can just simply have a mechanic (or you) bolt-on the performance. That's why they cost so much. But, with a little inginuity, you can also get the same performance and save quite a bit of money while you're at it. Going fast ISN't just for the rich (trust me, money can't buy you driving skills)!

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So, to sum it all up, if you have the "bucks", by all means, buy the best parts you can afford. But, if you are like most of us, use your head. Look around, read, surf the Internet for information and test reports. Then, when you've figured out what to do, spend your money wisely. Before you know it, you'll be dusting that car who always had the best of everything!