The 10 Most Useful Bolt-On Modifications For Your Muscle Car

Nothing is as American as a muscle car with a big clunky V8 that roars to life on a single turn of the key. Since the ’60s and the ’70s, these rad machines with their imposing looks, throaty exhausts and long tire marks from burnouts have tenanted the roads of the good old USA. And continuing on this legacy, the modern descendants of these original muscle cars are surely doing what their ancestors were intended for.

However, as the saying goes “nothing is invented and perfected at the same time” these muscle cars do come with some shortcomings, but the good news is, like everything else in this world, these imperfections can be remedied. You can either ball out and do a full build on your muscle car, or you can go the easy route with subtle but important bolt-on modifications.

If you wish to go the latter route, which we definitely recommend you go at in the beginning, here is a list of 10 of the most useful bolt-on modifications that you can add to your new or old muscle car to drastically enhance its capabilities.

10 Cat-Back Exhaust: Quick Horsepower Gains

Nowadays, muscle cars come with highly restrictive exhausts because of the stringent emission norms. This inherently hurts the performance of the car and can even result in a 10-20% power loss which is obviously something that anyone would not want in their gas guzzling coupes. So to regain some of that lost power, you can opt for a cat-back exhaust.

A cat-back exhaust system comes with bigger diameter piping than the OEM exhaust. It also may or may not come with a bigger muffler, which allows the car to have a more free air flow. When a big V8 doesn’t have to work as hard to remove exhaust gases, it means that your muscle car can make more power. Well, it also adds a unique sound to your car, which is not bad thing right?

Related: 10 Best-Sounding Muscle Cars From The ’70s That Are Still Cheap

9 Cold Air Intake: More Oxygen Means More Power

One of the simplest yet most overlooked bolt-on modifications that you can do to your muscle car is adding a bigger and better cold air intake. As the name suggests, the job of this mod is to bring in more cold air to the engine. An increased amount of colder air means that the rate of oxygen combustion in the engine increases, translating to a little bump in the horsepower figure.

Another added benefit of a cold air intake is that it adds a louder and fuller sound to the car. It makes the front of any muscle car sound just as great as the rear end. Being able to hear the sound of airflow inside the intake also just adds to the muscle car drama.


Think of the engine of a muscle car as a one big air pump, it pulls in cold air for combustion to make power and then pushes out fumes. Now imagine if at the time of releasing that unwanted air, your engine isn’t able to do this efficiently. Will it be able to make more power? The answer is obviously no! So that’s exactly where a high-performance header enters the chat. A header is one of the easiest bolt-on mods that one can add to their muscle car.

A custom high performance header uses a “scavenging” effect to eliminate the exhaust gases from the engine. It creates a negative pressure wave that travels back up the header tube to the exhaust port drawing out any remaining exhaust gas from the cylinder. It facilitates a significant reduction in back pressure which in turn helps in gain of around 5% in the total pony count.

Related: 10 Performance Mods That Will Improve Your Car Instantly

7 Throttle Bodies: Control That Air Flow

By now you must have understood the importance of air flow for a muscle car or any car for that matter. As said before more air means more power and bigger aftermarket throttle bodies can help you with just that. In addition to providing increased air flow, throttle bodies also offer superior engine response.

The bigger bores and blades of an aftermarket throttle body permit more air into the engine, thus increasing the horsepower of your muscle car. But it is to be noted that although this is a bolt-on mod, your car will almost certainly still need a tune to keep the engine running without any hiccups.


6 Adjustable Shocks Or Coilovers: Handling Beats Power

Only adding a ton of horsepower to your muscle car isn’t necessarily going to make it perform better. For that you also need to make your car handle better. Muscle cars are famous for having a very unresponsive and boaty ride and replacing the old gas shock and coil springs with some new adjustable shocks or coilovers is definitely a great idea.

Aftermarket coilovers and shocks help in connecting the big bulky muscle cars to tarmac and offer a ton of control and responsiveness. With these nifty bolt-on suspension mods you can raise or lower your ride height and get that perfect stance, all while improving the handling of your gas guzzling boat on road.

Related: 15 Photos Of The Sickest Stanced Muscle Cars

5 Anti Roll Bars: Take That Corner With More Confidence

Everyone knows that muscle cars are quick in straight lines, but when it’s time to hit that corner they tend to lose the stability and the roll-over becomes awful. And this was okay by the standards of 1960s and 70s, but today it is something that is not considered to be very safe. So to address this issue you can pick yourself up some anti roll bars or sway bars as a remedy, these bolt-on mods can add some needed rigidity to your car.

Anti Roll bars can help you minimize the body lean of your muscle car and on top of that it can also help you in tuning the handling balance of your car. Although you have to keep in mind that these bars can cause some jarring and waddling sensation over uneven or broken pavement, but that obviously something that you can live with easliy.


4 Strut-Tower Brace: Brace Yourself

Another essential element in improving your old or new muscle cars handling is the installation of a strut-tower brace. This bolt-on mod coupled with other suspension upgrades can help your muscle cars handling tremendously by reducing the chassis flex and providing it a more consistent geometry.

As explained by Motor Biscuit, strut-tower braces are installed on top of the shock absorber bolts and connect the two shock towers. These bracing primarily strengthen the chassis and disperse the stresses generated when cornering thus bettering the overall handling. And the good news is that they are not that expensive and can be easily bolted on, so do look one up for your classic coupe.

Related: 9 Cheap Mods That Make A Car Go Faster (And 8 Guaranteed To Slow It Down

3 Bigger And Wider Wheels And Tires: The Most Important Mod!

If you are an automotive enthusiast then you definitely know how important a set of bigger wheels and tires is. Apart from making the car look extremely hot, they also serve a rather important purpose and that is helping in putting down that big crank horsepower.

Without a stickier, wider and bigger wheel and tire combination, no matter how many ponies you smush under that hood, it will never translate into speed. This is the exact reason why people with drag cars add more meat to their wheels.


2 Big Brakes Upgrade: Gotta Stop That Beast

You have now added a gazillion horsepower to your muscle car, but what happens when things go south? You hit the brakes of course. Which means that as much as its fun adding power, it’s equally important to have something that can bring your behemoth to a halt. So in order to do that efficiently a bigger set of brakes is what is needed.

Big brake kit upgrades help in enhancing braking power under sustained high-heat conditions and drastically reduce the time needed to stop your car. Increased strength and longevity are another huge benefits and how can we forget the endless customization options that come with them.


1 Braided Steel Brake Lines: Often Overlooked

Last but not the least, this bolt-on mod is one of the most overlooked component of upgraded braking system. This simple yet effective mod is the backbone to any efficient braking system in a car and one that should be definitely upgraded.

Stainless steel braking lines help in improving performance by reducing the issue of swelling that often occurs in rubber brake lines over a period of time. Braided stainless steel brake lines can withstand the pressure associated with the brake system and don’t swell and also provide a more firm and responsive brake feel.


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