Since the beginning of time, as it pertains to automobiles, people have been changing and modifying these mechanical wonders in the quest for more power, better handling, and simply making their car better than the next guy. But over the years, the mechanical wizardry has taken on advancements that at one time were the things of science fiction. Cars, quite literally, are more computer-controlled wonders than mechanical ones these days.

But has that made the hot rodder extinct? Not by a long shot. It seems that no matter what kind of advancement, be it mechanical or electrical, the aftermarket suppliers will come up with a way to improve upon the O.E.'s basic design. It used to be as simple as changing an intake and carb, slapping on a set of headers, or installing a set of numerically higher gears, and, presto, improved performance. Is it still that simple? When it comes to the 21st century Hemi, almost.

Sure, the engine is computer controlled. Sure, it's fuel injected. Sure, there are a lot of accessory items mounted all over the engine, but underneath it all, it's still an internal combustion powerplant. So, theoretically, a few bolt-on upgrades would be an improvement, right? Well, keep in mind, since the engine's functions are computer controlled, that computer has set parameters for the functions the engine does. So, if we add a cold-air intake system, theoretically, the calibrations will change in the computer in regards to the fuel mixture. Now, with this simple modification, the change will not violate the parameter, and the result is usually a slightly leaner condition, resulting in an increase of horsepower.

Let's get deeper into the modifications. What if we add a cold-air kit, headers, and perform a cam and head swap? these are some above-average modifications, especially to an engine as new as the 5.7 Hemi. the computer will realize the increase in cylinder pressure (depending on the new cam specs, and the head's chamber volume), and the more efficient movement of the air and fuel mixture (resulting from the ported heads). This will require a special tuning be applied to the computer to compensate for the changes, correct? O.k., maybe we are thinking too deeply into the modification realm, and some of you just want to get a little more oomph out of your Hemi. Luckily, the modifications that have been going on for centuries still have merit today.