When most of us began wrenching on cars, we thought working on musclecars was much easier than working on anything new. Improving performance was simple back then; we simply bolted on headers, swapped the camshaft for something a little more radical, or added a performance intake and carburetor to increase the power in our car. Yeah, the days before computers controlled everything on a car were great; we had it made. Or did we? While slaving for hours in our garages did net improvements in the performance of our vehicles, we spent many man-hours just to gain a few tenths of a second in the quarter-mile. maybe improving the performance of our musclecar wasn't that easy after all.

There are still gains to be had in modern vehicles by swapping intakes, adding headers, or changing the camshaft, but there's also an easy, cost-effective way to improve power without even breaking open the tool box. Since parameters such as ignition timing, fuel injector pulse width, shift points, and top speed are all controlled by the computer in a modern car, reprogramming these parameters with an aftermarket computer can show dramatic performance gains. To illustrate this, we decided to install Hypertech's new Hyperpac performance Automotive computer on our '06 Dodge Magnum.

If you've driven or ridden in one of Dodge's new Hemi-powered vehicles, you already know they outperform just about anything else on the road these days. So when the guys at Hypertech told us their Hyperpac computer would not only improve our Magnum's performance, but also monitor engine parameters and diagnostic codes, serve as a dynamometer, and give us quarter-mile and incremental times just like a dragstrip, we had to try it.

One of the first things we noticed upon receiving our Hyperpac was the ease of installation. Once the computer touch screen was mounted to the dash with the supplied brackets, the unit was simply connected to our car's data acquisition port under the dash with a supplied single cable. While we did exaggerate about not needing tools for the installation (you'll need a Phillips screwdriver), we didn't exaggerate about the ease of installing the Hyperpac. All told, we had the unit installed in a matter of minutes.