Back in the "good old days" of hot-rodding that most of us have fond memories of, if you wanted to improve the performance of your new car it could be done by simply bolting on the right parts. Using the basic principle that the more air and fuel you put through the engine, the more power the engine will make, a bigger carburetor and a more efficient intake manifold were a common choice back in the day. And since more air and fuel going into an engine requires a more efficient way to expel the burnt gasses, individual tube headers were a common addition as well, reducing exhaust restriction to free up even more power.

Although the perception is that today's new cars are computer controlled, making it difficult for the do-it-yourselfer to improve his or her car's performance, in actuality today's cars respond to modifications much like our old muscle cars do. In fact, in some ways new cars are easier to tune than older ones, requiring only a handheld computer programmer to change parameters like ignition timing and air/fuel ratios that used to require opening up the hood and getting our hands dirty. And when it comes to reducing exhaust backpressure, new cars like the Dodge Challenger respond exactly like our old muscle cars, making more power through improved exhaust flow.

Fortunately, companies like BBK Performance Parts are already developing and producing some great components for those of us who want to tinker with our new rides. BBK's new exhaust products are top-notch, and their Speedware Series exhaust headers bolt directly in place of your Challenger's (or Charger, Magnum, or 300's) exhaust manifolds. These headers have short individual tubes and are manufactured from stainless steel so they'll likely last the lifetime of your car. Additionally, these headers feature 100 percent mandrel-bent tubing, ensuring the best possible flow, and are either ceramic or chrome plated, ensuring the best possible aesthetics. The primary tubes are 15/8 inch diameter, and the one-piece, laser cut flanges ensure a tight seal.

Of course any part can be made to sound good on paper, but we wanted proof. To test the performance of BBK's new headers, we followed along as they installed a set on their 5.7 Hemi equipped '09 Challenger R/T test vehicle. We must say that we were pleasantly surprised by the construction of these headers, and by how easily the headers were to install. Even more impressive were the dyno results which backed up BBK's claims of additional horsepower and torque. Follow along as we show you how easy it is to install these headers on your new Challenger, and check out the dyno numbers. This installation netted more than six rear-wheel horsepower and over eight lb/ft of torque across the entire rpm range.