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Performance tuning is a hallowed ancient art. It is a social forum, it is power to the prolitariate, it is a bustling lively marketplace, it is an artform, it is engineering at its pinnacle of refinement, it is beyond Physics, it is putting go faster stripes on an old Citroen and racing Ferrari's.
The concept of Performance Tuning for cars is to take the shittest thing your Mom and Dad will give you, add some new parts, and make it faster than greased lightning running away from Bob Geldof. The only people in the world with the skills to do this are between the ages of 17 and 25. They're a cunning breed. They know that Pagani, Ferrari and Porsche are all just out for yer money. They know all the mechanical tricks needed to coax 500 horsepower from a 1.6 litre Ford Focus. They have ***WATCHED*** all TWO fast-and-the-furious movies!!! Vin Diesel has nothing on these guys.
Although the beginnings of this humble sport are lost to the mists of Time, one of the more popular legends tells the tale of a young Henry Ford who welded a tin of beans(empty) onto the exhaust on his Honda Civic. Thus he created the illusion of a larger exhaust system and anyone with a severe learning defect was fooled into thinking it was the "mutts nuts".
Henry Ford went on to develop the famous Ford Model "T". This car was based heavily on the aforementioned Honda Civic but had a turbo badge on the back. The Model T was critical to the Allies victory in World War II because Germany's only car manufacturer at the time, BMW, do not know how to make turbos.
edit Performance Tuning in America
In America the roads have no bends, so most American cars do not come with a steering wheel. This helps to lose weight, however they find themselves at a performance disadvantage when faced up against any other car manufacturer in the world. Trying to go around a bend in an American car usually ends up in the car either going off the road or spontaniously bursting into flames. However, the main method American tuners favour to get more horsepower from their cars is to add more cubic capacity to the engine. This is usually done by constructing the engine from a huge metal block that weighs 4 tonnes. Americans like to use 8, 9, or 25 litre engines because they only produce about 5 horsepower per litre. Most American cars have 8 cylinders, because its cool to say you own a "veeee eight". Its also the only reason that American cars use superchargers.
edit Performance Tuning in Japan
In Japan, emperor Horosatugo woke up one morning after drinking too much Saki and decided that the people of his land were not allowed to build engines more than 1.2 litres. Most Japaneese cars are therefore made of Plastic to reduce weight. In a completely different engineering approach, Japaneese tuners favour using Magic to get 368 horsepower per litre out of their engines. Usually, the great mage Chouko-Vtec-San casts his spells over Japaneese engines before they are installed, but sometimes he gets tired so instead they get Haruki-Mivec, Hoshi-Wankel or Hitomi-Supar-Turbo-Mayu-San instead.
edit Performance Tuning in Britain
British racing has a proud and dignified background. The Queen thought to herself one day that her coaches were rather slow, so she appointed Sir Mick Jaguar a knight and degreed that he design a rather spiffing horseless carriage. Sir Mick promptly made a car with a V12 engine, painted it green, and buggered off with everyones money. He lost all his money in Las Vegas and was bought by Henry Ford who turned him into a mondeo. That'll teach him. Meanwhile Henry Royce and Charles Rolls were busy making a car what weighed 5 tonnes and had 9 different types of champagne in the drinks cabinet. Their car was soon given the nickname 'phantom' because police found tyre tracks that matched those of the car in a number of mysterious hit-and-run deaths. It is thought that the champagne may be related to these incidents and thats why today it is illegal to drive in Britain without a chaeuffer.
edit Performance Tuning in Germany
A German's idea of tuning is putting an unstable nuclear reactor in your grandma's wagon. Usually these cars are overengineered to an extent that words cannot describe and the running costs alone could fund a space project to Mars (expect a clutch replacement on an SL65 to cost about 9 billion dollars).
These cars are engineered by psychos then sold to people with more money than sense who don't realize 1000 foot pounds of torque in a RWD car is a one way ticket to oblivion.
These cars also have a habit of depreciating faster than a diamond dropped in a furnace.
edit Tuning Methods
There are two general schools of thought on the theology of Performance Tuning, and can be categorised into engine/drivetrain modifications (for people with time to waste) and cosmetic modifications (which separates the pros from the little boys).
Engine mods are the simplest mods and are usually carried out by little boys who don't know how to tune cars properly because they are LAAAAAMMMEEEE. Everyone knows the best way to increase your horsepower is to put a resistor into the ECU which puts moar fuel into the engine and makes a bigger bang and voila lots of extra horsepower but its a very complicated mod that is only done by PROS for a NOMINAL PRICE because the resistors used are very EXPENSIVE and made out of DIAMONDS.
Drivetrain mods affect the handling and are mostly a scam and a total waste of time, except for some lowering mods which make the car almost scrape the ground and it looks SO COOL!!!
Cosmetic mods are where the REAL performance difference is! People in the know know to get rid of the terrible front and rear spoilers and add new ones which are double the depth and come within millimieters of the gravel under the car. This is much more aerodynamic and with the addition of side skirts or even a full body kit makes the car produce 200 extra horsepower! Other mods are extra NEON and LED lights which add under-car and over-bonnet lighting. These are always good for at least an extra 30 horsepower and a few torques too! You need the extra performance of these kinds of light in order to steal fuel tankers. Most American car owners would need to steal a fuel tanker regularly to run their cars, which run nominally at 5mpg (or 21gpm for a vee eight) if their fuel prices weren't so low.
edit Secret Tuning Tips
For a guaranteed 50 horsepower increase in any car, simply add V6, 16v, V8, turbo, GTi, Type R, GT-R, M Power or AMG badges. In fact, why not add them all for ultimate boosts in handling, power, aerodynamics, positioning dynamics and cock size? Extra points if the performance badge doesn't match the car manufacturer. For a further 30 bhp add kickplate style floormats and a steel effect plastic fuel cap.
The most common misunderstanding amongst mechanics is the role of the braking system in performance vehicles. You see, the principle of the braking system is to slow a car down. But sports cars aren't about slowing down, they're about going FAST. Some people even UPGRADE their brakes. Master tuning companies know the secret to ultimate performance lies in removing the braking system completely. This frees up room under the chassis for extra engine extensions and reduces weight. The key to getting away with this ultimate performance mod requires that you are not a crap driver. If you are a crap driver and need to use the brakes a lot to stop you from driving into corners then DON'T BOTHER. Just put you're car on ebay cos your shit. Remember, brakes only slow you down; BRAKES ARE FOR LOSERS!!!