Rarely in magazine build-up articles is the importance of proper tuning impressed upon the reader. Props to Popular Hot Rodding for actually admitting that one of its vehicles (the Camaro g/28 build-up) wasn't producing the numbers that it should have, and then publishing the process used to bring it a bit closer to where it was supposed to be.

The fact remains that it's not how much is spent on parts but rather how well they can be made to work together that makes or breaks a modified vehicle, and sometimes that's a confession that doesn't sit well with a magazine's advertisers. In this case, $320 for some dyno time and $30 worth of parts resulted in a 15% increase in power, and a far better understanding of what the engine "wanted". Not only does dyno data allow the owner to make the most of his or her investment (the engine in question here would cost an average person around $6-8K to build), but it also helps define the upgrade path should more performance be desired. If you can find a dyno in your area and a person who can do something with the data, it can be worth more than a big parts budget.

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