Man has always had a need for speed, the need to get from point A to point B in the least time possible. This is what has resulted in a myriad of inventions, from the train to the plane. The most impressive and nuanced of the said inventions, however, has to be the automobile. The car, throughout all its existence, has undergone a plethora of changes, some of the nuanced and others more pronounced, and all these have culminated in the cars and car industry that we have today. Even with the introduction of numerous car models in the industry, people have always felt that they need to have more; more power, more speed, all of which translates to more exhilaration. This feeling has been compounded with the introduction of racing into mainstream media, according to Hi Consumption. All these have culminated in the conception and growth of the customization industry, where individuals can modify and customize their cars in an effort to get the most out of them. Even though almost all cars are customizable in one way or another, there are some that, due to their intuitive features, aspirational capabilities, and simplified mechanical functions, are more customizable than others. The raison d’etre of this article is to introduce you to the twenty most tunable cars of all time.
20. The Acura Integra
This is one of the most customizable cars in the market right now, according to Acura, and it has stayed that way ever since the car hit the shelves back in the 1990s. The body contouring and the name had remained the same from inception to 2001 when the body shape was changed to a more unique, shapely paneled, wedge-like design, and uniqueness. This change is what proliferated the public’s interest in the car. Furthermore, the car was readily available and used Honda line components that are easy to acquire. These aspects of the car made the Acura Integra one of the most formidable consumer models in the 90s. The most prolific of those years was 94/95 when the latter introduced the Type-R, which was highly regarded. It produced a 197-horsepower model that adopted a 1.8-liter DOHC VTEC 4-cylinder engine. Before the release of this model, the Acura Integra was already a constant in every annual Top Ten list. However, the 95-model set the car head and shoulders above its competitors, and even eventually earned it the title ‘Best front-wheel-drive car of all time.’
19. The Acura RSX
The successor of the Integra, the RSX, though not as successful at the time, stands at an equal footing regarding the aftermarket affluence. Many people regard it as the fourth generation of the Integra series, and thus the RSX, through osmosis, would grow in popularity as time passed. The 160 horsepower would add a lot of horsepower to the street, and this would ensure that the engine was more than capable of adding more fuel to the fire that had ignited the streets. This, working in tandem with the cruise control, the power windows, the ABS, and a moonroof, made the car an instant hit amongst aficionados. The car had plenty of parts that were customizable, and thus it is not uncommon to see a modified RSX in automotive culture.
18. The Toyota Supra A80/A90
When designing the Supra, according to Wikipedia, the plan was always to make it as fast as possible. The A80 models had a twin-turbocharged 2JZ motor that could dish out more than 326 HP, and this was the standard version. Thus, it is very easy to see why it was an instant hit amongst gearheads. It was only later on that tuners discovered that they could tune the Toyota straight at a very low expense and that it could be able to produce 600 HP with an ECU flash, and a turbo upgrade. One generation later, the BMW-based supra is still inspiring the same emotion amongst tuners. The BMW’s B58 engine is much easier to tune, and has a similar 3 liters six-pot motor. A five-minute ECU update will boost the power output to 500 horsepower without even breaking a sweat.
17. The Chevrolet Camaro SS
The Chevy Camaro is as American as they come. The car has been a fan favorite since it was launched in the 60s. with every generational change comes more refinement and more power, and the latter is especially appealing to gearheads. The process of extracting more power from the Camaro is pretty straightforward. Some spanners and a couple of hours should do the job. From the factory, the Camaro SS comes with a 426 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine. It is able to hit the quarter-mile run in about 13 seconds. The supercharge adds about 300 horsepower to this already monster.
16. The Nissan Skyline R34-GTR
This is one of those cars that never really leaves the limelight and has even appeared in the Fast and Furious franchise a couple of times. It is truly one of the most recognizable sports cars of all time, according to Nissan USA. It gained its stardom because of the almost supernatural levels of speed and grip that it had. The car came with a turbocharged 2.6-liter straight-six engine. Though the car’s official recorded horsepower production was 280, but the real figure is closer than 330. Unlocking the car by tuning it could boost the levels to more than 700 hp.
15. The Ford Focus ST
Ford Europe’s modus operandi is a very simple one; take any production car and then stuff it with the biggest and most powerful engine into its hood, and add a couple of sporty cosmetic and aesthetic touches to it. It is a method that has worked time and again, making the brand one of the most recognizable ones by both novices and aficionados alike. With the Ford Focus ST, looks can be a little deceiving. It comes with a turbocharged 2.4-liter Ecoboost engine that can produce 276 horsepower. As with almost every Ecoboost installation, all you need is a simple remap, and you can get a lot more power.
14. BMW 135i/335i
The 135i and the 335i are the quintessence of a bargain. You do not have to acquiesce to low power and speed for cost when it comes to these two. Officially, BMW has stated that both cars use the same 3-lier straight-six internals, all of which can produce 300 horsepower. That being said, for as little as 1500 dollars, you can replace the coils and the stock plugs to crank that number up to 500 horsepower.
13. Ford Mustang
You know you are getting power when you get the Ford Mustang, and thus the onus is upon you to decide just how much power you want to get. The models that come with Ecoboost are cheaper, and their engines have fewer cylinders, and at the other end, the V8 motors are available with superchargers. The Mustang’s popularity guarantees that there is an engine option for everyone. The smaller engines tend to be more tunable and customizable, and you can use the modified ECU. It must be said that the larger V8 engines deliver far much better performance as a result of their larger blowers.
12. The Volkswagen Golf GTi
When the first GTi model was released, it started a trend that is still continuing to this day. It is one of those cars that is both sporty and practical, according to VW. The recent generations have been both heavier and bigger, but they have also come with a healthy increase in performance. The said gains have tended to be a bit more gradual over the last couple of years. Tuners have found that you can easily make sure that the car can provide 450 horsepower without making any drastic changes to any of the internals.
11. The Audi TT
Audi has over the last couple of years come to be associated with chicness and a stylistic aesthetic appeal that not many car manufacturers can to command. If you want to get the Audi TTS, then you have to be willing to part with 10,000 dollars over the normal model. Is it worth it? Well, not necessarily, since the same gains can be made for a lot less if you tune the car. There are US-based performance chips that will be able to provide you with a simple upgrade and boost your Audi’s output to 306 horsepower for about 700 dollars. You don’t even have to worry about the durability of the engine; it is one of the most durable engines in the world.
10. Honda S200
The S200 is extremely popular with gearheads because of its unmistakable wail as it stretches to its 9000-rpm limit. Though the engine, as a standard, is able to produce 240 horsepower, its torque is a bit abysmal; about 153 lb-ft, so that is not something you should be too excited about, according to Motor Trend. That being said, Honda made sure that they covered this up with the high-revving engine, which is not only reliable but also efficient and effective when it comes to fuel consumption. You can squeeze out more from the engine and the car with some tuning, but the biggest gains can be obtained through forced induction mods.
9. Pontiac GT0
Since it originated in Australia, most people originally overlooked the muscle car. On the outside, it looked like a normal saloon car, but under the hood, it is able to produce like a genuine American V8-powered bruiser. Unpopularity makes it a great used project car. The later models of the 6-liter LSs powered GOs are known for their simple exhaust, their manifold upgrade, and their bulletproof engine, which can yield about 500 hp as a standard, however, the supercharged option is closer to 700 hp.
8. The BMW 3 series
Even though it is widely known that aftermarket BMWs are more subdued than their counterparts, it must be said that the 3 Series is one of the most popular and the most tune-friendly lineups of all time. this is because of the car’s impeccable design. Between 1997 and 2006, when BMW was producing some of the market’s most impeccable saloons, sedans, convertibles, and coupes, the 3 series gaining recognition in the inner circles of car enthusiasts. It was the novelty of the established European model being amplified and exaggerated using aftermarket modifications that were enough for BMW to warrant subtle changes in the aerodynamic units, the body kits, and the engine. The best part is that the models in the series were able to handle all the changes that were commissioned both in the factory and in the aftermarket.
7. The Eagle Talon
Not only does the Eagle Talon solicit confusion amongst those that aren’t well acquainted with it, but also its aesthetic appeal was not enough to inspire confidence. The Talon served for a brief stint from 1989 to 1998, where it was rebranded a myriad of times, including as Plymouth, according to Driving Line The Talon, as well as its Eclipse offshoot, came with a Diamond Star Motor engine, which came with a modest 135 horsepower. It could also accommodate the 210HP DOHC 2.0-liter Mitsubishi 4G63 turbo I4, and this made the Talon an instant hit in the market.
6. Ford Escort RS Cosworth
The Ford Escort RS was once a tame vehicle before people discovered that it could be converted to a monstrous juggernaut. In 1992, it won the Group A World Rally Championship. The customer version was released in limited numbers, which made it all the more popular. The car left the showroom with a suit of track-focused parts, including the 224-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, as well as improved suspension. What many people did not know was that the car would gain a lot more traction through a myriad of easy-to-use acquired parts. Once tuning companies realized this, they began to build custom units, some of which were able to reach 1000 horsepower.
5. Honda Civic
Saying that the Honda Civic is one of the most influential tuner vehicles not only in the market but also in history is a bit of an understatement. Since it made its debut in 1972, the car has gone on to become one of the best-selling models in the world. This should come as no surprise since Honda has a wealth of expertise, information, and technology to offer state-of-the-art cars that are able to last several generations. The debut Honda Civic model produced a meager 55 horsepower, the latest model in its standard form can put out about 306 HP when turbocharged. The reliability and turnability of the car’s engine, as well as the cost of purchasing the car and its spare parts, add icing to what is already a pretty delicious cake.
4. Mazda Miata
Mazda produced the world’s best-selling sports car with the Miata. That alone is a testament to why it is one of the most modified cars on the globe. Introduced in 1989, it has captured and retained the attention of audiences with its 1.6-liter, inline-four engine. As it was a smaller and quicker model than what was standard at the time, it was quickly adopted by racing enthusiasts who looked to capitalize in the weight decease to get a competitive edge over the rivals. Over the years, the rigid platform would only garner more attention, especially in the racing community. The car also came with a catalog of a myriad of easy-to-acquire parts, responding handling, and prodigal power ratings, all of which boasted the car’s popularity. In 2015, the car was significantly redesigned, taking on a rigid roof, a sleeker appearance, and a powerful 181 hp engine.
3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Produced in 1992, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was one of the most popular vehicles in the industry at the time. It arrived from the factory as an all-wheel-drive powertrain, and at the time it was famous for its two-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. These features, as well as the improved styling that it came with, stole the hearts and minds of car lovers all over the world. When the car came out, Mitsubishi stated that the car was able to put out 276 horsepower. However, it came to be known that the car manufacturer was devaluing the model’s output to comply with the stated rules and regulations at the time. The truth is, the car was putting out just shy of 440 hp. After this became common knowledge, the car became an instant hit in automobile communities.
2. The Nissan 240X
As a result of the robust catalog of spare parts that can fit into the Nissan 240X, which is one of the largest in the industry, it should come as no surprise that the car is one of the most modified in automobile history. The Nissan 240x served as the flagship sports car, alongside the 200SX and the 180SX. Early on, it was lauded as a bombproof model, and one that could garner more power and speed, all for a very low price when it comes to tuning. Due to its popularity amongst drifters, manufacturers made sure that they continued to produce elaborate packages that ensured that performance, aerodynamics, and handling, all of which led to an inflation of the car’s valuation.
1. Subaru Impreza WRX/WRX STI
Subaru launched the Impreza WRX models to compete with the Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION, and in many ways, it did exactly that. The WRX is offered a plethora of attractive and enticing traits, all of which were pretty appealing to car aficionados. Although it was introduced in North America in 2002, it was not until 2004 when the STI model made it to the states. it was simply an iteration of the previous model, but one that had a performance-based outlook. Car shops began to monitor the model and take note of all the improved powertrains, performance suspension layouts, and aerodynamic packages that the Impreza offered. The car’s small-displacement, turbocharged four-cylinder engine was at the time one of the most dominant in the market at the time. From the showroom, it was able to produce 280 to 320 horsepower, and after a couple of modifications, that number could go all the way up.