Up to 50,000 euros to make a missile out of a small car

The first step toward increasing a car’s horsepower is fitting a turbine, which increases the amount of air and fuel entering the engine. «It is just the first step. If the customer wants something really impressive, such as to convert a 70hp car into a 300hp one, then we’ll have to do a complete transplant, which can cost anything from 2,000 to 50,000 euros,» said Giorgos. «The full package includes a change of brakes and suspension, replacing tires and wheel-rims and exhaust pipe.» Cheaper upgrades are available for about 1,500 euros, in cars with natural-aspirated engines, and include a change of exhaust pipe, reprogramming the ECU (engine control unit) and replacing the air filter to increase the torque. Sometimes drivers install an auxiliary canister of niter, which experts say gives a big boost to performance. «The gas is put in a special canister and freezes the combustion chamber, making the engine run more effectively,» said Vassilis, the owner of a car repair shop. Contrary to what is commonly believed, niter is not a flammable gas, but it can become a bomb in the event of an accident, and there have been such cases where the bottle overfills.

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