10 car tuners (photos)

An automaker may think it's done the best that it could, but tuners know different. Every car coming out of the factory can get more speed and better handling, and throughout the years, tuners have proven the point. Here are 10 automotive tuners.


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1 of 20 Mercedes-Benz


Originally an independent company founded by former Mercedes engineers to build racing engines, AMG has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes.
2 of 20 Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

The SLS AMG is the first Mercedes to be designed fully in-house by AMG and features a 6.2-liter V-8 producing over 560 horsepower. The gullwing-style doors hearken back to the original 300SL coupe of the mid-1950s.
3 of 20 BMW


BMW's M division also started as a race-prep operation, although it was an in-house group from the beginning. Its first project was the 3.0CSL "Batmobile," which was very successful in the European Touring Car Championship in the early 1970s.
4 of 20 BMW


The first M road car was the famed M1, a Giugiaro-styled two-seater introduced in 1978. Since then, most BMWs have eventually spawned an M variant, the 3-series being the most popular. BMW recently announced that the 1-series would get the M treatment for 2011.
5 of 20 Lexus


Lexus is a relative newcomer to the in-house performance division game, having launched its F-Sport designation in 2006.
6 of 20 Lexus

Lexus IS F

Lexus' first F-branded model was 2007's IS F, featuring a 5-liter V8 with 416 horsepower. The LFA supercar followed in late 2009.
7 of 20 Ruf


Ruf Automobile is actually designated a manufacturer by the German government, but it's essentially an independent Porsche tuning outfit. Ruf has been tweaking Porsches since about 1960, initially at the family's service station.
8 of 20 Ruf

Ruf CTR3

Ruf's latest Porsche-based creation is the CTR3, introduced in 2007. With a midmounted, twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six, the CTR3 can get from rest to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, according to Ruf.
9 of 20 Callaway


Callaway Cars was founded in 1977 by Reeves Callaway and initially produced turbocharging kits for various cars, eventually specializing in Chevrolets. From 1987-1991, Callaway's twin-turbo kit was a regular production option from GM for the C4 Corvette.
10 of 20 Callaway

Callaway Camaro

Most recently, Callaway has turned its attention to the new Camaro, adding a supercharger to the stock 6.2-liter V-8 and bumping output to as much as 572 horsepower.
11 of 20 Ford


Probably the most familiar name on our list, Carroll Shelby is best known for teaming with Ford to produce or help develop such legends as the Cobra, Daytona Coupe, GT350, GT500, and GT40.
12 of 20 Ford

Ford Shelby GT500

The latest Mustang to boast the Shelby name is the 2011 Shelby Mustang GT500, with 550 horsepower and unique body elements. The GT350 nameplate is also being revived by Ford for 2011-12, featuring a supercharged V-8 with 525 horsepower.
13 of 20 Dodge


Initially formed as "Team Viper" to develop the Dodge Viper in the late 1980s, Street and Racing Technology (SRT) eventually became the performance division for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep.
14 of 20 Dodge

Dodge Challenger SRT

SRT's current offerings include the Dodge Challenger SRT-8, Dodge Charger SRT-8, Chrysler 300C SRT-8, and Dodge Viper SRT-10.
15 of 20 Subaru


Subaru formed its Subaru Tecnica International division in the late 1980s as in-house rally specialists, and has since won multiple WRC championships as a manufacturer and for its drivers.
16 of 20 Subaru

Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The Impreza WRX STI was the first production car to emerge from the STI division, making it to the U.S. in 2004. It has been very popular as a relatively low-cost performance car, and will once again offer a sedan body style for the 2011 model year.
17 of 20 Josh Miller/CNET


Yet another in-house racing division, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) develops race cars and engines as well as aftermarket street-car performance parts.
18 of 20 Josh Miller/CNET

Scion xD TRD

TRD produces cosmetic and performance enhancements for many Toyota products, like the Scion xD seen here.
19 of 20 Wayne Cunningham/CNET


Karl (later Carlo) Abarth founded his eponymous tuning and manufacturing operation in Turin, Italy, in 1949. Abarth began its long association with Fiat products in 1952, and officially became part of Fiat in 1971.
20 of 20 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Abarth Punto Evo

The most recent product of the longtime Fiat-Abarth collaboration is the Punto Evo, shown at this year's Geneva auto show. The Abarth division aided in engine development for the model, which will be sold through Abarth-branded dealerships in some countries.

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