Common modifications to increase the power of the Chevrolet 283 cubic-inch engine include increasing the engine's crankshaft stroke, porting and polishing its cylinder heads, and modifying the air intake and exhaust systems. Adjusting the compression ratio of the 283 engine is also a good way to increase power output, as most Chevrolet small-block V-8 engines have considerable leeway for increasing compression ratios over the factory standard without risking damage to the engine.
Most common Chevrolet 283 modifications operate on the principle of increasing the amount of oxygen and fuel available in the engine's cylinders during the combustion cycle. Increasing the power output of the engine through crankshaft modifications helps increase its power output by increasing the length of the piston stroke within the cylinder, and therefore the effective displacement of the engine, while porting and polishing the cylinder heads increases the amount of airflow into the engine.
Increasing the engine's compression ratio yields power gains by increasing the density of the fuel-air mixture in the cylinders. While compression ratio tuning can be a risky proposition with some engines, Chevrolet's own engineers demonstrate the high overhead of the 283 for compression-ratio modification with the Super Ram-Jet 283 version of the original 283 design. While base models of the first version of the small-block V-8 engine were released under the Super Turbo-Fire name and produced 185 horsepower using a 8.5:1 compression ratio, the Super Ram-Jet used mechanical fuel injection and a 10.5:1 compression ratio to output 283 horsepower.