There’s nothing more wicked than hearing a Camaro with a nasty V-8 fire up and idle as it gets ready to take on the streets. With a killer combination of performance parts all working in unison and generating plenty of aggressive power, the symphony streaming from the tailpipes immediately grabs your attention. Regardless what the sum of the parts are however, if you don’t have the right exhaust system in place, you could be robbing yourself of valuable horsepower before you even burn that first gallon of fuel.
Setting up your exhaust takes far more work than merely bolting in a few sections of pipe, followed by a muffler and tailpipes. Sure, that might work for your average grocery-getter, but it won’t win any prizes on a hopped-up muscle car. When it came time to designing an exhaust system for Orange Krate, our ’71 project Camaro, it was imperative to be able to squeeze out every last ounce of horsepower, since the car would be seeing plenty of hard-core track time.
To get started, Lemons Headers supplied a pair of their handmade headers designed for maximum flow, good fit, easy spark plug access, and plenty of ground clearance. With the headers bolted to the block, Peter Newell and his team at Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, got busy laying out the all the parts for the job.
A call was placed to Flowmaster for one of their American Thunder complete header-back dual exhaust systems (PN-17149) designed for ’70- 74 Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird V-8 installations. Engineered on the dyno for improved throttle response, power, and mileage, the 2½-inch diameter system is completely mandrel bent from 16-gauge aluminized steel and offers an aggressive exhaust note thanks to their renowned mufflers. Since there would be a number of custom revisions to the tailpipe sections to accommodate the rear suspension, which was updated with a Detroit Speed QUADRALink, a call was placed to Summit Racing Equipment for a number of 2½-inch aluminized steel 90-degree bends, PN SUM-670176. These would be cut and used in sections to create new transitions around the suspension and gas tank. Newell gave us a few tips regarding the installation, which included ensuring that you use a good antiseize compound on the threads of all clamps supplied in the hardware kit, as well as removing the rear tires, brake components, Panhard bar, and gas tank for easy access to fabricate the tailpipe sections once you have determined the revised path for the pipes. Let’s take a look at what it takes to install one of these unique systems.