If you were lucky enough to grow up around car enthusiasts, you’ve probably heard your dad, uncle, or brother say, “Nothing wakes up a V-8 like a good set of headers.” And that’s true—few Corvette modifications are as rewarding as installing a good set of pipes.
And of course, second only to your header-buying excitement is your friends’/forum buddies’ excitement for you, as they now get to “advise” you about the “best” headers for your Corvette. Ah, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “1-3/4s are perfect for your engine.” (It’s a 283.) Not to knock that rare forum guru, or your SBC-wizard buddy—60 percent of the time, they’re right every time. No, picking the perfect set of headers/performance manifolds is something that you should do. And all it takes is for you to determine your goals, compile good intel from trusted sources, research your options, and pick your pipes. And what the hell, for this month we’ll try to fill that “good intel” requirement for you.
Let’s start with the most visible header feature, its primary size. Choosing the primary size isn’t always about picking the largest option—your engine is a precise combination of air-pushing parts, and adding appropriately sized pipes is the only way to add power and keep drivability.
But remember that a header’s primary length, collector type, secondary length, and secondary diameter is important too. Because when all of those factors work together, they create a “tuned system” that does more than evacuate exhaust. It also creates pressure waves that scavenge any remaining exhaust from the cylinder. So a tuned header system “sucks” the intake charge into the cylinder before the induction stroke even starts, and does so over a wide rpm range. That, my friends, is an efficient and power-producing header system. And the best part is, today’s headers and performance manifolds benefit from extensive testing—which maximizes the power and torque gain for your hard-earned money.
Header fitment is another crucial factor. Power potential’s great, but the thing about headers is, you’ve gotta live with them every day. Theoretically speaking, let’s say that the Lord Our God created the perfect set of headers, then passed ’em down to you, Ten Commandments-style. Installed on your Vette they add 300 horses, they trumpet forth a mighty roar, they make all the inhabitants of the local Sonic tremble. And you rejoice! But when you realize that they leak, hit your frame and steering rack, and don’t give much clearance for your angle-plug heads … well, you’d probably grit your teeth and deal with the clunks for a month to be polite, then sell ’em on eBay. (Our Lord would surely design The Chosen Headers to clear everything, the heathen is just giving an example-Ed.) In short, your goal should be to find headers that are just as NVH- and leak-free as your stock manifolds.
Finally, there are lots of little details that need to be considered: how’s the material quality, and finish? Will they connect to a stock exhaust system? Does it use a crossover? Are heat risers and tubes/cats and O2 harnesses used? Is the included installation hardware high quality and complete? And do performance manifolds really fit just like the factory ones do?
It’s a lot to think about, so get started by reading the below Header Dimensions and Header Features sections. They’ll fill in some blanks so you can make your choice from the following buyer’s guide. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it short and sweet so you don’t get too … exhausted? (Blasphemy and bad puns? Lord, smite away.-Ed)
Headers are often referred to by their overall length—and typically, the longer they are, the better they perform. A Corvette with stock manifolds can add ported manifolds, shorty headers, mid-length headers, and full-length (aka long-tube) headers. And of course, Corvette headers can be had in rear-exit form, as well as side-exit configuration for factory side-mount cars. So here are the header dimensions that you need to know:
Primary size refers to the inner diameter of each header tube. In the Chevy V-8 realm, common sizes include 1-1/2, 1-5/8, 1-3/4, 1-7/8, and 2 inches. Just like everything else in hot rodding, primaries must be sized correctly for your engine to make power, while still giving good drivability. For the best performance, you’ll need to find out your engine’s cylinder head exhaust flow numbers at peak valve lift, then choose the right tube size from the chart below.
Street Corvette primary size ranges:
1 1/2-inch primaries for 170 cfm or less exhaust flow
1 5/8-inch primaries for 180-200 cfm exhaust flow
1 3/4-inch primaries for 210-240 cfm exhaust flow
1 7/8-inch primaries for 250-275 cfm exhaust flow
2-inch primaries for 280 cfm or more exhaust flow
*Street/strip Corvettes may benefit from a one-step larger primary size, but staying with the street recommendation size won’t hurt flow that much, and will be more responsive on the street.
*Race-only Corvettes with around 160-cfm-and-up exhaust flow should start with the street recommendation primary size above, then go one primary size larger: 1-1/2 to 1-5/8 inch, 1-5/8 to 1-3/4 inch, 1-3/4 to 1-7/8 inch, or 1-7/8 to 2 inch.
Most headers have constant primary sizes, meaning they use the same tube diameter throughout. However, some offer the option of stepped primary sizes—for instance, starting at 1-3/4 then going up to 1-7/8 further down the tube. This is said to help scavenging and add a little power, especially on heavily modded race engines. But for the majority of street Vettes with stock or mildly modded engines, it’s a more-expensive design that adds little, if any, power.
Primary length is the full distance of the primary tube, from the flange to the collector. This distance isn’t the most critical header dimension in a Detroit V-8 power-wise, as our two-plane domestic crankshafts create unevenly spaced (and beneficial) firing pulses at the collector. And while a too-short primary length can really drop torque output, in general, mid-length or long primaries produce good low- and mid-range torque and power, perfect for street-driven Corvettes.
Secondary length is how long the secondary pipe is. Like many things in life, a stubby pipe isn’t good; a longer secondary length is very important for power and torque production, and really adds torque under the curve, too.
Finally, the secondary diameter is, uh … the diameter of the secondary pipe. From a sizing standpoint, taking your headers’ primary diameter, multiplying it by 1.8, then rounding to the closest number, gives an adequate secondary diameter measurement. Chevy V-8 headers typically use a 2-1/2- to 3-inch secondary diameter.
The material used depends on whether you’re bolting up headers or performance manifolds. Headers use steel in varying grades, including mild steel, 409 stainless, 304 stainless, and 321 stainless. 409 stainless is high quality, but not as rust-resistant as 304 stainless. And 321 stainless is high-end, very high-temp steel that’s typically used in turbocharged applications.
Good-old cast-iron manifolds are still as beefy as your mother-in-law’s butt, no getting around that. But a few companies do precision porting and flange work, which creates manifolds that look stock, seal up nice and tight—and flow enough to greatly improve your stock-look power numbers.
Tubing thickness is how thick the walls of your headers are. This can vary from the standard sizes like 18- or 16-gauge, to thicker sizes like 14- and 12-gauge tubing in higher-end headers. The thicker the tubing, the higher the quality—and there’s definitely some garbage out there. So pay to do it right the first time, which can prevent additional spending in the long run after cheap eBay tubes crack on you.
Flange thickness matters because header flanges must stay straight to seal up. And thin header flanges can warp; blowing gaskets and causing noisy exhaust leaks. Header flanges can be found in 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch, and beefy 3/8-inch sizes. Again, the thicker, the better.
If your late-model Vette’s emissions equipment must stay intact, you can attack the problem a couple of ways: states with less intrusive emissions testing only require good idle quality and no SES light, so you can run long-tube headers with emissions connections like air/EGR, and high-flow metallic substrate cats with extended O2 sensor harnesses. Get retuned to keep idle quality good and the SES light off, and you’re golden.
However, in ultra-strict testing states like California, your best bet is to install shorty headers with an E.O. number. Some shops will overlook long-tubes during the visual test, but some will ask for E.O. numbers for a cold-air intake. Legally speaking, long-tubes don’t look stock, and they take longer to get cat temps up during cold starts. We hate to say it, but in the Republic of California, long-tubes are very likely to give you a hellish Groundhog Day of repeatedly paying a testing shop that’ll ultimately fail you.
A header’s exhaust port shape can be round or D-shaped, and should match the shape of your cylinder head’s exhaust ports. Header exhaust ports can be slightly larger than the head’s exhaust port, leaving extra room for head porting.
The collector design is simply how the primary tubes merge into the larger secondary pipe. Aside from high-end “four into two into one” (aka Tri-Y) race designs that usually won’t fit in a street car, aftermarket headers typically use two types of collector designs: the parallel type and the merge type.
A parallel collector is a design where four tubes simply merge into one large secondary pipe. This design is simple, time tested, and effective. And a merge collector also turns four tubes into one, but the tubes enter a venturi-shaped area first, then expand into the secondary pipe. Building merge-collector headers takes more work, so they’re often more expensive, but this design typically makes more power and torque across a wider rpm range compared to the parallel design.
A scavenger spike (or merge spike) is a metal spike that can be found inside a header’s collector. It has two purposes: smooth out turbulence in the exhaust flow as it transitions from the primaries into the collector and to promote better exhaust scavenging. Done right, both help create more power—as well as a smoother, purer exhaust sound.
Balance pipes like X-pipes and H-pipes are found downstream of the collector. They balance, or equalize, the exhaust flow from all of the cylinders by connecting the left and right exhaust banks, which helps reduce backpressure and increase scavenging. This also adds power, with an X-pipe making a few more ponies than an H-pipe will. They also sound different: an X-pipe is known for its high-pitched, exotic sound, while an H-pipe has a deeper, muscular rumble.
Finishes or coatings are any product used to cover bare-steel (or natural) headers. Header coatings can include regular paint (which only protects against rust until you start the engine), and also high-temp paint, ceramic, and chrome. For longevity’s sake, your best course of action is to choose one of the latter: either have the manufacturer high-temp paint/ceramic-coat/chrome-coat them, or have them coated by a reputable coater before you install them. Ceramic coating not only prevents rust, it also lowers underhood temps.
Straight- or angled-plug head compatibility is a big detail that you can’t afford to get wrong. Factory Chevy heads feature a straight spark plug design—the plugs come straight out, perpendicular to the head—which offers better plug/spark plug wire clearance with headers. But some over-the-counter GM heads and many aftermarket heads use angled plugs, where the plugs sit at an angle. This is done for better combustion and slightly better performance; however, they make plug/plug boot clearance much tighter, and are more expensive to “boot.” As headers exist for both straight- and angle-plug heads, the choice is yours—just be sure you order the right kind of headers for your head type.
Engine bay clearance is another big concern. There are several engine components that you must verify before you order headers, as a certain header application can be made in multiple versions to fit various year/make/model Corvettes, in both stock and modified forms. This can include steering racks, A/C brackets, and starter and oil filter locations. Yet, depending on those variables and your choice of header, you still might need to have a primary tube lightly dimpled, or a bracket changed (or lightly trimmed) for a perfect fit. If you’ve seen some engine bays these days, you’ll understand why that’s not a big deal.
If you’ve done your research, chassis and exhaust system clearance issues should rarely come into play. But if they do, you’ll have to balance your lust for powerful pipes, with the downside of possibly notching a classic Corvette’s frame or tweaking its exhaust system. We’ll leave that tough call to you. And again, the more you research and deal with reputable, quality header companies, the fewer major issues you’ll run into.
Most headers/manifolds include hardware like bolts/studs, gaskets, and even reducers/muffler inserts. But some kits include premium hardware with stainless band clamps and Grade 8 nuts and bolts. If it comes with low-grade stuff, consider using good clamps and hardware, as you only want to do this install once.
And while some have no coverage, most headers come with a warranty between 90 days and limited lifetime for the original buyer. And remember, if you bend, grind, cut, or mangle your pipes during an attempted install, you’re gonna be S.O.L. So, you know, be careful.
Two final things: one, don’t use ceramic-coated headers to break in a new engine, as the assembly lube can damage the ceramic coating. Use cheapo headers for break-in, then switch to your coated headers afterwards.
And two, don’t use header wraps; try to buy headers with a high-heat coating instead. Wrapped headers can retain moisture, which will accelerate rusting and possibly cause cracking.
Header Buyer’s Guide
American Racing Headers
C7 American Racing Headers 1-3/4-inch Long-Tubes
ARH was quick to develop header systems for the new C7, and they’re said to have the same legendary quality, performance and fit as all of ARH’s other U.S.-made goodies.
Start by selecting long-tubes with 1-3/4-, 1-7/8- or 2-inch primaries, depending on your level of modification. Those big tubes lead into 3-inch merge collectors with scavenger spikes, the ARH-exclusive “X-pipe forward” design and your choice of cats or cat-delete tubing. The example shown is the 2014-up 1-7/8-inch version with X-pipe and cats; however, you can save a few bucks and go cat-less if your state’s smog police aren’t too harsh. (If they are, ask ARH about its Severe Duty 49 State Legal Cats).
Part Number: C7-14178300LSWC
Price: $2,195 ($2,015 without cats)
C7 American Racing Headers 1-3/4-inch Emissions-Friendly Mid-Length Headers
If your state’s smog laws are strict, check out ARH’s 1-3/4-inch mid-length header system. The Mid-Length kit allows you to reuse the secondary set of factory cats, in combination with ARH’s Severe Duty 49 State Legal cats. ARH’s objective with this system is to improve performance considerably, yet eliminate the possibility of an engine light (without a computer tune). This system is a direct bolt-in, and features 304 stainless steel, 3/8-inch laser-cut flanges with TIG-welded and hand-ported inlets, merge collectors with scavenger spikes and ball/socket connections for a leak-free seal. Expect a quick and easy install with Grade 8 hardware and Flat Out Racing gaskets.
Part Number: C7-14134300MLWC
Price: $1,895 ($1,345 without cats)
C6 Z06 American Racing Headers 1-7/8-inch Long-Tubes
Getting spent exhaust out of the C6 Z06’s massive 427 is no easy task, so ARH’s LS7-specific headers utilize race-inspired technology to greatly improve on the stock manifolds. ARH’s base size has 1-7/8-inch primaries, along with 2-inch primaries for applications with extensive engine upgrades. Both sizes connect to 3-inch merge collectors with scavenger spikes and 3-inch X-pipes with or without high-flow, metallic substrate catalytic converters. High-quality 304 stainless construction, Grade 8 hardware and Accuseal S/S band clamps come standard—but the required O2 Extension Harnesses are sold separately.
Note: ARH also offers C6/C6 Z06 Race Headers for 1,000-plus rear-wheel horsepower machines. They consist of 2x2-1/8-inch step headers with 3-1/2-inch merge collectors, which V-band to a 3-1/2-inch H-pipe midsection. The system is fully TIG welded and is designed to handle the rigors of hardcore racing.
Part Number: Z06-06178300LSWC/Z0602EXH (Street system)
Price: $2,024.96 ($1,829.96 without cats) Part Number: ZO6-06200312LSTCNC (Race system)
Price: $3295.00 (not available with cats)
C5 American Racing Headers 1-7/8-inch Long Tubes
ARH’s C5 systems are available with 1-3/4- or 1-7/8-inch primaries—the 1-3/4s will add good power in stock or near-stock form, and the 1-7/8s will let those ludicrous power mods come alive. Once you choose the tube size, select 3x3-inch or 3x2-1/2-inch catted or non-catted X-pipe mid-sections and pick emissions-friendly air fittings … or not. Regardless of those choices, every ARH header set is manufactured using the highest-quality 304 stainless available, and require no modifications for a stress-free install.
Part Number: C5-01134300LSWC
Price: $1,915.50 ($1,735.50 without cats)
C4 American Racing Headers 1-3/4x1-7/8-inch Stepped Long Tubes
C4 owners, American Racing Headers has finally answered your call. Now your L98/LT1/LT4 can breathe deeply with a set of 1-3/4-inch or 1-3/4x1-7/8-inch stepped long-tubes. They include thick, 3/8-inch flanges with hand-ported inlets, merge collectors with scavenger spikes, as well as a 3- or 2-1/2-inch X-pipe—with or without 200-cell, metallic substrate cats. And of course, the American-made, 304 stainless construction and quality install hardware is just frosting on the power-gain cake. These pipes will connect directly into 1992-’96 models, will adapt to 1984-’91 models, and will work with straight- or angle-plug heads. Note: Convertibles require ARH’s 2-1/2-inch X-pipe mid-section.
Part Number: C4-92134300LSTWC
Price: $1,955 ($1,790 without cats)
Brzezinski Racing Products
Brzezinski Racing Products High-Flow 2-1/2 -inch Ram Horn Manifolds
Brzezinski Racing’s ported Ram Horn manifolds are the perfect compromise between stock looks and high flow. Because original Ram Horns are difficult to find, these iron-porting specialists start with a high-quality imported version of the 2-1/2-inch Corvette ram horn, which offers sturdy construction and a great fit. Then they CNC-port them from the stock 1.300x1.300-inch (which is smaller than most cylinder head exhaust ports), to 1.430x1.430-inch for additional flow. Finally, they finish off the modifications with a good amount of hand porting. The end result is manifolds that perform exactly like a well-modified set of originals—and a good deal better than stockers!
Part Number: 162S-L (left), 162S-R (right)
Price: $450/pair ($225 each)
1-5/8-inch Flowtech Ram Horn Ceramic Coated Manifolds
Flowtech’s take on Chevy’s ubiquitous Ram Horn exhaust manifold features smooth-transition, 1-5/8-inch primaries for increased exhaust flow and improved throttle response, a 3/8-inch-thick, 2-1/2-inch collector for maximum strength and thick header flange pads for a strong, leak-free seal. And of course, the classic block-hugging clearance the Ram Horn is known for.
Flowtech’s Horns are coated in metallic ceramic coating for maximum performance and reduced temperatures, and include premium aluminum header gaskets and installation hardware.
Part Number: 11704-1FLT
C3 Hedman 2-inch Big-Block Ceramic Coated Street Headers
1965-’74 Corvettes with 396- to 502-inch big-blocks will breathe easy with Hedman’s big-block headers. These full-length, rear-exit units use giant, 2-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors to provide maximum Rat horsepower and torque. And the 1/4-inch flange thickness and ball and socket collector flange keep all that spent exhaust headed for the exits.
While an uncoated version is available, this part number is wearing Hedman’s HTC silver ceramic, which protects them up to 1,400 degrees and is guaranteed for five years. There’s a Black Maxx black ceramic version, too.
Note: several 50-state-legal versions (#D167-33) for A.I.R. and Non-A.I.R. equipped vehicles are also available for big-blocks: A.I.R. models include 68091 (uncoated), 66891 (silver ceramic) and 63193 (black ceramic); Non-A.I.R. models include 68097 (uncoated), 66897 (silver ceramic) and 63097 (black ceramic).
Part Number: 68096
C3 Hedman 1-5/8-inch Standard-Duty Uncoated Side Pipes
Small-block-powered, side-pipe-equipped 1963-’82 Corvettes can benefit from Hedman’s 50-state-legal Side Pipe exhaust system. They incorporate mandrel bent, 1-5/8-inch primaries that exit through Hedman’s popular 3-inch ball and socket collectors, which face outward for hassle-free hook up to your factory side pipes. These headers are compatible with automatic and manual floor-mount transmissions, and the design provides adequate tube clearance for use with aluminum Chevy angle-plug heads.
These pipes carry E.O. #D167-33, have preinstalled A.I.R. tubes, and include a hot air kit, heat riser valve adapter, gaskets and mounting bolts. This same tube configuration is also available without A.I.R. tubes and in a variety of ceramic finishes.
Non-A.I.R. models include part numbers 68280 (uncoated), 68286 (HTC silver ceramic coated) and 68283 (Black Maxx ceramic coated). A.I.R. models include part numbers 68281 (uncoated), 66281 (HTC coated) and 63383 (Black Maxx coated).
Part Number: 68281
C2/C3 1-5/8-Inch Hooker Competition Ceramic-Coated Long-Tubes
These 1-5/8-inch Hooker Competition headers give mild, 1955-’82 street Vettes a kick. Made of mandrel-bent, 16-gauge mild steel tubing, these lightweight pipes utilize a long-transition collector to reduce backpressure and increase exhaust flow. Additionally, the 5/16-inch machined flanges mate to your heads for leak-free love. And they’re ceramic coated for reduced temperatures and long life.
They’ll work with your power steering, power brakes and air conditioning, and come with all necessary hardware. Dimensions: 1-5/8 tube size by 24 inches, 3-inch collector size, 8-inch collector length, port shape same as head port.
Part Number: 2456-1HKR
C2 1-3/4-Inch Hooker Super Competition Painted Long-Tubes
Heavily modified 1955-’62 Vettes with up to 400 cubes can benefit from Hooker Super Competition headers, which make big power and put it at the optimum point in the power curve. They do it with 1-3/4-inch, tuned-length primary tubes for maximum exhaust scavenging and velocity, and a long-transition collector for ultra-low backpressure. These pipes are made of 18-gauge steel for light weight and are mandrel bent for smooth exhaust flow. And of course, the 5/16-inch machined flanges keep everything sealed up.
Factor in the high-temp black paint, and it results in a killer set of pipes that’ll add good power, fit well and not break the bank. Dimensions: 1-3/4 tube size by 28 inches, 3-inch collector size, 8-inch collector length, port shape same as head port.
Part Number: 2108HKR
C3 1-3/4-Inch Hooker Super Competition Ceramic Coated Long-Tubes
These C3 Super Comps have the same features as the C2 version above—1-3/4-inch primary size, 3-inch collector size, 5/16-inch machined flanges, 18-gauge tubing—but with a 25-inch overall length and a 10-inch collector length. Expect great performance from the mandrel-bent, tuned-length pipes and the long-transition collector, and a minimum of installation expletives thanks to a good fit and quality hardware.
And while a basic black-painted version of these 1-3/4-inch C3 tubes exists (try PN 2134-HKR), these 1963-’82 Super Comps are coated with Silver Metallic Ceramic for long-lasting looks and performance.
Part Number: 2134-1HKR
C6 1-7/8-Inch Hooker Blackheart Natural Stainless Long-Tubes
These Blackheart long-tubes are built to do one thing: let your big-inch 2005-’13 Vette breathe. Hand welded from lightweight, 18-gauge 304 stainless steel, Blackheart headers combine 1-7/8-inch, mandrel-bent tubes with 3-inch, high-flow, merge-speared, long-transition collectors to create max flow and big velocity. Huge exhaust flow is great, but Blackhearts also provide good engine component and ground clearance as well. And the 3/8-inch-thick, laser-cut flanges are said to be strong, and leak- and warp-resistant, too.
Combined with attaching hardware, O2 sensor extension harnesses and a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty, and these natural-finish pipes are one hell of a good deal.
Part Number: 70101317-RHKR
C6 1-3/4-Inch Hooker Blackheart Natural Stainless Shorty Header
If you want to upgrade your stock C6 manifolds but need to stay CARB-legal, Blackheart’s bolt-on 1-3/4-inch shorty headers are a great option. Despite their slightly smaller primary size, these pipes are built with 18-gauge 304 stainless, still utilize 3-inch merge collectors and retain the leak-resistant 3/8-inch flanges. And their tuned-length primary tubes mate with true-mitered merge collectors to maximize exhaust velocity and scavenging, resulting in a broad torque curve. In fact, they’re said to add up to 15 horses and 14 lb-ft of torque—while retaining your factory cats.
All necessary installation hardware and O2 extensions are included for an easy install, and they carry a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty. CARB EO pending.
Part Number: 70301303-RHKR
C1 1955-’62 McJacks 1-3/4-Inch Small-Block Ceramic/Copper Coated Header
If you own a 1955-’62 Corvette and want to replace your crusty old Ram Horns, take a look at McJacks’ direct replacement headers. These 16-gauge tubes have a 1-3/4-inch diameter that, combined with 2-1/2-inch collectors, will greatly outflow your OEM manifolds. Developed and built in-house, these patented pipes offer superior fit and a high-temp ceramic/copper coating and are built with a 3/8-inch, laser-cut bracket for generator mounting!
Part Number: SBCC13425G
C3 1965-’69 McJacks 2-Inch Big-Block Ceramic/Copper Coated Header
McJacks has a solid reputation for direct-fit headers that don’t require cutting or welding for a perfect fit. In fact, its big-inch versions are touted as “easy” to install—a bold statement where big-block Vette headers are concerned.
Built for 1965-’69 Corvettes with 396, 427, 454 or 502 big-blocks, these handmade McJacks headers directly replace your factory cast-iron manifolds. They utilize 2-inch primaries that feed into 2-1/2-inch collectors, which allows these pipes to easily handle whatever your Rat throws at them.
They’re built using 16-gauge tubing and laser-cut 3/8-inch flanges, and then ceramic and copper coated for longevity, rust suppression and heat insulation. And best of all, regardless of whether your Vette is an auto or manual, your new headers clear the steering box, A-arms, framerails, idler arm, A/C boxes and clutch jack shaft.
Part Number: BBCC2X256569
C3 ’70-74 McJacks 2-Inch Big-Block Ceramic/Copper Coated Header
McJacks also offers this version, for 1970-74 big-block Corvettes. It retains the same 2-inch primary size and 2-1/2-inch collector size for awesome flow. But McJacks also states that these pipes will fit any big-block-equipped 1963-82 Vette as well.
Part Number: BBCC2X2156382
C2/C3 Sanderson 1-5/8-inch Small Block Header
Sanderson Headers is known for tight-fitting, gasket-free Chevy headers. And this model can fit in a boatload of Chevy vehicles—including 1955-’82 Corvettes. It’s built using 16-gauge steel, and features 1-5/8-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors, which makes it perfect for all but the most radical SBC engines. These headers also use a patented 3/8-inch flange thickness, which allows them to seal up with nothing but some high-temp silicone.
Regarding fitment, they’ll clear any motor mounts, tie rods, starter or trans (save for cast-iron Powerglides.) It’ll also fit any rack-and-pinion, including Vega steering and any Mustang-style mounted steering that is mounted with 2 inches of clearance from the steering gear to the driver-side center ports. And it comes with all hardware necessary for installation, including bolts and a collector reducer. While plain-steel versions are very affordable, Sanderson recommends their optional aluminized ceramic coating with all header purchases.
Part Number: CC1_158
C2/C3 Sanderson 1-7/8-inch Big-Block Header
You 396-, 454- and 502-inch big-block owners can bolt up extra horsepower with these Sanderson tubes. Like the above small-block pipes, they’re also built with 16-gauge steel and 3-inch collectors, though the primaries are a whopping 1-7/8-inch diameter to let that Mark IV/V exhale with ease. And of course, Sanderson’s unique, patented 3/8-inch-thick flange seals ’em up with nothing but some high-temp silicone. And they’re also available bare or black—but you should spring for the ceramic coating for longevity’s sake.
Part Number: BB5