As much as us hot rodders dig the sound of a lumpy-cam V-8 rifling though a set of open headers, after time it can become a bit much. Especially when the car belching out the eardrum-busting note is one you plan on driving on a regular basis, or for a long distance. The decibel battle between your 12-inch subs and your 3-inch header collectors will end up sounding like your favorite two metal bands rocking out at the same time…backwards—not good!
With that being said, it’s also important to let it be known your ride means business. You certainly don’t want your stroked mouse motor to sound like a wheezy rodent. Authority is the name of the game here. Besides, if your car looks aggressive, it needs to sound aggressive. It’s just the way it is.
We called the folks at Flowmaster and told them what we were looking to achieve in the muffler department for our ’71 Camaro Project car. The car will be driven hard, often, and on long distances, so we wanted to keep the exhaust resonance in the interior to a minimum, but we like the idea of announcing our arrival with an aggressive exterior note.
Another important issue is performance. Our ’71 project car sports a pretty healthy small-block, but as conscious as we are about the sound; parasitic horsepower loss is also of concern. We didn’t spend our precious dyno-time fine-tuning the engine just to give away valuable ponies through the tailpipe.
Flowmaster’s American Thunder System #17149 for 1970-73 and Delta Flow 50 muffler was just the ticket for our second-gen project car. The Delta Flow 50 does a great job of eliminating interior resonance while still obtaining that Flowmaster sound outside the car. And the mig-welded 16-gauge aluminized steel promises durability even with everything we’ll be throwing through it. Flowmaster is so confident, they include a a 10-year warranty for their stainless steel mufflers.
There are many benefits to using the American Thunder system including: reduced backpressure for improved acceleration, cooler underhood temperatures, and better fuel economy (we could all use that). The kit comes with all the necessary clamps, hangers and mounting hardware for ease of installation. Your muffler shop professional will love you for this alone, not to mention the detailed instructions that make for a quick installation.
We hauled the box of muffler pieces to Josh Gledhall over at Muffler Man in Placentia, CA for the install. He’s an expert in the field and was able to take care of business in just a few hours. This guy’s been bending and cutting pipe for quite a few years and even he commented on how simple the installation was. He was especially impressed with how tidy the mufflers tucked under the floors. And that’s a good thing since this car will be sitting on the low. We prefer to keep our muffler scrapage to a minimum.
Follow along as The Muffler Man takes us through the install from beginning to end.
When you’re familiar with the playing field, making horsepower is an easy game. A fresh engine, the right gearing, and a beefy transmission should be all you need. But for some reason your prized F-body isn’t delivering that neck-snapping bottom-end torque or consistent pulling through the rpm range you had expected.
You’ve gone through a mental inventory of all the bolted on performance goodies, and everything checks out. But still something just doesn’t seem right. The last thing on your mind is an exhaust obstruction.
With the pipe showing no signs of denting on the exterior, everything is cool with the flow, right? Wrong.
Over time, heat can eventually cause the internal wall of the exhaust pipe to collapse; creating an obstruction that is undetectable from an external inspection. The aged tubing is now reduced to less than 1-inch total diameter — a major factor that is sure to hinder proper exhaust flow. It’s difficult to detect, and a common mistake is to assume the problem stems from the muffler itself. So if your hot rod isn’t performing so…hot, it may be time to swap out that crusty old pipe for some fresh tubing.