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Piping Hot – Exhaust R&D, Part 5: Decimating Drone

Usually, the first noticeable change people make to any car is how it sounds. As summer starts to heat up, some of us gearheads are starting to take our unicorns, endless money-pits, kind-of-finished projects, or whatever you call your ride, out of storage, or the garage. It’s the season for nightly meets, hot track days and long cruises, giving you the perfect opportunity to showcase the changes you’ve made to your pride and joy since you put it away for the winter. Whether you replaced your catalytic converter with a high flow version, got a full, larger-diameter exhaust, or custom fabricated your own straight-pipe setup, the exhaust is the go-to modification if you want to be heard.

We know that there is a sweet middle ground many go for when modifying the exhaust. An exhaust that is too tame can be a bit of a let-down if you want some serious growl. However, an exhaust that is too aggressive can anger the neighbors, attract Johnny Law, and loudly drone on the highway – none of which are desired results from an upgraded exhaust. We have a few variations of our exhaust planned for our 2016 Chevy Camaro SS, but the one we are going to focus on in this update is the version that will be the perfect candidate for an aggressive-sounding exhaust without the peskiness of highway drone.

Undershot of our prototype exhaust
Undershot of our prototype exhaust

Having a raspy, aggressive, super-loud exhaust is simple. Just eliminate the restrictive stock system, make some piping that will fit within the allowed routing underneath the car, and bam – exhaust. In most circles, this is called a “straight-pipe” system. You don’t have anything to muffle the sound from the headers to the rear of the car, just piping. Sure, it will sound cool on some cars and be very loud, but doing this to a daily driven street car runs the risk of getting pulled over every day in certain states – especially with the 6.2L V8 found in this SS. I’ve heard this thing without an exhaust. It thunders.

The pipes routed off of the exhaust and wrapped in the bumper act as Helmholtz resonators
The pipes routed off of the exhaust and wrapped in the bumper act as Helmholtz resonators

To avoid losing your license from too many exhaust tickets, you’d want an exhaust that encapsulates the classic V8 rumble in a manner that is tasteful. The way to do this is using some sort of resonators. The purpose of resonators in today’s automotive technology is for sound reduction. In exhausts, they take form of what’s called a Helmholtz resonator, which baffles sound at certain RPM’s to prevent unwanted drone and sound vibration. It softens the engine sound experienced inside of the car, especially when the engine is at constant RPM levels (like on the highway). On the highway, your ears are safe thanks to the pipes that split off alongside the main exhaust routing right behind the rear bumper. These pipes are hollow, but are essential in drastically reducing the amount of drone that comes from this exhaust.

This axle-back prototype exhaust sounds burly. I drove the car earlier this week a good bit, and you can hear gurgling and popping that is non-existent with the factory system. On a cold start-up, the LT1 wakes up with authority, and we all know this car sounds mean, even with the factory setup. Although this is just a prototype, we are planning to move forward with it as a final design. It took many iterations and designs to get it just right, so excuse the delay, but we like to be thorough. Take a look at our production unit below!

Final production unit!
Final production unit!

The exhaust will come with options. We will offer the tips in quad or dual (pictured), and you can have the color options of either polished or black. The even better news, is that we are just about ready to make our exhaust systems ready for presale. Stay tuned for pricing and shipping information!

-Diamaan

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