Hooniverse Asks: What's the Weirdest Exhaust System You've Ever Seen?

Yesterday we talked about weird intakes, and boy, were there some odd bodkins brought up! Of course for every suck there’s got to be a blow, and so keeping inline with weird engine breathing apparatuses, today we’re looking for the oddest exhausts.
This question has been rattling around in the Castrol-covered raisin I call a brain ever since I went to the Peterson Museum a few weeks back. While there I happened upon a display of the mechanical systems that underlie a Maserati Quattroporte laid bare under accusatory spot lights. One of the things that struck me most about it was the weird-ass exhaust that had separate chambers for when you wanted to bring the noize, and for when you wanted to run silent and run deep.
It’s that kind of weird we’re looking for here, as well as crazy mandrel-bent equal-length headers and those freaky flathead exhausts that don’t seem to come from anywhere. What is the weirdest exhaust you’ve ever seen?
Image: Kreissieg.ocnk.net

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59 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What's the Weirdest Exhaust System You've Ever Seen?”

  1. neight428 Avatar

    I’m going back with the hot Vee setup. It’s a thing of beauty.
    One of the cool little details in Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” movies that only car folks would notice was Francesco Beroulli’s mom being modeled after a Ferrari 312 with the exhaust headers being her hair braids.

  2. ninjabortion Avatar

    The 2nd gen mr2 systems sort of weird me out when seen out of the car. Does the f body hump in the passenger foot well for the exhaust count as an exhaust feature?

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      ’75-’77 Vegas (and I imagine all H-Bodies) had that as well, to clear the catalytic converter.
      And as a bonus, an old USA Today article about Dick Klimisch, the GM chemist who led the team that developed the catalytic converter:

      1. neight428 Avatar

        That was referred to as the “pancake” converter in Corvette circles.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          Yes, and it was refillable (with new beads), by removing the factory plug, shaking out the old beads with a special tool, then sucking the new beads in and installing a service plug. All detailed in GM factory service manuals of the time.

          1. dmdukejr Avatar

            An old parts guy told me a fable about a mountain of those used beads in West Virginia, just waiting for someone to figure out a cost-effective way to extract the tiny amounts of rare metals from them.

      2. ninjabortion Avatar

        Yeah my cali model datsun 710 wagon had the hump under the driver seat so when i wanted to put a new seat in it i had to cut the cat out, weld a test pipe in, make the floor flat, THEN i was able to put a nice seat in. It ain’t pretty, but my ass doesn’t have eyes so who cares ๐Ÿ˜›

        View post on imgur.com

        View post on imgur.com

        My favorite cats were the “nuclear reactors” in the early rx-7’s. They were known to get so hot that if you parked in high grass they would start fires.

        1. Frank T. Cat Avatar
          Frank T. Cat

          The thermal reactor was on the RX-4 and the Cosmo, too. They also have the unique property of being heavy as hell.

          1. ninjabortion Avatar

            Ah you are right, thermal reactor, with any luck the few people i told about it incorrectly spread that misinformation as well so people are convinced it takes fusion to make rotary emissions half decent ๐Ÿ˜›

    2. discontinuuity Avatar

      On the late-model first-gen MR2’s, the intake passes through the trunk, from the vent on the right side to the filter and throttle body on the right.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    ’68 GTOs with the Turbo 400 are the only cars I’m aware of that used “tuner pipes”, split tailpipes that had a length of pipe that was pinched shut at the end, above the pipe with the outlet:
    I’ve only ever seen pictures or drawings of them; I imagine they were never replaced with the same thing when the originals rusted out.

    1. JayP Avatar

      What’s the point of that?

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        My assumption would be that it is there to even out exhaust pulses in much the same way a hammer arrestor works in a house’s copper plumbing.

      2. dukeisduke Avatar

        It was some kind of resonator type deal.

  4. JayP Avatar

    S197 Boss 302.
    Side pipes delivered with plates. Remote actuators can be added.
    Mine is an Xpipe instead of the H. Without the plate it’s not really loud.

  5. engineerd Avatar

    I guess when you have a transverse-mid-engined Group B rallycar, the exhaust route can get a bit circuitous.

    1. jim Avatar

      Group 4. Group B didn’t even exist when the Stratos raced.

  6. tonyola Avatar

    The vertical pipes on the Dodge Li’l Red Express pickup.

    1. Guest Avatar

      The Dodge Dakota Express took that and made it weirder.

      Looks the same, but the vertical pipes weren’t connected, although they could be.



    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      When I was a kid, a friend’s older brother had a Challenger T/A, in white, with the dog dish hubcaps. That exhaust was crazy.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      That’s not weird. Every snowmobile-engined Miata I’ve ever seen uses exactly the same setup.

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        That’s still weird exhaust.

  7. Alff Avatar

    I just thought of the right answer for yesterday but will put it here. I lived in Seattle when Mount St. Helens erupted. Fine abrasive volcanic ash sullied the air of communities near the mountain for several months afterward, clogging carbs and scoring cylinders. One somewhat popular solution was to use a canister filter mounted to a tall pipe off the front fender because the ash tended to dissipate above 6′. For a few years afterward it was advisable to avoid any used car with a strange hole cut in the bodywork.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Speaking of which, the car that KOMO reporter Dave Crockett famously was forced to abandon in order to stagger to safety through the eruption on foot (with his camera running) is now on display at Hoffstadt Visitor Center along the drive into the blast zone:

      1. Alff Avatar

        I’d love to see that. My Dad worked for KOMO in those days, he brought home a lot of crazy stories about Dave and the other news guys putting themselves in harms’ way to cover the volcano.

    2. Tanshanomi Avatar

      When I was in the aviation battalion at Ft. Lewis (83-85), a good friend of mine was a flight medic. She told me stories about flying medivac/SAR flights around Mt. St. Helens
      pretty much around the clock in the days after the eruption. They only had a
      few hours of flight time before the particulate filters would clog and
      starve the engine for air. Twice they had flameouts and had to autorotate down. They simply swapped the filters on the ground and took off again. No way
      could anybody do that sort of thing now.

  8. pj134 Avatar

    Any time a pipe is split for no reason other than splitting them is weird to me.
    Also, when Jeep could have easily split an exhaust and added practicality to the car but didn’t.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      It could be worse. On a Sonett V4 (but not Sonett III), the exhaust from each bank is dropped into a common chamber only to be split again into two pipes running the length of the car which then rejoin at a single muffler with one exit.

      1. pj134 Avatar

        There was probably some really intelligent reason for that or something.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Sort of. The 95/96 V4 exhaust is essentially the same thing with only the right-hand of the two long pipes present. My guess is this was a quick and cheap way to improve breathing somewhat while still using as much of the extant tooling as possible.

      1. pj134 Avatar

        Yes, and that hits my other exhaust pet peeve of having fake exhaust tip body work.

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          I would ordinarily agree with you โ€” any design element masquerading as something it isn’t is normally offensive to me on principle. And I did initially dislike them on the Kizashi too, until I realized that they were pretty much the only thing on the car that kept it from being completely generic looking. Now I kind of enjoy them. Because Mecha.

  9. mdharrell Avatar

    Continuing yesterday’s Y-block theme, any of the versions with a front crossover pipe:

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        That is a rather unfortunate location for hot exhaust components if you need to be under the hood bonnet for any reason.

        1. JayP Avatar

          That engine is so far back in the bay that the only way out is to the front.
          Or thru the fender liner like the MGB RV8 did…

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      The General Motors 3800 V6 did this as well. (seen here installed in some kind of rock crawler)

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Crossover pipes were nothing new even at the time, it’s just that in the case of the Y-block the location is decidedly unfortunate. Ford flatheads are much better in this regard, for example.

  10. Eduardo Rodrigues Avatar

    The Pontiac GTO/Holden Monaro

    1. pj134 Avatar

      Was that 04 only?

      1. JayP Avatar

        For the GTO it was. Lutz couldn’t get a proper L/R valence produced in time. It may have needed another crash test or something. Someone will set me right.

    2. nanoop Avatar

      I wonder how they make these images. Image stitching/shopping, sure, but do they lift the car on a two-post three-arm lift?

  11. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    How about Fisker deciding to dump the exhaust in front of the driver, so it has the best chance of floating up and into the window while you sit in traffic?

  12. LEROOOY Avatar

    A guy I keep seeing at Engine Swap Depot is making a bespoke V12 out of two Toyota IJZ I6 engines. I’m not sure where he’s going with it, but it’s making for one fantastic exhaust system: imgur.com/pO36SU2.jpg”>

    V12 From Two Toyota I6 Engines – Update 5

  13. tonyola Avatar

    I win.

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      Looks like a parade float got lost in Tokyo. Those trend-setting Japanese…

  14. jim Avatar

    In the 1935 Monaco-Trossi GP race car, the exhaust is just the icing on a really weird cake… We’re talking about “air cooled, twin-supercharged, 16-cylinder, two-stroke radial engine powering the front wheels” levels of weird.
    full story : http://oldmachinepress.com/2012/09/01/1935-monaco-trossi/

  15. Clawbrant Avatar

    Pontiac Fieros had a fake dual exhaust (with quad tips); only the right side was active. But instead of just having the tips in place on the left side there is a fair amount of pipe attached that just floats up into the engine bay and doesn’t connect to anything.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      I didn’t know that the Fiero’s engine bay is so roomy you can literally stand next to the engine… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    Weird exhausts? Curtis Wright R-3350-93A. 18 cylinder radial-not rotary-in two rows of 9 cylinders with the exhausts of three sets of six cylinders joined together and each set feeding into a power recovery turbine which is geared back to the crankshaft. Each PRT returned 280hp to the engines output by recovering the waste heat in the exhaust stream. 3500bhp for five minutes but 2800bhp until it runs out of fuel and/or oil. by GOD that is a fearsome engine used in SPADs, B-29s, Neptunes and Connies. Curtis-Wright-when you absolutely must turn fuel and oil into smoke and noise….

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