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How to get a bespoke exhaust for your classic car

How to get a bespoke exhaust for your classic car Classic and Performance Car

Whether parts are no longer available or are of a poor quality, you can always get a custom system made. Here’s what you need to know


When your car was old enough to need only its first replacement exhaust, it was a matter of driving noisily into your local Merritt’s Speedy Silencer Centre or whatever your local fast-fit was called. Or, at greater cost and less speedily, getting the main dealer to do it.
 
This was a depressingly regular chore and, even though lifespans improved after lead was banished from petrol, exhausts still wear out. If your classic is not catered for by a specialist with new exhausts on the shelf, you’ll need to have one made. Even young-timers can be blighted by poor-quality silencers that have dire gasflow and unpleasant resonances, or sometimes the components simply don’t fit. The bends or brackets or hangers might be in the wrong place, the flanges might not meet, the pipe diameters might be wrong. That said, you might strike lucky. 
 
So you need to get an exhaust made. How? The easy route is to approach a firm such as PD Gough of Nottingham, which has exhaust systems going back to 1920 and uses them as patterns for making new ones from corrosion-proof stainless steel… unless you actually want mild steel. The heaviness of the gauge and the density of the stuffing, if applicable, takes away any ‘tinniness’ that can afflict stainless systems.
 
Some firms – Gough is one, Maniflow in Salisbury is another – can also make a one-off system to your own design; this writer had Maniflow make a silencer from a freehand perspective drawing annotated with dimensions and a bracket location, and it fitted perfectly. 
 
It was a semi-straight-through type with the pipe taking an S-bend inside the silencer box, to maximise noise attenuation in a compact space.
 
Another approach is to arrive at a bespoke exhaust-making company in the car requiring a new system. That way they can bend the pipes, do the welding and trial-fit as they go. Longlife Exhausts is one such company, with branches around the country. There are others; this is not an exhaustive list…
 
Words: John Simister

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