Exhaust Fashions That You Should Know About

Big, small, visible, hidden, double, triple … We review the aesthetic evolution of exhaust pipes. Did you know that in the 70s a Ferrari sported up to six tailpipes?

The need to expel the gases from combustion led to the development of the exhaust system together with the engine. These tubes, without changing their function, have not been alien to the fashions of the times.

Now they are seen, now they are not seen. Now they are banned, now they are an indispensable element of a rear. Real or fake. Big or small. To one side, in the center or on both sides. Fat, small, framed, integrated, twisted … it is worth stopping to take a look at the aesthetic evolution of an element so simple in principle.

Because at the beginning it was nothing more than a pipe fixed to the exhaust manifold of the engine block. A tube that was often straight and ran along the underside of the car until it ended just below the rear bumper. And so it was until the 1930s when everything had to have an aesthetic function. Thus we find examples of the most rococo in the form of flexible hoses that came out on both sides of the long bonnets (Auburn Speedster, for example) and finials in the shape of a shark fin, shell, ceiling, artichoke … It was a “crazy” decade that spawned some of the most beautiful cars on either side of the Atlantic.

Postwar years: Europe is not to show off

After World War II things calmed down and, once again, function prevailed over form until the late 1950s, when Americans rediscovered the taste for “finishing” their cars well, especially the most playful ones. They integrated the best exhaust tip for deep sound into the same bumper, skilfully concealed it, pulled it out on one side, doubled its number and thickness, chromed its tube … Thunderbird, Corvette, Bel Air, Fairlane … Europeans, however, bet on discretion to unless we talk about sports cars.There they did take pride in bringing out their tubes. An exception was the Porsche 356 whose double central exit was more a necessity given its mechanical layout than an aesthetic accessory. Who doubts it that looks at the Volkswagen Beetle of the time. Exactly, the same two tubes in the same place.

In the 60s the issue of tubes in the air was associated with more sporty cars, “pony cars” and some luxury saloons, beginning to hide the outputs, barely worked, in the rest of the utility vehicles.

The trend continued in the 1970s. While the sports cars exhibited two, four and up to six exits in sight (Ferrari 365 GT4 BB) the rest were satisfied with hiding their thing in the low, in a more or less successful and / or deliberate way. Until plastic came in the 80s.

80s: the Ferrari F40 surprises with three central tailpipes

Manufacturers went crazy with wrap-around bumpers. Everything had to be “collected” behind them. It was “the most of the most.” Even big brands with impressive engines succumbed to the fashion. They made a churro with their tubes and hid them in the skirt. A shame I had to live that transition as a child and I remember going with friends down the street and throwing ourselves under a car to see “how many leaks” it had, if one or two.

As an exception to the norm were Japanese cars. They used tubes of a diameter equivalent to a current marker and put them on the opposite side of normal, but hey, they had two silver leaks that “were cool.” I remember a Honda Prelude after school … I don’t know which I liked more, if its exits or its retractable headlights.

Also in that decade, Ferrari, in order not to lose camber, presented its F40 with three central exhaust outlets. An eccentricity… that, now, Honda has recovered for its brand new Civic Type R.

The 90s were a wasteland . Just as I say. “Ball cars” and the invention of that new diabolical concept that were “minivans”. With that being said everything. The premium brands did begin to timidly show their tubes from behind until at the turn of the century, they reappeared without dissimulation. The escape had returned. Not in all brands (the French were most reluctant to incorporate fashion again) or in all models (they were reserved for those with a “sporty touch”) but they had returned.

Once again, you could see double chrome, oval, square, trapezoidal, central outlets, in polished, matte, glossy finishes … the consumer looked to the “sporty” side of life and the manufacturer wanted to give it to them, although many times it was more an illusion than anything else.

False escape routes: the current fashion

After overcoming the crisis, the manufacturers realized that it was much better, economically, to actually fake good exhaust outlets rather than manufacture them. And that’s where we are now, pretending what it isn’t.

From a Renault Espace with those trims at the ends of the bumper to a whole Mercedes of the E-Class, which hides two tubes under the bumper to show two false oval exits. Like there are quadruple outlets that are actually two or cup-holder-size trims that hide rather discreet section tubes and a poor finish (Alfa Stelvio). Of course there are also others that provide an outlet for each cylinder of rather small engines (Abarth 500).

What has undoubtedly been worked on a lot is the sound. And it stands to reason, the new “downsized” thrusters don’t sound as good as the old ones , forcing manufacturers to spawn a few departments of “church organ pipe masters” that make 6-cylinder diesels resonate to V8’s. gasoline (Audi A6 BiTDi) or backfire looking like they are going to spit a blaze of fire from one moment to another like the rally cars of the 80s. I don’t like that very much (I have had one of those and I admit that it gets tired ) but everything is to add some pepper to the driving of some decaffeinated models.

Now we come to the era of hybrids and electric, so we may lose sight of that design element in the rear again although … the recent Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has preferred to have them … although before it did not carry them.

It’s very good. It is a way to satisfy everyone.

Written by Rhys Faulkner