Exhaust tips. Exhaust outlets. Exhaust splitters. All have become big ticket items in the styling stakes over the past decade. Seems like just about every new car has to have a fancy exhaust outlet or at the very least – a chromed exhaust tip…or four.
Once was a time when the only cars with fancy exhaust outlets were Italian exotics and American muscle cars of the 1960s. They’ve become so de rigueur that designers are putting highly styled, chrome finish (plastic) exhaust outlets on even the most mundane economy cars.
Purists are rightly crying foul because as often as not, they aren’t even functional. Take a look under the rear of some of these cars and you’ll see the real exhaust pipe, unadorned and hidden from the world.
The idea of fancy exhaust tips & outlets has been around a lot longer than people might think. Take the 1965 Mustang GT dress-up kit with fancy trumpet tips protruding from chrome edged outelts in the rear valance. Though very cool and undoubtedly trend-setters - they were not the first.
You have to go back to Detroit in the mid-1950s to see the first fancy exhaust designs. Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Lincoln and Ford’s Thunderbird sported very cool exhaust outlets incorporated in to the rear bumper.
Although great to look at, the early designs weren’t always practical – some causing fume blowback which left nasty black marks on the rear duco. A worse problem was exhaust fumes making their way in to the cabin on convertibles such as the original 1955-57 T-birds.
Then there’s the current high end models. Even when they don’t need multiple exhausts…even when multiple exhausts ad nothing in power, add weight and complexity, and are nothing but a styling gimmick - designers insist on them. What often happens is a performance model may have four outlets that are, technically, true exhausts - but they’re funneled from a single (or twin) pipes that branch out and often crossover from one side to the other. When that happens - you know things are starting to get ridiculous….
While it’s great to see designers finally paying attention to the humble exhaust outlet, surely things have gone just a little overboard, haven’t they?. Now that almost every new car has to have fancy exhaust tips, in order to stand out the real performance cars have to raise decibel levels to be heard above the din (so to speak)
If all these late-model high powered cars sounded like a 1960s big block muscle car - I’d be okay with it. Knock yourselves out. But many of the new exotics sound like mosquitoes on steroids - all high and whiny and seemingly designed to annoy people. Mission accomplished. Which begs the question- what are the boy racers going to do when everything becomes electric?