Flowmaster understands why electric racing doesn’t work. It should, but it doesn’t. Think about it. It’s extremely fast. Electric motors offer tsunamis of torque on demand. Batteries can be arranged low in the chassis for perfect weight distribution. It’s simple, too, with far fewer components than a traditional engine, so it should eventually be cheap and accessible. It even shuts up the environmental crowd, as long as you don’t tell them the batteries were acid mined in Siberia.
But we don’t find ourselves particularly desirous of electric racing, do we? And it’s not because we think hippies are taking over our beloved motorsport. It’s because e-racing is silent. When we watch a race, or even a street car rumble by with a pleasantly tuned V8 growling through a custom exhaust, there’s a sudden surge of emotion. In the moment, we don’t understand what it means. In fact, we don’t know how much that sound really matters until it’s gone. Lap times, styling, power, speed – these are all the bricks of car enjoyment. But the noise, nay, the music… That’s the mortar.
And you know that they know it. Flowmaster’s signature sound has been favored by tuners (like these) for the better part of three decades. But when they first started in 1983, Flowmaster wasn’t seeking more sound, but less. Sprint cars of the era used plain old, over-the-counter exhaust systems whose mufflers created horsepower-robbing backpressure on the heavily tuned engines.
So Flowmaster founder Ray Flugger thought: why not tune the muffler? Why not offer a muffler that cuts sound without cutting power? And you don’t want to just leave the muffler off all the time, even on the track. Straight pipes are fine on your drag car because you only run it
10 11 12 seconds at a time. But when you’re out on that oval for an hour, engine noise can both permanently damage your hearing and cause you to lose, and we’re not sure which is worse.
Flugger set to work and created a masterpiece with a well-crafted housing and an unforgettable exhaust note. That signature sound made an impression, and soon Flowmaster was expertly welding brilliant mufflers and other high performance exhaust elements for just about everything on the road. Their Super 10, Super 40, and Hushpower mufflers pretty much took over America.
So what do you do when you’ve already perfected the sound? According to Mark Emerson of Flowmaster, you make it look better. For 2014, they’ve improved the look of their HP2 with fewer seams and a smoother design.
And the sound, folks. That sound. Snap on a Flowmaster exhaust or muffler and you’ll have all the argument you need for internal combustion to go on and on forever until we’re synthesizing gasoline out of old Hanson CDs. Electric racing is neat, but it has nothing on the roar.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.