The exhaust note that cars have tells smarty pants gearheads a lot. We can hear how rowdy the cam is, figure out whether the engine is a small block or a big block, even perhaps name the brand of mufflers on the car just by ear. If cars “speak” to us, they do so through the exhaust pipes. All sounds of muffled combustion are not the same for many reasons and that means some are good and some totally suck. Take virtually any Infinity for example. Since most are powered by variants of the VQ engine, which is a V6 plant. It produces what we think is the single worst sound of an internal combustion engine on the road today. It is an annoyingly garbled wailing drone that hits our ears like an ice pick. Bleck.
On the other side of the spectrum there’s the classic rumble of a big block Chevelle, the seemingly patented sound of a Ford Mustang with either a 5.0L pushrod or OHC engine, the old gleeful popping of a flathead four powered Ford, the pedestrian sounding woosh as produced by older inline six engines, and the furious scream of a Z06 ‘Vette equipped with an LS engine and the factory variable back pressure exhaust. There’s always the nice deep done of big block Chryslers and the unbridled rage of a Hemi at high RPM filling every inch of exhaust tube with unburnt hydrocarbons and good vibrations.
Pontiac had a very shortlived option on the GTO that allowed for the driver to pull a knob on the dash and open a couple of flaps that allowed the mufflers to flow straight through like open pipes and of course there’s the notoriously loud chambered exhaust offered on early Camaros. Looking across the pond the boys in Italy certainly make a fine sounding Ferrari, and the sound of a VW Beetle is also universally known by car guys and girls the world over.
So, what car has the best sounding factory exhaust in history?