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Hot Rods Looking for old style scavenger pipes

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Andy, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,665


    I would like to find a source of the late 50’s early 60’s long chrome pipes that were on everything at the time. I am not looking for side pipes but the ones run straight back under the car. Any leads?
  2. Why not polished SS?
  3. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,430


    They still sell them. I bought two 2-1/2" x 4'. They had the horn tips..
  4. Got mine from an outfit in Arkansas City, Ks. 4' long, slash cut on other end.
    Believe it was Kool Rides. Hope that helps. If you can't find them let me know, I'm not planning on using
    mine now.
    kidcampbell71 and chubbie like this.

  5. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,103


    Down tube exhaust outlets


    Your search will turn up “scavenger pipes” for under the old sedans from the 50s-60s. But, they are not the real versions of the scavenger pipes as the original intent of such pipes. Stock cars had to run through their mufflers to be streel legal for the class. Exhaust cut outs were allowed in timing runs, but not for elimination runs. That allowed people to open those cut outs and see how much it improved the performance. (Or not) As the exhaust cut out wars continued, some ran well and others no so much.

    So, to counter the exhaust through the muffler systems required as per stock car rules, the original scavenger pipes were created. This by passes the rules as there were no rules, since the stock mufflers were still attached and were still being used, it was deemed legal for timing runs AND eliminations. Scavenge the exhaust and sent it through a faster exit was the purpose, hence the name.

    What you see advertised as scavenger pipes at 4 feet long were those pipes that were welded onto the stock mufflers, eliminating the “over the rear” and out/ under the bumper, weighted pipes that came from the factory. At first, they were deemed legal as the stock mufflers were being used, it was just a fancy short chrome exhaust pipe that made a funny noise and did nothing for performance on most cars.

    So, what are the real scavenger pipes and where can you get them? We had ours custom made by our local expert welding/muffler shop to match the down exhaust outlets under the motor. Once they were made, then the final chroming was done and they were then easily attached to those under the header exhaust outlets. (See diagram)

    Soon, quite a few guys had the same system custom made from the stock motor down tubes back underneath the coupes/sedans. The single pipe on each side, made a tinny sound that was worse than the stock exhaust cut outs opened up by themselves. Something like putting a skinny pipe on a motorcycle exhaust port that created a bee buzzing sound, similar, but not quite. You get the picture.

    Now, the addition of a u-joint and a dual set of pipes per each exhaust outlet was the set up that made a deeper sound and actually sounded like performance. So, now those cars had 4 equal length exhaust pipes running back under the rear axle from the motor. The stock mufflers were still attached as normal. These were created to by-pass the muffler restrictions.


    Somehow, they were legal at first. Then others complained that it was not from the factory, but a way to by-pass the stock muffler system. Plus, they cost too much for the low buck car owner. So, to equalize these complaints, those “scavenger pipes” custom or straight from J.C. Whitney or similar stores were deemed illegal and relegated to using them on the streets of So Cal. Well, that did not last too long as the CHP now gave “illegal sound” tickets to remove them and cap up the exhaust outlets. Not a moving violation, but, in essence, a “fix-it” ticket.

    So what do those custom dual pipe set do for an encore? For us, they were useless and my brother and I gave them a nice resting spot in the rafters of our backyard garage from 1961 until we sold the house in 1998. Many times I had thought of taking those back to our own house, but they weighed a ton and I would have to strap them down on the surfboard racks limited to 100 pounds. It certainly felt like they weighed at least that much. They were left for the new owners of the house. We did not remember them until the final walk through and packing.

    The ones that are 4 feet long and chrome tipped are nice pipes, but they are just chromed exhaust pipe add on tips and not the real scavenger pipes, well at least not from So Cal. And, certainly not from the original intent of bypassing the muffler system. They added a lot of money being packaged as scavenger pipes from all of those accessory companies. Then and now.

    Previous threads:

    Downward exhaust outlet flange with wingnuts for quick opening/closing and removal.
    modified from
    @BZNSRAT photo post


    Last week, I was in a discussion about scavenger pipes back when we were teenagers. Scavenger pipes have been discussed in the HAMB many times over. To help out with an official photo of one of the best examples of So Cal scavengers, here is a green 50’s Chevy with dual exhaust pipe scavengers. Most of the single and dual pipe scavengers were long, bolt on additions to the normal exhaust set up on the local hot cars.

    They were easily unbolted and removed, leaving only the down tube cap remaining under the motor. With the flange set up we made, the wing nuts loosened the cap to run open exhausts. when necessary, a quick wingnut turn and it is capped up instantly. on installing the dual set of scavenger pipes, the whole wing nut assembly cap was removed and attached to the upward flange of the scavengers.

    But, because we did not see this green Chevy in person, the photo shows a good example of the dual pipe set of pipes without knowing how the attachment end fit the standard exhaust system at the motor.

    So, before everyone “goes to town” on the “correct” Scavenger pipe look and fitment, several points needed to be addressed.

    1. The straight pipe welded onto the standard muffler and run under the rear axle is not the true So Cal scavenger pipe set up.

    2. The idea of the original scavenger pipe came from hot rod/drag racers trying to get as much straight through exhaust out of the back.

    3. The true scavenger pipe(s) were not run through the muffler(s), but were separate pipes added on to the down pipe cut outs.

    4. Most true scavenger pipes were custom made as the down pipe exhaust cut outs had to match the actual cut out flange from the factory exhaust exiting from the standard exhaust manifold(s).

    5. The long scavenger pipes were heavy and were bolted to some part of the frame for rigidity and support. The inlet was matched to the extra down cut out for ease of installation and removal.

    The first thing the tech inspectors did at the dragstrip was to open the hood and look for a fancy header system. If found on a stock car class racer, they got reclassified as a Gas Coupe or Sedan, no ifs, ands, or buts… It was not a factory item. Even if the header system ran through the dual muffler set up going out of the back. Custom headers were not stock.

    But, this is where the classification of “Scavengers” comes into play. There were no rules to state that these long muffler bypass exhaust pipes were illegal, as the stock muffler system was still on the factory stock car. There was some confusion for weeks at the tech inspector’s station and during the races.

    The confusion was the addition of straight pipes from the mufflers that ran under the rear axle. Those were illegal, too, as they were part of the modified muffled system. (Just fancy exhaust tips.) The name scavengers is not just flared exhaust tips added to normal rear exhausts past the last muffler. They were individual pipes bolted on to the down tube exit from the existing stock headers or the custom made header sets.

    Those long pipes started at the down tube of the exhaust manifold and went far back on the chassis under or near the rear axle. Usually, an additional bolt on bracket was necessary for support of the long pipes. Some have called short pipes from the mufflers rearward with flared tips, scavengers. That may be, but the name is not the original So Cal “scavenger” pipe set ups as we all know it. They were from the accessory shops or custom made at the muffler shops that dotted the So Cal scene.


    Protests at Lions Dragstrip came to a halt when the tech inspectors banned all “Scavenger” pipes single or dual… The ruling was that no modifications to the stock system was issued. For the trial timed runs, open exhaust cut outs were allowed, but had to be capped up for the eliminations. During those open cut out runs, it sure sounded nice through the gears and the quarter mile.

    If we take a step back and see how the added weight of the dual set of chromed pipes did for the car, did that override the sound and faster times? Not so much, as they were not the thing that won races. It was the quick reaction times of the drivers of the equally prepared stock cars, that made the difference.

    We left our set of heavy dual pipe chromed scavengers from each side of the 348 Impala, sitting in the rafters of our backyard garage. It was the strongest, out of the way place to keep them. We had forgotten about those pipes over the years. In 1998 when we sold our old Westside Long Beach house, I am sure the new owners were surprised when they moved in to their new home. Probably, a set of 40 YEAR OLD pipes were sitting on the curbside for the local pickup guy to come the very next day and pick up the pristine chrome scavenger pipes.

    Stock headers, and through muffler stock exhaust system

    Addition of welded in exhaust down tube and flange. Then, attached a set of dual pipe custom chromed tubes (4) to the down tubes and out beyond the rear axle.

    rust runner likes this.
  6. 4ty
    Joined: Dec 11, 2018
    Posts: 121


    I was thinking about these pipes just the other day. I had them on my 32 coupe,55 olds dual exh, flex pipe to 6 cyl chev mufflers then the pipes run under the rear end. "Cool" at the time, 61.
    Paul in CT

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