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History When did chassis headers come about?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ShortyLaVen, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. ShortyLaVen
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 615

    ShortyLaVen
    Member

    I picked up this set of headers for my car today, and while I'm not overly concerned with authenticity with this project, it did get me wondering: when did full length in/under-chassis headers show up? Late 60s? 70s?

    Does anyone have any pics of old adds or anything from that era showing them? I've done some searching but only come up with earlier style stuff.

    And just to show off this weekend's score, here are the pair I picked up for cheap
    received_2159872810993066.jpeg
     
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  2. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,048

    Marty Strode
    Member

    I can remember seeing Jardine Headers from 62 and Hookers from 64.
     
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  3. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,226

    wicarnut
    Member

    I purchased in 60's/70's Hedman and Hooker both still in business today, a few others I do not recall this AM. If memory serves in 64, first car, Hedman for $39/$49 and thought WOW, big bucks for me at that time and Hooker's was the higher end deal.
     
  4. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,751

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The 58-64 Chevrolet X-frame cars always used "odd" looking headers, such as the ones you bought. I have a 1966 J.C. Whitney Catalog #229, and they're showing chassis outlet headers back to 55 (55-65 Chevrolet and Vette). Judging from the illustations, I'd say they were probably supplied by Hedman. Odd that they're not showing any fenderwell exit headers however. The Tri-Five Chevrolet cars that used fenderwell headers were really only initially designed for use with Sedan Deliveries that had HydraMatic transmissions installed; the starter motor used with those Hydra-Matics was "upside down", meaning the starter solenoid was on the bottom of the starter motor. There was't enough room, because of the solenoid position, to use a chassis outlet header. But, fenderwell headers provided for more room around the engine and under the car, so everyone started using fenderwell headers on their Tri-Five Chevrolet Junior Stock Class drag car. Some still used chassis outlet headers, but most went with fenderwells. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
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  5. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,466

    V8 Bob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My '54/'55 J.C. Whitney catalogs show the common short headers, but the '59 shows long tube for T-Birds and Chevy V8s.
     
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  6. ShortyLaVen
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 615

    ShortyLaVen
    Member

    Thanks for the replies!! Seems like these will still fit fine with my later-60s look I'm trying to shoot for.

    Butch, that's a really interesting but if info on the evolution of fender well headers! I really wanted to build some fenderwells for the car, but I found these while looking for donor headers to cut up. The price was too good and they are already made to fit so it's a win-win for time and money.
     
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  7. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,646

    jnaki

    Hello,

    At the time we were racing the 58 Impala at Lions, there were names being tossed about, Thorley and Jardine. They got their starts early on in Orange County, while the biggest name at the time was Hedman. By being the biggest, their prices were considerably lower. Those early headers by Doug and Jardines were more than we could afford.

    Plus, putting the headers on our 58 Impala would have thrown us into the gas coupe and sedan classes. So, we just had the stock exhaust with down pipes added for open cutouts. Then eventually, the down pipes were attached to the scavenger pipes until they were outlawed.

    upload_2019-3-20_3-56-14.png
    In So Cal, those early Jardine and Thorley headers were works of art. They both started making headers around 1958, but became popular as the 60s rolled into the scene. Smooth flowing, custom made to the car application. Most were fender cut out style, while there were those that were down pipes that fit the rest of the exhaust system out of the back. By the time we were out of stock Impala class racing in late 1959, we moved on to our 1940 Willys coupe build.
    upload_2019-3-20_4-6-6.png
    When we got the 283 long block, that small, local, speed shop had a set of Hedman Headers available that would fit the down pipe installation (1960). Our local muffler man built the single big tube connection from the header down pipe to the mufflers under the Willys. The system had to resemble the stock muffler and tailpipe. The shorty tube mufflers and down turned exhaust tips qualified and also allowed us to run capped up for the street cruising scene.


    Jnaki
    1960 Lions Dragstrip
    The Hedman Headers were fine for what we could afford. They were simple, fit well, and connected to our custom small dual muffler exhaust pipe set up. It also made the 671 SBC Willys move fast. There was no need for fender well headers, as we did not want to alter the stock body of the 1940 Willys Coupe. (Maybe the custom headers would be added later, but, we wanted to get the Willys up and running well, before the final push to the Nationals. )
    upload_2019-3-20_3-57-40.png
    Drag News ad: January 1961
    upload_2019-3-20_3-57-57.png
    The 1960 Hedman Headers version looked like this, except one big tube connected underneath the car to the supplied mufflers and tail pipes.

    upload_2019-3-26_17-24-18.png
    Hedman Headers for 58-63 Chevrolet V8 (From the catalog)


     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
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  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,646

    jnaki

    Hello,

    In 2017, prior to the opening of the Price Transfer Automobilia, Lions Dragstrip Museum, I was able to wander around the whole complex visiting the awesome place. I met a wonderful gentleman, now, retired after working for Price Transfer in the restoration area. He worked at both of those places (Thorley and Jardine) when they were in So Cal. He told me a lot of stories about his early involvement in the header industry. Several weeks ago, I found out he is not well and is resting at home. Get well, M. Watch those old drag racing movies I sent you, that will get you going…

    Custom measuring, cutting, welding and making all sorts of headers, equal length Tri-Y, etc. was the process. Originally, they went under the cars, but then the fender well headers became so popular and that took over the industry for years. He told me of the original shop (Headers by Doug) in LA and then the name change and so on, into the Orange County history before he left the company.

    Jnaki

    But, in researching this topic, here is the best explanation of the early Thorley/Jardine header story. HAMB's hotroddon said it best:
    upload_2019-5-11_3-17-8.png
    “Actually here is the real scoop. The original company that Doug Thorley started was a muffler shop back in 1958 in East LA. In the early 60's Doug started to make headers and "Headers by Doug" stickers started showing up on winning drag cars. Doug and wife Betty sold the company and got divorced and new owner Micky called it Doug Thorley Headers. A number of years went by and Micky got sick and asked for help. Betty came back in to run things and Micky got worse. He ended up selling the company back to Betty, Doug and a third partner. Doug mainly did R&D and was an investor.

    Eventually He and Betty had another falling out and she agreed to buy him out. Doug kind of stayed away at this time, occasionally coming around to help out with a little R&D and collect his payments. Betty then got sick and at this time Doug started doing custom headers again under the Doug's Headers name. During this time Doug Thorley Headers was mainly making truck and motor home headers, not muscle car or performance parts. Betty passed and Doug started making production headers again for the classic and muscle car markets.


    After about another year, the surviving partner sold Doug Thorley Headers to Summit Industries (not the mail order guys) in Corona, Ca who previously had bought out Jerry Jardine of Jardine Headers. PerTronix, who had previously acquired Ermie Immerso Ind and Thunderbird Headers bought Doug's Headers and Doug worked to help keep the Doug's Headers line a top quality product. PerTronix sells and manufactures them as a premium line to compliment their Patriot Header line.

    They are currently made in Rancho Dominguez (think north Long Beach) CA.
    Doug was also famous for his drag cars - The Chevy II Much that is in the NHRA museum, the Funny Car Corvair that Joe Pisano ended up with, and the pair of rear/mid-engined Javelin's.”


    THANKS @hotroddon...


     
  9. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 410

    bschwoeble
    Member

    Bought Jardine headers for my "64" Corvette in "65". The collectors hung down somewhat. I had to be real careful pulling into local Eat & Park,(Monroeville PA.) I remember them being kind of pricey.
     

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