Exhaustive Comparisons

Exhaustive Comparisons: A Review of Dodge Dart Exhaust Systems through the Past Fifty Years


Exhaustive Comparisons

I was reading the latest issue of Automobile magazine today (January 2013 issue) and came across an ad for the Dodge Dart that blew me away – twice, you might say. There, on the inside back cover is a full page image depicting the tail of a spanking new white Dart Rallye. The nose of the car is pointed toward a distant mountain range and the picture is framed and lit to highlight the Dart’s standard dual exhaust outlets. Most intriguing to a motor head like me (and probably you as well) is how the ad copy is all about those sexy twin pipes. In part it reads: “It’s just integrated dual exhaust…so why are we the only ones to offer it? It might seem like a small detail, but it’s indicative of something much bigger. Other car companies have lowered your expectations for what a compact car can be. Maybe they’ve lowered their expectations. When we designed the all-new Dart, we built it from scratch with everything we’ve ever wanted in a compact car. And, sometimes, two of everything”.


That “two of everything” is the part we’re hot for. You see, dual exhaust systems have long been a symbol of power and street credibility. Back in the Fifties when the Detroit horsepower race was first getting started, if your car didn’t have dual exhaust, you added them – even guys with obsolete inline six-bangers split the manifold and ran duals out to the back bumper. Dual exhaust was a tip-off the car was packing one of the new wave of post-WWII overhead valve V8 engines. Those twin banks of cylinders needed an individual exhaust tract – thus two outlets peering from beneath the rear bumper – to breathe properly. Cars like the 1953 Dodge Coronet – with its new Red Ram Hemi V8 – re-set the bar and the potent thrum of “twice pipes” was new music – as potent as the new “rock and roll” – to an eager public’s ears from coast to coast.


Now it is true that a car like the all new Dart – with its lineup of transverse-mounted, inline four cylinder engines (the standard 2.0L, 16V Tigershark, optional 1.4L, 16V intercooled turbo MultiAir and optional 2.4L 16V Tigershark MultiAir II) – doesn’t need the added breathing potential of twin, parallel dual exhaust head pipes, mufflers, catalytic converters and tail pipes, but there is no harm done in fitting sexy dual outlets to let the troops know the car is ready for serious fun. Rather, the dual outlets jutting out from the rear fascia get back to the advertisement’s statement they’re “indicative of something much bigger”.


Don’t misunderstand and assume the car is a throwback to earlier days, the Dart Rallye is capable of delivering refined comfort and stellar fuel economy that’s in line with its competition, but the dual bright metal adorned exhaust tips are a tip-off there’s plenty of sporting intent packed into the rest of the package. By contrast, many of the other compact on the market were designed by folks who almost seem to hide their single exhaust outlets. That’s a sign, maybe, the rest of the car is equally as uninspired – and uninspiring to own. I look at a few of the competing cars and I do get the sense – as the Dodge ad says – “maybe they’ve lowered their expectations (for what a compact car can be)”! Not so, the new Dart.


All of this got me thinking about the history of dual exhaust systems – and how they’ve been employed beneath Dodge Dart models through the years. Let’s remember, the Dart nameplate was first affixed to a one-off show car in 1956 which was called…the Dart, before being lightly face lifted in 1957 and re-named the Diablo. This Italian-built showpiece was designed by legendary stylist Virgil Exner and constructed by Ghia. And yes, its Chrysler Fire Power Hemi exhaled through a dual exhaust system – a rather brutal looking set of chromed straight pipes jutting boldly out from beneath the gently rolled rear valance panel, parallel to the tarmac. Please note, this particular Dart – the first of the breed – is correctly described as a Chrysler offering since it was funded by Chrysler Corporation and based on a Chrysler Imperial chassis. This wonderful million dollar creation still exists in the hands of a collector and was recently displayed at the prestigious Pebble Beach event.


Stop back next week on Wednesday, and we’ll take a deep dive into the Dart and its long history with dual exhaust. –Steve Magnante


  • russell neglia
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Saw the car at the L.A. Auto show and was very impressed with it.

  • Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I filled out the form and took it to the dealer, done the test drive.
    return mailing address was cut off. Can you please send me the mailing
    address to send it back in.

  • Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I have my own 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye! LOVE IT! I only wish they offerred heated cloth seats to keep the wife happier in the passenger seat.

  • Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Just a single exhaust to a dual outlet muffler, big whoop. car is still overweight and underpowered.

    • Lieutenant Dan
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      of course its underpowered, it’s meant to fight against cars like the Focus and get stellar gas mileage. Not every car in Dodge/Chrysler/Ram/Jeep can have a big powerful motor in it. MPG Restrictions are making it so automakers are having to have an offering of high mileage vehicles so they can still hand out the powerful cars that don’t do as well.

    • Lieutenant Dan
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      “twin, parallel dual exhaust head pipes, mufflers, catalytic converters and tail pipes” I guess you didn’t read that part

  • cuznsteve
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Wrap your arms ’round my engines……………………………………………………………………..Get your motor runnin’ Head out on the highway , lokking for adventure, in whatever comes our way, We got to go make it happen, take the world in a love embrace, fire all of your guns at once and , explode into space…….I like smokin’ lightin, heavey metal thunder……….

  • Evan
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    What we need now more than anything is a new roadrunner or at least the concept of one. a stripped down light car with a monster motor and no BS frills in a car that actually can be light if it tries (no charger). I feel like there is a heavy market out there for people who want pure performance but get shut out by the high prices of the new “muscle/luxury” standard. give us a light weight, no frills car with any size Hemi for under $25k and you won’t be able to make enough of them

    • Roadntrack
      Posted February 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      DITTO! I dont need a sunroof, heated seats, video screen or any
      console that is so damn tall that you cant shift gears without hitting it!

  • Gord Wilson
    Posted March 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    What never gets mentioned is the base model, the Dart SE, of which I am a proud owner. The SE lets Dodge claim the low price, and it only needs one package upgrade for about $1K to add the a/c, power locks and doors, and the basics. And what comes basic is an excellent six on the floor shift, for better mileage and lots more fun. Sure, I had to add the racetrack taillamp (which ought to come standard), but that’s a five minute job. And an aftermarket stripe to sport it up. But it’s an affordable, American-made, stripped-down, high mpg, well-designed, new car, and it’s a Mopar.

  • Redlinegw
    Posted August 1, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Check out Road Race Motorports in Santa Fe CA they are using my Dart to develop a killer cold air intake, exhaust and a tune that will bump the hp on the 1.4 t up to 215whp! I drove the Fiat they did and it was a blast!

  • redneckdakota
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    how about offering the dart up in magenta, or panther pink!!! like you did in 69 eh

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