Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Twins Aren't Always Better

By Simon

Rant time again and this time I want to moan about carmakers’ obsession with twin tailpipes.

Let me first say, I like twin tailpipes on a car. They look cool. They look bold. They make a power statement. They give a car symmetry (which is something the human brain obsessed with and appeals to our sense of the aesthetic). But—and this is my problem at the moment—they have to be practical.

Traditionally, twin tailpipes go on car with “vee” or “boxer” engines where you have exhaust manifolds on both sides of the car and it’s simpler to have two tailpipes than going through the trouble of marry the manifolds together, especially in the case of big engines where you might end up with a drain pipe to deal effectively with the exhaust gases. But in recent years, I’ve started to notice a bunch of cars with twin pipes where it could be argued that it wasn’t really necessary and it seemed it was being done for looks instead of performance. The straw that broke my particular camel’s back was seeing twin tailpipes on a Fiat 500. Had Fiat jammed a 6-cylinder into the subcompact or split the exhaust manifold into pieces on the standard 4-cylinder engine? No, on both counts. What they'd done was to split the tailpipe into two just as it reached the back end of the car just to show it having twin pipes. Accessorized engineering!! Style over substance. That’s so bloody annoying.

I suppose this just hit my engineering nerve. Great design comes from engineering problems. That’s where appreciation and respect is born, but these shallow attempts to impress are disrespectful. Grr!

Dear automakers, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

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