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Hooker Blackheart F-Body Bolt-in Header and Exhaust System

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 9/2/2018 Nick Licata
Hooker-Blackheart-Header-and-Exhaust-1968-Camaro-001
Hooker-Blackheart-Header-and-Exhaust-1968-Camaro-001© Hot Rod Network Staff Hooker-Blackheart-Header-and-Exhaust-1968-Camaro-001

Typically, when starting work on a project car with the idea to do a gradual build-up, one of the first things us muscle car guys do is toss the stock exhaust system onto the scrap pile in favor of something much better. A vintage muscle car equipped with a stock exhaust tends to sound wimpy and lack an aggressive tone, and more importantly, it's likely stifling the car's ability to move spent fuel freely to the tailpipe. So not only does the car sound docile, it's being robbed of precious performance. On a previous project armed with an LS3, we gained approximately 40 horsepower by replacing the stock exhaust manifolds with long-tube headers. That's just too much horsepower to leave on the table for such a simple modification.

Let's face it, we all want our cars to sound cool, and the end goal is to get the most horsepower and torque out of our engines. There's really no reason to settle on a stock or underperforming exhaust system unless you are building a concours restoration. In that event, then a stock exhaust system makes sense.

We got our hands on a 1968 Camaro that had recently gone through an LS engine swap, but had yet to be fitted with an exhaust system. This was a situation where we didn't want to spend a ton of time working on a custom exhaust, so we got in touch with the guys at Holley Performance and they recommended using their Hooker BlackHeart 1967-'69 GM F-Body LS Swap Full-Length header and their stainless steel 1967-'69 GM F-Body exhaust system.

This is a fully bolt-on exhaust system for those running a stock F-body suspension system. For us, 90 percent of the exhaust system bolted right in, but since this car had an aftermarket rear suspension system and had been mini-tubbed, we came across a few challenges that required just a little bit of cutting and welding to enable us to run the exhaust over the rearend and locate the exhaust hangers. Had this been a stock rear suspension, the Hooker BlackHeart exhaust system would have bolted right in with all the parts offered in the kit.

Follow along as we show how simple it is to install long-tube headers and a full exhaust system on a first-gen Camaro in just a few hours. CHP

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