It is said that change is inevitable, and the evolution of the exhaust systems on the Corvette is a perfect example. For 70 years, through eight generations, the engineers have continually advanced the performance and sound, producing many options to get you exactly what you want for your Corvette. Corvette Central is proud to offer the best systems to meet the changing styles and performance options no matter what year your Corvette is.
Speaking of evolution, Corvette Central takes us through the evolution timeline of the Corvette’s exhaust system starting with the C1 generation and then showing the advances and options available through each generation until we reach the present-day C8s.
C1 Corvette – 1953-1962
The Corvette engineers initially offered the 1953-1955 Blue Flame 6 straight six-cylinder engine, a dual exhaust featuring three cylinders per pipe.
The 1956-1962 models gained a V-8 engine and featured dual exhaust. Some of these came with a crossover pipe. Two variations for the mufflers were available: quiet oval or round off-road. The pipes measured 7/8 inch.
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C2 Corvette – 1963-1967
In 1963, pipes were either 2.0 inches or 2.5 inches. 1963-1965 exhaust manifolds could be either 2.0 or 2.5-inch outlet size.
After 1965 all small block engines had 2.0 manifolds, although the higher horsepower engines continued to have 2.5-inch pipes, which had a smaller 2.0-inch connection to the manifold.
Big block engines had 2.5-inch manifolds and pipes. 1963-1967 mufflers were standard, or the optional N11 off-road mufflers, with one less baffle inside, giving less restriction and a more aggressive sound.
Regardless of the pipe size or engine horsepower, muffler outlets are always 2.0 inches.
The factory offered an optional side exhaust from 1965-1967 with 2-inch or 2.5-inch inlet pipes with aluminum covers—option code N14.
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C3 Corvette – 1968-1982
1968–1974 small block engines all had 2-inch manifolds, although the higher horsepower engines continued to have 2.5-inch pipes, which had a smaller 2-inch connection to the manifold.
Big blocks continued with 2.5-inch pipes except for 1969, which used 2.0-inch pipes.
1968 systems can be substituted if 2.5-inch pipes are desired. The optional N11 off-road mufflers were also available in 1968.
An optional side exhaust was offered only in 1969 from the factory, 2” inlet pipes with diecast chrome-plated aluminum covers—option code N14.
1975-1982 systems have Y pipes routing the exhaust through a single catalytic converter, then splitting to separate mufflers.
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C4 Corvette – 1984-1996
The two into one into two, single catalytic converter routing scheme continued from 1984-1990.
The pipe size is 2.25-inches.
In 1991 true dual systems returned as GM started to install a convertor attached to each manifold.
The pipe size increased to 2.75-inches.
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C5 Corvette – 1997-2004
Dual pipes with dual converters continued. A crossover was factory installed.
Mufflers are mounted laterally behind the transaxle.
Pipes are 2.5-inches, except for the Z06, which had 3.0-inch titanium pipes, which reduced the weight by nearly 50%.
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C6 Corvette – 2005-2013
Similar to the C5 with a new innovation, the Dual-Mode, NPP option exhausts. This option features a vacuum-operated valve on the muffler outlet, which opens under full throttle. The result is a more aggressive sound and adding five horsepower. Pipes are aluminized stainless steel with a crossover and standard 3-inch polished tips or 4-inch with NPP.
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C7 Corvette – 2014-2019
The ECU-controlled NPP option for exhaust continues to be offered. Sound levels were controlled based on RPM and throttle.
Pipes are aluminized stainless steel, and stock includes 3-inch polished tips. The NPP features the 4-inch version.
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C8 Corvette – 2020-Present
3-inch stainless pipes meet at an X inside a large insulated housing.
The new mid-engine Corvette includes AFM – Active Fuel Management. In higher gears, the PCM deactivates cylinders, and the engine operates as a V4.
The muffler assembly includes a pair of AFM valves and actuators at the muffler inlets directly after the Catalytic converters. They serve to restrict the flow of exhaust in V4 mode to maintain the velocity of the flow.
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