The original Ford GT40, had a pretty sweet exhaust system appropriately called a "basket of snakes" reflecting the intertwined tubes running over the engine and out the back. Some of us look at a system like that and our first thought is of the time and frustration involved putting it together for the first time. ICEngineWorks might have made their day a little easier and if you need to build a set of custom headers on a project of your own, this modeling kit would be well worth a look.
The way it works is pretty simple once you see what they've done, it's a set of plastic cylindrical blocks, short straight sections and short curved sections that mimic the size and shape of exhaust tubing. Once you have mounted your header flanges to the engine and positioned the collector where you want it, you begin building each run so it will clear any obstacles between the exhaust port and collector.You can twist and turn the individual plastic sections, substituting any combination of straight and curved pieces until the perfect run is complete. Small bumps on the plastic blocks indicate orientation of each piece when it comes time to duplicate the run in metal. You'll also be able to equalize length by adding up the blocks.
You don't need a tubing bender either, if you buy 180 degree mandrel bent tubing, ICEngineWorks has fabricating tools that work with a vertical band saw. Their pivoting table attachment allows you to recreate each plastic section in metal by cutting the pre-bent tubing with all of the proper angles. Each piece is then oriented and tack welded until you have recreated the whole run. Weld it all together and you have custom headers.There's obviously a bit of work involved, but compared to the trial and error cutting and fitting necessary when trying to do this in metal, it's a huge leap forward and a job you might have dreaded or farmed out, may now be within your capabilities.
The kits come in 3 diameters, 1 5/8, 1 3/4 and 2 inch. There's also a basic or pro kit, the pro kit contains about twice the number of blocks.
If you're only going to build one set of headers and never plan to do it again, these blocks might be not be worth the price, $750 for the pro kit, then again, you could use it once, make your headers then sell your kit to a buddy who will use it on his car or a group of builders could chip in and share the kit. If you're building headers more than once, this kit is money well spent.
So go ahead, dream up any engine swap you want. Headers are no longer an issue.
Link: icengineworks via November Hot Rod magazine