Stock Look Classic Car Exhaust Systems
By John Gunnell
Vintage car restorers and special-interest car collectors have limited options when it comes to exhaust parts. The least expensive option is probably the “stock look” exhaust system that fits cars with their original engines and chassis. The stock look exhaust system follows the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) design, but may have some updates from factory specs.
In the back shop of a very old Bumper to Bumper auto parts in Antigo, Wis., Bob Andres uses his 15-year-old Huth bender to make stock-look exhaust systems that he ships all over the country. If a customer’s car isn’t covered by Bob’s massive collection of pattern cards, he or she can make a pattern with copper tubing or even hanger wire, mail it to Bob and he’ll copy it.
“As long as they bend it to match the approximate center of the pipe, I can make them an exhaust system,” says Bob. “The only difference is, if we bend up a stock system from my cards and it doesn’t fit, we’ll take it back; if a customer’s bent wire pattern is off, we make it clear that’s not our responsibility.”
Bob has been bending pipes with his ancient and scratched up exhaust pipe bender for over a decade. At one point, his boss went to a trade show in Las Vegas and bought a computerized bender for $40,000. Bob didn’t like it as much as his trusty old Huth and it didn’t earn it’s keep at the auto parts store, either. “It was designed for production work and could do 10 systems an hour,” Bob recalls. “But it wasn’t that good for the onesey-twosey custom exhaust system jobs we normally do.” He wound up selling it and going back to the Huth.”
Bob says it takes him about an hour and a half to two hours bend a typical stock-look exhaust system. Bob guesses that his stock style exhaust systems are at least 95 percent factory perfect and 99 percent correct fitting. Antigo Auto Parts, where Bob does his bending magic, has been in business since 1942. The businesses mailing address is 1025 5th Ave, Antigo, WI 54409. You can also call Bob or Bryan at (715) 623-5128.