A friend has the Gardner system and it's top notch show quality, but of course expensive. If you are looking for a oe type setup like that I have the Ames aluminized oe setup and like it. Both systems will give no drone.
Does the Ames aluminized have deeper tone than stock? How was the install? I like the sound of the Race Pro system by Pypes, but I hear the install isn't as easy as the ad says, and I'm trying to avoid the muffler shop. Gardener is supposed to be top notch, but I haven't checked into the price of their system with turbo mufflers, it may be more than I want to spend. I'm in the middle of installing "concours correct" exhaust on my Mach I, it's going pretty well, except having trouble getting the tips centered in the valance. I'll probably end up at the muffler shop with it.
This is the system i installed from Ram Air Restorations
UESYS-2C Ultimate System for FB Convertible
Ultimate exhaust for 67-69 Firebird Convertible with our X-crossover which fits above the X-brace. No need to lower the brace and give up valuable strength & ground clearance. Includes downpipes for Long Branch factory headers and ball&cone connections that install in the front of each muffler so the system can easily be removed and reinstalled. Mandrel bent tails go all the way to the rear. If you want tails that turn-down behind rear tire state your preference in order comments. All American made Lifetime warranty. Comes with easy to use rod hangers, clamps and instructions. Welding is recommended. Mufflers that fit in this system are listed below. Best fit are the 3334F Spin Tech as it is only 3" tall which maximizes ground clearance. Other muffler options are 4" tall.
I also paired it with the Long Branch Manifolds for my 400 HO
Thoughts. Could have used some instructions for installation. Though I was able to contact tech support and they could provide answers. Even though this kit was made specific for my vehicle it required some pipe trimming. This was my only complaint, i mean if its built for my car why shouldn't the pipes fit exact, plus small turns in the orientation changed the length of the pipes, none of the pipes are labled like "a" goes to "a" etc. Long story short, installed myself and the car sounds amazing. Also I am spoiled and have a lift in my garage, installing on the ground would not be any fun and I did have to do some welding. I am in the process of replacing the transmission in my car so I can report back on how easy it is to move it out of the way, it came with clamps to make the exhaust removable, I will be putting that to the test next. Overall besides installation could have been easier the exhaust is amazing, but expensive!
Restored by me. Not a professional. Restaurant worker by trade. YouTube forums and some trial and error built this beauty. Sheet metal replacement. Body work. Paint. Rear gears. Interior. And engine. ALL ME. Toot toot
To be honest I have never heard a first gen with it's original equipment duals so hard to compare. The problem is the sound people are going for or expecting is so subjective. Back when I was a young mechanic bending systems for people I would ask ahead of time what there sound expectations were and it rarely sounded just the way they envisioned when done. It was the people that wanted it loud and I built it that way that were always the happiest right away but would sometimes see back a few months later after living with it paying me to put on quieter mufflers. I ended up just having people bring in their own mufflers so at least I wasn't in the equation. Another friend has the pypes system on his gto and the fit like a lot of generic systems is poor. I don't want to offend anyone using them and they will work fine But when you look at any factory or quality aftermarket system they fit much tighter to the floor. They just don't put a lot of the extra little bends that it takes to fit the exact model and is more universal. The other problem with the system is the drone he ended up with at cruising rpms I've driven it and it's almost intolerable. He already has another set of mufflers to try when he gets time. the pypes system is defiantly louder than my aftermarket oe style with resonators and crossflow but they put out a pretty nice growl and definitely are not quite. But on the other hand I bought my system with only about a summers worth of use for cheap off Craig's list because the owner who had just bought the car wanted it louder, and so it goes... Of course when you are just following the horsepower god everything I just said goes out the window.
I'm going to do some more research and continue to use what the car came with, which is a 3" magna flow system, whoever installed this system got a little rough with it where the tail pipes come over the axle. I'm tempted to just add a turbo muffler & turn downs and dump the exhaust in front of the axle.
I hear you. The trade off with fitting 3 inch pipes through there for the possible slight gain in power (which is doubtful with stockish motors) is not worth the fight to me. Be careful with doing dumps you might end up with exhaust smell getting sucked into the car while in motion with the windows down.
My car is stock 400, so a 3" exhaust doesn't create any power gains and I hate the way it looks and fits, especially at the rear. Yeah, back in the late 70's and early 80's headers plus turbos and turn down were the rage in my crowd. Exhaust fumes in the car sometimes happened, (early form of vaping) but we survived it. Also, back then we had actual exhaust shops that were run by men that knew how to design and fab really nice systems, now not so much.