Thrush Mufflers: Exhaust Mods Of The Past.

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By Mark Weisseg

Remember back in the late 60’s and 70’s when it seemed like every guy that tried to be cool had these?

Yes, the simple Thrush Mufflers and Cherry Bombs of the day were made to make your car sound louder and hence fool the outside world. These mufflers were very inexpensive back in the day and they sold them like hot cakes. They seemed to have a universal affect on young guys and the cars they drove. Somehow, if your car was louder it was faster. Remember when we all flipped the air cleaner lid upside down? That was another trick to get that cool sound. Forget it let in dirt and debris to the carb, because it did not matter.

I have an old friend that worked in a parts store in the early seventies for a few years. He told me over the summer about his job and reflected on some big sellers back in the day. Locking gas caps because as the price of fuel went up the thieves stole gas from cars. Those cheap Christmas tree air freshness that were over powering for about a week then just looked silly hanging from your mirror. Stick on black window shades for the real cheap guys, and of course our bread and butter winner- the Thrush Muffler.

I always wanted to cut one open and see what was really in there or maybe what wasn’t. I assume they had the right baffles for back pressure and so on but all I really know is they were cool. You could see other cars that had them as most of us used air shocks to jack up the rear ends. The Thrush mufflers had the Woody Woodpecker or Roadrunner looking character on them. The Cherry Bombs were painted I guess a red color, but they both stood out.

I remember installing my mufflers on the garage floor and of course the box said it was easy. Yes, easy if you had a brand new exhaust. If your exhaust had any age to it you were very lucky if you installed these without damaging the middle pipe. I was lucky in that I had an air chisel and got super lucky getting the old ones off. But, laying on the garage floor with the car on Jack stands and crawling around with a foot of clearance was not fun. And that is when I was young and limber.

Exhaust systems have come a long way from those early days. Flowmaster, Borla, and many more high end systems are available today. Much research has gone into the products today to ensure they are right for your car. No more Universal, one size fits all anymore and for that I am grateful. But, somethings never change as I to this day see the young putting on loud exhaust on weak engines. I saw a Cobalt of all things the other day with some sort of whistling noise coming from the tailpipe. I thought about 90 minutes of that would drive anyone insane. But, maybe that is what our parents thought back in the day as well. You see, somethings never change. They just adapt to the current market. I do not want to sound like some old guy but when I hear a little car like a Honda with some sort of old coffee can bolted on I cringe. My favorite however is the Ram trucks with the Diesel engines. Cummins spent a lot of money making that engine gasoline quiet, not to have some young whipper snapper bolt on a two thousand dollar loud exhaust we can all hear a mile a way. Maybe this is another example of something that never really changed. I, for one am glad we had the Thrush’s back in the day. However, is it not interesting that when you see the classic cars of today owned by us middle aged old men the thrush is no where to be found. We moved on to the big time and go Flowmaster now for the same affect we had in the 60’s and 70’s.


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