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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Selecting the Right Demo Derby Headers

6/16/2020
Tags: Tech, Race

When it comes to choosing the right headers for your demo derby car, there are many different options available. With all that variety - it's important to choose a header that works best for your application. Derby headers have a simple job: get the exhaust and heat out from under the hood and engine bay with minimal potential for damage. Since Demo cars often crunch and collapse, a normal long tube header would cause problems. These headers eliminate all of those problems.

Speedway Motors has recognized that demolition derby is no longer just a, let's knock out the windows and go crash, hobby anymore. They have recognized that the sport has evolved into much more and the derby community is very passionate about winning. They have developed their own line of derby headers offering two different styles: four in a row and four into one with a 3-inch collector. Both headers have 1-5/8-inch primary tubes and come painted black.

Schoenfeld also offers a variety of derby headers. Three popular styles are the four in a row, the four into one with a collector, and the four into one with a collector that is offset to the front. A perfect option If you're retaining the master cylinder on the firewall. The offset collector leaves the most room when the front end starts to move, such as the Schoenfeld 1532 Offset Truck/Tractor Pull Headers.

The four in-a-row headers have a unique sound that some like and some do not. I actually like the sound, but its different strokes for different folks. (P#9171522) The Schoenfeld 1522 Demo Derby Headers have 1-5/8” tubes. I ran a set of these for a long time until I invested in a purpose-built motor. Schoenfeld also carries headers for the LS base engines with their growing popularity since it's an easy way to get cheap horsepower.

Schoenfeld LS derby headers are 1-3/4” tubes that go into a 3-1/2” collector. The LS headers are designed to clear the coil packs and leave enough room to run the spark plug wires. All Schoenfeld headers are painted black and come with gaskets and bolts which is an added bonus.

Flowtech has also developed a line of derby headers that are very popular: like the Upright Derby Headers, 1 5/8-inch. Speedway Motors offers a 1-3/4” version, but in our case, to conserve backpressure, we do not run the larger tube diameter. We prefer these headers for a couple of different reasons. These are reasonably priced for being mandrel-bent stainless steel headers and also have a scavenging spear inside the collector to help gain some horsepower and torque. These headers sound good on our engines, whether it’s a stock 350 Small Block Chevy, or a built full-roller 385 Small Block Chevy that runs on E85.

Another reason we use these headers is that they are taller. This is great for when we are fine-tuning the motor because it puts the noise above our heads and not right into our ears. Earplugs are a necessity when we are around derby cars. The Flowtech headers are the preferred header that we use in our shop. I have personally run many different styles of headers from 5” chrome exhaust tubing connected to block hugger headers turned upside down, four-in-a-row, four-in-a-row turnouts but I prefer the four into one Flowtech headers.

It all comes down to what style you're application requires and the price point you can afford. All of these headers offer great value and do the job they are supposed to.

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