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Fenton vs Nicson Headers

As the United States entered into the 1950’s, our country’s economic growth was breaking all records. The demand for merchandise from US factories had never been stronger. For the first time most citizens had at least some disposable income that could be spent on non-essentials.
It was then that we began to see a certain segment of our population look toward the hobby of vehicle performance. For the average citizen doing this, modifying a family car to produce additional horsepower, became a strong motivator. Whether on city streets or a local town dirt track, competition racing for the average person became a new fun activity.
As a result, a totally new market emerged. Speed equipment flat-head V-8 Fords and the inline Chevrolet and GMC six cylinder lead the pack. Plymouth, Studebaker and Hudson were close behind.
This article relates to just one segment of this new performance trend: the duel exhaust manifold of the inline six cylinder Chevrolet and GMC engines.
With more or a longer carburetor plus the additional increase in air to match extra fuel intake, a redesigned exhaust system was required for more speed. Thus, the introduction of the dual exhaust system that removed the products of combustion much faster from the engine head. No exhaust back pressure under heavy acceleration.
The two most well-known high performance headers for these early GM six cylinder are Fenton for Chevrolet and Nicson for GMC (the two designs do not interchange properly between the two engines). The attached photos show the enlarged diameter outlet and size of the Nicson’s due to the increased size 270 and 302 cubic inch GMC verses the Fenton’s on the 235 and 261 Chevrolet.
Both designs are currently being reproduced as very nice copies of those in the early 1950’s. The outlet diameter of the gray Nicson’s are 2 5/8”. The black Fenton’s are 2”. Both type of headers are just right for the enthusiast that wants the unique six cylinder purr and extra performance.

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2″ Fenton Outlet              2 5/8″ Nicson Outlet

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