Project P38: Janspeed Exhaust: Sing it loud “V8 & Proud”

Question: Is there any point owning a thirsty, expensive-to-run 4.6-litre V8 if you can’t enjoy the awesome acoustics? In a word, no!

But there’s more to it than that!

Upgrading your standard OEM exhaust – particularly if it’s on its last, rusty legs like ours was on Project P38 when we bought it from auction – is a world of joy. You get multiple enjoyable benefits, including:

  • Aesthetics – the shiny, protruding twin tailpipes smartening up the rear end; modernizing, future proofing and blinging things simultaneously.
  • Audio appeal – replacing the muted V8 sound track with something much more sonorous, sweet, throaty and TVR-esque, with a pleasing deep purr on idle, biblical burble on full load and crucially, no horrible drone on cruise.
  • Performance – with the extra gas flow of an upgraded, larger bore exhaust, you gain much improved throttle response, greater torque surge, more power and a higher peak rpm.
  • Longevity – picking a full stainless steel exhaust, with stainless steel welds and bars (plus the addition of new rubber mounts) will ensure your exhaust passes MOT’s for years to come and doesn’t fall off in a pile of ferrous oxide.
  • Weight saving – standard exhaust systems tend to be heavier than aftermarket stainless steel units. Less weight = lower inertia = better performance.

But all of these gains only occur if you select the right exhaust for the job – and that doesn’t mean the cheapest. You get what you pay for in the tuning world, as a rule. And so, rather than go for an E-bay special, copying the best, I selected the best – from the 50-year-experienced, MINI WRC/Aston Martin Racing and multiple car maker-supplying exhaust manufacturer – Janspeed (www.janspeed.com).

Established in 1962 and still one of the biggest and best names in the business, the Salisbury-based firm Janspeed supply OEM exhaust systems for Land Rover (and Range Rover tuning specialists, Overfinch) and other big name brands like Bentley, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Nissan, MINI, Ford, Audi, Lotus, Morgan and top motorsport companies, like Prodrive and Aston Martin Racing. And they also build small volume exhaust systems for 100’s of other popular vehicles – including the humble P38 Range Rover V8, and many other Land Rover models.

Janspeed say: “Our reputation was built on the design and manufacture of performance exhaust systems enjoying BTCC success with the Nissan works touring car team. The natural progression from the racetrack was to forge partnerships with the industries very best manufacturers and grow into a tier one full service supplier. And we are now able to support full exhaust system programmes… not forgetting our rich motorsport heritage and developing our low volume performance exhaust system designs (like P38s) and supplying full exhaust system for the works BMW Mini WRC and Aston Martin Vantage GT3 teams.”

Janspeed have developed their motorsport marketplace work into supplying car manufacturers and yet also still maintain a superb supply of low volume quality systems for the aftermarket scene. They have invested heavily in facilities (like a new mandrel CNC benders), processes and personnel, growing their already impressive customer base. They are also firm believers in research and development, testing and validation – working hard on CAE analysis (acoustic and thermal), conceptual designs, FEA analysis (thermal and structural), rig based testing and complete vehicle testing including drive-by and exhaust homologation/certification. And they work with specialist technical partners to facilitate the design and development of emission control systems (ceramic and metallic substrate installations), by-pass valve technology, silencer optimisation and more. R&D is big at Janspeed.

The end result for users like thee or me is an exhaust of superior quality. The stainless steel is stunning, as is the welding and – best of all, Janspeed work their magic creating exhausts that look great, sound amazing (without ever being irritating), noticeably enhance performance and stand the test of time.

Another stand-out feature of the Janspeed system is care in design – making them inch perfect, for an easy, secure, snug fit, meaning your choice of fitters have an easy, happy time of it, saving on your labour costs and their knuckle skin.

To fit our P38 system, we’ve been rather lucky – discovering a Land Rover specialist gem of a place, right under our noses. It’s John Kemp Land Rover in Wymondham, just south of Norwich. John and his team of highly experienced Land Rover specialists offer high quality Land Rover sales, servicing, repairs, parts and MOTs – “a cost-effective one-stop-shop alternative to a main dealer for all your Land Rover needs.”

John Kemp’s staff are extremely friendly, affordable (£47.50 per hour labour) and really know their stuff – with their seven technicians all armed with years/decades of Land Rover experience under their belts. And they are armed with the latest Autologic diagnostics software too – covering vehicles from 1996-2013 – which is already proving useful with the electronics-filled P38 (more on that in coming issues).

Project P38 gets welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm and is settled on one of the seven ramps in the spacious garage. Our technician, Steve Dawson has been working on Range Rovers (& Land Rovers) for almost two decades. His knowledge is as broad as his smile and he is really enthusiastic about binning my rusted old exhaust for the Janspeed system, which he really rates: “People make copies of these, but they are terrible. The welding and brackets are all mild steel and they rot quickly, not to mention don’t sound or go as well as the full stainless Janspeed ones,” he says, adding faith to my decision.

Thanks to Janspeed’s design prowess, as expected, we suffer no significant fitting issues. Getting the old, rotten system off is the biggest hassle, as all the bolts have seized up. In fact, it’s a wonder it’s still hanging on, given how thin and worn the brackets are and how rusty it is. So, we decide to chop it off in sections with an angle grinder. And good riddance to it!

The cat-back Janspeed system is made entirely of highest quality (304) stainless steel and comes in four sections: One large, silenced piece connecting from the cats, a link pipe from that section to the rear which splits into two lovely mufflers with 88mm tailpipes: It’s a beautiful thing, to me anyway! And it not only looks great, it fits a treat.

And John Kemp’s Steve fits it sublimely – taking real care and attention over greasing up the (new) rubbers, lining up the system to get it fitting and sitting right (and eventually tight enough to swing off). He even uses a protractor (last seen in grade II maths!), a carefully wielded pair of snippers and a rotating head on the air gun to perfectly mark out, cut and smooth off the half moon holes required in the back bumper to make room for, neatly frame off and house the protruding Janspeed tailpipes. It’s a neat, thorough, expert job.  And having fitted a LOT of performance exhaust in my rally, race and road tuning life, I’m very impressed with the time and skill dedicated to the fitting process. Like all good technicians, they make it all look easy.

And to top my John Kemp experience off, I’ve made new Range Rover mates, enjoyed a load of good banter, made useful contacts, learned a lot abut the P38 and even ended up with a superbly affordable bill. The whole job took two hours (mainly because I slowed them down taking pictures; they quote 1.5 hours for this job) and cost me £100, with VAT. Great job. Great people. Great value. I can’t recommend John Kemp’s expert work highly enough based on this experience.

And it’s more positive news on the drive home: The Janspeed system is absolutely perfect. I love it. It fits so neat and snug and really adds to the appeal of the P38 – visually, audibly and dynamically.

The V8 burble is absolutely fantastic at idle and really sounds tremendous on full throttle – yet never resonates annoyingly or is intrusive in the cabin on cruise at motorways speeds, or on part throttle.

What I did not expect was the hike in performance. With an aftermarket ‘sports’ exhaust, you really notice the gain on turbocharged cars (thanks to the reduction in turbo back pressure), but normally aspirated car gains tend to be negligible. Not so here. The Janspeed system has liberated noticeable ponies, top end revs and mid-range grunt, in addition to radically improving throttle response (working well in conjunction with the high flow K&N air filter no doubt). Project P38 genuinely feels a lot faster now. And it’ll last for decades in its gleaming stainless steel. Win, win, win!

To say I’m happy with the Janspeed exhaust system and John Kemp’s fitting of it would be the understatement of the project to date. Highly recommended stuff.

Thanks

Janspeed Exhausts

www.janspeed.com

Tel: 01722 321833

John Kemp (& Shaun & Steve)  @ John Kemp Land Rover

www.kemp4x4s.co.uk

Tel: 01953 601440

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