Cars Illustated Magazine was lucky enough to get our hands on this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS with a LS3/4L60e swap – not before we could do anything or test anything, it had already been swapped to the LS, had the Texas Speed Cam, Tick Performance Spring and Dougs Headers (don’t worry, we did a few cool things/upgrades on top of this, stories to come) The kicker was, we got the chance to install some products to test on the f-body and one of those products is the Black Widow Exhaust “Widowmaker” – but this story starts well before welding on the mufflers.
Starting at the age of twelve, Bill Speed – Black Widow Tuned Performance Exhaust’s creator – started building stock cars with his father and it was that early imprint that started the chain of events that led him to the path of engineer, builder and as most of us who have seen the videos, a “General of Chaos” on the streets of Southern California. In between savage runs up and down the So-Cal coast, Bill took his skills to several different stock car teams, as well as muffler shops and spent a lot of that time studying the ins and outs of the exhaust products on the market. Cheered on by friend and family, Bill took the leap of faith and started putting his years of experience and knowledge to the test – and to put it in the simplest terms “reinvent the wheel” or in this case, the muffler.
Now we all know this industry is built on relationships and if you know Bill one of the other thing he is…is a friend from the minute you shake hands. One of those hands he shook was “Skrape” from TapOut at a local autocross event…after Bill approached him and his nasty little Nova wagon the two of them knew they were meant to work together on developing Black Widow Exhaust and with that came the manufacturing, marketing and business skills teamed with Bills engineering prowess that made it a match “made in heaven” and their relationship is one for the record books.
After countless hours of testing, development and failed prototypes, Bill found the perfect match of sound and airflow and the Pro Venom and Venom mufflers hit the market….now the Widowmaker is the extension of that work done at the start of Black Widows birth.
Now the biggest thing about exhaust is the balance between airflow and sound – drone, back-pressure and all the ins and outs to tuning a performance oriented muffler, and to split that line between too loud, too quiet, too little back-pressure too much back-pressure and to us – one of the most important parts is how does it sound.
These WidowMakers are not for the faint of heart – lets get that out of the way right here, right now. Their loud, but they are not for your “fathers Oldsmobile” their designed and built for those looking to make sure people know your coming – or in the perfect scenario, watching your tail lights grow into the distance.
So, how do they sound?
CLICK BELOW AND LISTEN…
Okay, but the next question is how do they perform…well we made 388.9 RWHP at 6000RPM and 374.3LBS-FT RW-Torque at 4900RPM on a VERY conservative tune with long tube Dougs Headers and the 3-inch exhaust ending just before the Currie 9-inch….up drastically from the “muffler shop” junk formerly installed assuming so they would not offend their neighbors?….and putting into “Cars Illustrated terms” they “wimp-a-fied” the car, making it sound like an old wheezy SBC was still under the hood….well, we knew we needed to give this Camaro it’s balls back, and the addition of the Black Widow Widowmakers helped do just that…along with the added 15hp. Just to give you an idea of what a “pile of junk” for a set-up was under the Camaro prior to our swap out, it necked down to a 2.5 inch muffler that necked down to a 2 inch turn down (who does that?) – now the car sounds like it should, bad ass.
HERE IS THE RUN ON THE DYNO – TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS
Now, there are so many choices out there for you to choose from when it comes to mufflers, but as for our opinion of the Black Widow WidowMakers it’s simple to skip to the bottom of the page – quality built, low price, great sound, makes power vs. competitors – mic dropped.
– the Janitor