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Makers Of The Sound – Martelius Exhaust

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Martelius Exhaust – Creators of Performance Sounds since 1982

Welcome to the second episode of Makers of the Sound original blog series. For this week’s exclusive feature we interviewed an individual who has been in the performance sound making industry for almost two decades and joined the company at a very early age. Markus from Martelius Exhaust – Creators of Performance Sounds since 1982.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hello, my name is Markus Martelius. I’m 32 years old, I live in the countryside of southwestern Finland with my wife, 6-month old son and our dog Trueno. During the years I have taken part in almost every imaginable role within the motorsport scene. That ranges from track side photography and event organizing to data log engineering for teams, competing in circuit racing with saloon cars for several teams including my own, and I also did compete in drifting for a while. Most importantly of course, I have worked in our family business Martelius Exhaust since the age of 14. For nearly 10 years now this has been my full time gig. My current role is to manage things related to marketing, sales and I also have a big role in new product development.

What is the history of Martelius Exhaust as a company?

Martelius Exhaust was founded in 1982 by my father Arto Martelius. Some years earlier he had become fascinated with racing exhaust manifolds and the complex science behind the function of them. So he began to develop his own manifolds for the Escorts, Opels and other popular rally applications of the time, seeing that there was a lot of room for improvement within the field of these products. It turned out that his science was pretty well on point and the manifolds he designed became very popular among the professional tuners in the Finnish rally scene, which also was blooming at the time. What started as a part time hobby as a freelancer developed into a full time job and entrepreneur’s lifestyle within the following years. The competition car core has remained for 35 years, but around that has risen a big variety of exhaust systems for the classic and modern street cars. We also cover 95% of classic American cars between the 1940’s and 1990’s for their exhaust needs. In 2017 Martelius employs a full time staff of 8 people in our 1600m2 Finland facilities, where all of our products are still assembled by hand.

What is the biggest strength of Martelius Exhaust?

I would say it’s the overall knowhow in the engineering of products and the scientific approach we take. There is a big cultural difference between our style and the American approach, where marketing comes first and the science is secondary. On the flipside, we definitely could learn more about the marketing aspect, although we have taken big leaps in that also during the last 5 years.

Soundcheck video of Porsche 911 Carrera 996 with Martelius Catback Exhaust

Grumblo is all about Sounds of Performance. How do you at Martelius Exhaust define the perfect sound?

Ah, the sound. It’s such a big aspect of why cars are awesome in the first place, yet the most difficult thing to articulate in words. To us, the sound has to bring out the natural tone of the engine, and it has to suit the rest of the car’s personality. For some cars it’s pops and bangs, for others a deeper rumble works better. The exhaust has to be very audible when you step on the loud pedal, but to not disturb on highway cruise. We do some custom projects with valve controlled exhausts, but most of our products achieve the sound target with just a well engineered silencer construction.

Soundcheck video of BMW 335i with Custom Martelius Exhaust system

Internationally, Martelius might be best known for the Civic Type R exhausts. Can you share the story behind that, why are they so popular?

The Civics have been an important part of our business for a long time already. In our domestic market the EF chassis Civic and 2nd gen CR-X were hugely popular for street builds in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. We sold manifolds and exhausts to these all the time back in those days. At the same time the Civic EK and Integra Type-R were popular in the professional racing, and we provided manifolds for the B16 and B18 engines for the teams. The EP3 Type R was a huge hit in the rally scene in Finland.

So it was only natural that the first FN2 to ever land on Finnish soil was quickly delivered to us for exhaust development as well. We built our Group N specific racing exhaust according to the rules of that category and the homologation papers of the car. It was a single exit system that bypassed the original cat converter and a FIA homologated racing cat was placed at the rear silencer area.

Martelius FN2 Catback System

After a few years we started to get a whole bunch of requests for the FN2 system to street driven cars. We mostly refused to sell them, because the installation was not bolt on for the Group N setup. A couple of Spanish enthusiasts managed to convince us that their tuner can handle the installation, so we sent them the systems in improvised packaging and all. We never really prepared to export this product in the first place. The guys loved the sound of the exhaust and made a bunch of Youtube videos on the tunnels, streets and tracks. And then the demand just got out of hand with requests coming from all over Europe in a constant stream.

We had to source another FN2 and convert that product into a cat back system. We redesigned the components pretty much from scratch to be able to package the system suited for international shipments. Our core target was to get the same race exhaust sound from an easy to install product. And once we got that out to the market, it has been the single best selling product in our catalog. That’s 6 years in a row already.

With the success we had with the FN2 it was almost mandatory for us to develop the FK2 exhaust also. With that however the game changed with Honda going for the turbocharged engine with 50% more power output than the previous generations had had. It was the biggest R&D operation in our company history to make the dull sounding turbo engine generate Type R worthy sounds. We even had to buy our own FK2 for the company because there were no cars on the streets locally. Finally after 6 months of work we were happy with the sound, looks and performance. It has been our great joy to see that our customers are enjoying their FK2’s with the Martelius soundtrack as much as we do ours.

Martelius FK2 Catback system

What is Martelius’ involvement in racing around the world like these days?

Our classic racing exhaust manifolds are widely used in racing and rallying all over Europe and beyond. Of course there is a lot of demand in drifting and time attack for high output exhaust solutions and our lightweight tubing. For example Juha Rintanen in Formula Drift and Peden Nielsen & Mike Fitzgerald in Irish Drift Championship (IDC) are currently using our products in their competition cars.

Thank you for your time! Anything else you would like to mention to all the Grumblo users reading this?

The pleasure is ours! Any users with Martelius products, please take some videos and upload to Grumblo! You can tag me @MarkusMartelius in the comments and I will be sure to watch them all. We love seeing our products in action!

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