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HomeCar CultureSound effects: Which tunnels offer the best acoustics?

Sound effects: Which tunnels offer the best acoustics?

Here’s your chance to share your favorite engine-revving echo chamber

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It’s a Monterey Car Week tradition. As you drive your exotic or custom car through the thousand-foot-long Lighthouse Avenue tunnel beneath the Custom House Museum in downtown Monterey, you rev your engine and enjoy the sound as it echoes off the walls.

Memories of the Monterey tunnel were kindled by a recent news release from Alfa Romeo’s British branch which worked with Sandy Brown, England’s largest “independent acoustic consultancy,” to determine a “Sound Tunnel Index” of the best roadway tunnels for sharing the sound of your vehicle’s exhaust.

An Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio with a 510-horsepower 2.9-liter bi-turbo V6 engine and quad exhaust was used to benchmark the sound quality of each tunnel. There’s even a YouTube link to share those sounds.

tunnels, Sound effects: Which tunnels offer the best acoustics?, ClassicCars.com Journal
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio in the Hindhead tunnel in Surrey

The best of Britain winner was the Penmaenbach tunnel, a 2,158-foot stretch in North Wales. Second went to the Satlash tunnel in Cornwall and third to the Beaminster tunnel in Dorset. The top-3-rated tunnels each has a cylindrical shape, the experts noted.

“The shape and size of tunnels, their length, the speed of the road, background sounds such as other cars, airflow and tire noise, all have an impact on the sound you hear while driving through it,” Sandy Brown staffer Richard King is quoted.

“This is heightened in a performance SUV like the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, where the combination of the V6 Bi-Turbo engine and exhaust sound add to the excitement, so this index will help petrolheads and car lovers across the UK make the most of their drives.”

The above is all well and good for our visitors from the UK, but we’re wondering what the best tunnels for sharing automotive sounds in the US and Canada might be. If you have a favorite, please let us know in the “Comments” section below.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

7 COMMENTS

    • I worked for a dozen years at AutoWeek in downtown Detroit and we frequently went to Windsor for lunch and to buy better headache-relief pills than were available at Michigan pharmacies. I remember the sounds of cars echoing off those wall.

  1. The Eisenhower/Edwin C. Johnson Tunnels, although rectangular, sounded pretty good when the guys from the American version of “Top Gear” got to top end some exotics through it- no other traffic, though.

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