The era of engine-as-art has been over for quite some time, done in by computers, both the ones controlling our cars as well as those used to design them. But if popping the hood today reveals only a giant slab of ugly black plastic – or worse, a tangled mess of wiring and piping that looks like it was assembled by kindergarteners rather than engineers – thankfully there are still plenty of artistes outside the auto industry who appreciate and celebrate the beauty of internal combustion.

We're talking about people like Matteo Panini and Mirco Pecorari, Modenese partners in iXoost, a company that's building beautiful audio systems out of Formula One exhaust manifolds. Their iPhone/iPod docking system comes in 8-, 10-, and 12-cylinder models, and features 420 watts of power driving either six or nine separate speakers. An iXoost will set you back between €5,000-€8,000 (roughly $6,100-$9.800), which is a lot for a docking system, but chump change in the audiophile world. We'd be happy if it sounds even half as good as it looks.

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