Beyond the Track: Magnaflow, a Marvel in USA Made Manufacturing

As motorsports and car people we all know and love that sweet sound of a throaty roar of an engines exhaust. So I was excited that on a recent swing through California to have the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of Magnaflow Performance Exhaust Systems. Magnaflow was Founded in 1981 by exhaust distributor turned manufacturer, Jerry Paolone. Fast forward three decades as we take you behind the scenes of what is today a nearly 500,000 sq. ft. multiple building complexes located in Oceanside, California.

Close your eyes for a minute and try to picture what you think it would look like inside. What you likely see in your mind is very far from the manufacturing marvel that Magnaflow has developed. Even the savviest technical car or racing person would struggle to understand the depth of engineering, science and meticulous thought placed into every detail of their manufacturing processes.

My host for the tour was Richard Waitas, Senior Manager, a long time Magnaflow team member and expert of all things exhaust. If I'm honest, I only understood about half of what Richard told me on the tour. While his level of scientific and detailed manufacturing explanations was way over my head, I still found myself wanting to hang onto every word he said with great fascination.

It quickly became obvious that Magnaflow wasn't just another place producing performance parts. It's somewhat like visiting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Exhaust, but this was real. With 400 real jobs, making a real economic impact here in the USA. Their products are not just partially made or assembled in the USA. From Raw materials (also nearly entirely sourced from the USA) to the finished product it's 100% made by American workers.

As I met many of the employees there was a sense of belonging for all. It didn't seem to matter if you were a high level engineer or fabricator or placing the product into its final packaging. There was a sense of family, and a sense of each person being a spoke in the wheel that makes it all happen. There was an unexpected mix of high tech automation and robotics supplementing a skilled craftsman workforce. With less than a 1% return rate, Magnaflow has figured out the right balance of man and machine to create a nearly perfect product.

In one door an intricate flow of raw material feeds in to start the process. And before the day ends thousands of finished products are being carefully wrapped in their custom designed protective packages and sent out another door and across the globe. Now, do you see it? Well, you probably still don't have the full picture. I know I didn't.