MagnaFlow and Customs by Lopez

Straight Outta Compton

For years Ricardo Lopez has owned and operated a body and repair shop in Compton, CA known as Customs by Lopez. As a builder who’s particular about the components he uses in each project, Lopez has been using MagnaFlow as his go-to performance exhaust brand for as long as he’s been in business.

magnaflow customs by lopez

Why does he keep using MagnaFlow exhaust products? Well, in Lopez’s words “if it ain’t broke.” The team at MagnaFlow has never let him down, and as such, they’ve earned their place as Lopez’s exhaust system of choice. In recent years MagnaFlow partnered with him on several high-profile builds, including his most recent showings at SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association).

El Gran Patron

Lopez’s most recent SEMA builds serve as perfect examples of the fruits of his partnership with MagnaFlow. First, there’s his 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle, which he showed at SEMA in 2019. Affectionately known as “El Gran Patron,” this muscular machine has been reworked from end to end, including mechanical upgrades such as a modern 9” custom differential, revised 3.70 gear ratio, replacement ignition coil, new fuel rails, Hedman performance headers, Velocity air intake, 4” throttle body, B&M transmission cooling system, a serpentine pulley system from Eddie Motorsports and a double-row crossflow aluminum radiator from US Radiator.

magnaflow customs by lopez

Why all these mechanical enhancements? That’s what was needed in order enable the ride to handle a new LS2 V8 and it’s 420 horsepower, of course. This upgrade in power also required a replacement GM 4L60E transmission and necessitated suspension upgrades from Ridetech including StrongArm upper and lower control arms with HQ coil overs, replacement tall drop spindles, as well as front and rear MUSCLEbar sway bars. The 70s-era beast now runs on Budnik wheels with Toyo tires. Lopez’s team did all the chassis and suspension work in-house.

Similarly, much love and attention has been given to the vehicle’s interior, which prominently features swathes of quality custom leatherwork completed in-house by Lopez teammates Juan and Martin Sandoval. The high-quality leather wraps luxuriously around the Dakota Digital instrument panel and gauges used in the reworked dashboard. In addition to the premium materials used, Lopez also added an air conditioning system from Vintage Air for added comfort. And then there’s the sound system, which can thump with the best of them thanks to a Rockford Fosgate sound system with a pair of 12” 6×9 bass speakers connected to a RetroSound stereo.


Having a car with an awesome speaker system is one thing, but at MagnaFlow we specialize in making the car itself sound as it should. In the case of “El Gran Patron” Lopez created a one-off system using MagnaFlow’s custom builder parts and performance mufflers to enhance the sound produced by the Chevelle’s new LS2 with MagnaFlow’s deep signature exhaust tone. The system features an all stainless-steel design, 3” mandrel bent main piping and dual straight-through performance mufflers. Each part was produced using CNC precision robotic manufacturing and the mufflers are covered by MagnaFlow’s limited lifetime construction warranty.

For the Chevelle’s exterior, Lopez decided on a vibrant Lamborghini orange color scheme. Like most of the car, the team at Customs by Lopez completed all the paint and bodywork in-house. With its new paint scheme, this muscle car now looks as great as it sounds.

Fastback Makes a Comeback

magnaflow customs by lopez

The most recent benefit of Lopez’s partnership with MagnaFlow can be seen in the show car created by Customs by Lopez for last year’s 2020 SEMA360 all-virtual event. The vehicle in question? A 1968 Ford Mustang GT500 fastback with a mean-looking black paintjob and yellow racing strips that really pop against their dark backdrop. Like the Chevelle, Lopez and his team did a thorough job of refreshing and upgrading the Mustang’s mechanicals, including a new forged Eagle crankshaft, forged SRP pistons, custom COMP Cams camshaft, Inglese intake manifold with 8 50mm throttle bodies, K&N filters, 33 lbs. fuel injectors, EZ-EFI 2.0 ECU and a March serpentine belt system. Billet hood hinges add a nice motorsport touch, while the new power steering reservoir, radiator overflow tank and clutch master cylinder ensure reliable and consistent performance from the fabled pony car.

The GT500’s legendary 428 cubic-inch V8 is now mated to a Tremec TKO600 5-speed transmission and connected to the road thanks to new, fully adjustable Total Control coilers with VariShock shock absorbers. Further mechanical upgrades include a 9” rear differential with 3.70 8620 gearset, as well as 13” Wilwood drilled and milled brakes for much improved stopping power.

magnaflow customs by lopez

As for MagnaFlow’s contribution, obviously their focus was on the exhaust, which in this fastback leads from Hedman performance headers to another bespoke system created with MagnaFlow custom builder parts and performance mufflers. That fact alone speaks to the versatility of MagnaFlow components when it comes to creating unique exhaust solutions. Their custom builder parts work with a wide variety of vehicles and can be utilized to fit many unique applications. In the case of Lopez’s ’68 GT500 fastback, this new exhaust system now creates the deep tone that MagnaFlow is known for, while improving performance thanks to MagnaFlow’s extensive dyno testing.

The effort to elevate the Mustang’s sound didn’t stop with the intake, engine and exhaus, though. Also important to Lopez was making sure that the car’s speaker system was unmatched. This meant adding a Kenwood Excelon DMX957XR head unit, which was then connected to a pair of VX 1000/5i amps, dual 10W7AE subwoofers, two C2 3-way coaxial speakers, two C7 6.5” component woofers, two C7 1” tweeters and two C7 3.5” midrange speakers. These components integrated together make for a potent audio system: the perfect accompaniment to the vehicle’s new MagnaFlow exhaust soundtrack.

Last but certainly far from least, was the GT500’s interior which the team at Customs by Lopez poured tons of attention to detail into. Lopez decided to keep the classic instrument gauge cluster but used a Mustangs to Fear interior kit that was then upholstered in leather with Alcantara used for the headliner. A cobra logo was also added, and the center console was custom made by Lopez’s team. Mercedes Benz carpets are used throughout for their luxurious feel and a Lokar billet gas pedal was fitted as a stylish finishing touch. Customs by Lopez has created one of the baddest Mustangs around. It was even entered into that year’s SEMA360 Battle of the Builders.

Many Collabs to Come


With epic rides like these constantly being churned out of Customs by Lopez’s garage, the folks at MagnaFlow are very interested in maintaining their partnership with these skilled craftsmen going forward. The amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into these vehicles and the painstaking process of selecting components for each of them makes MagnaFlow feel honored that Lopez considers them one of his reliable, consistently performance go-to brands.


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ABOUT MagnaFlow®

As a market leader, we proudly manufacture all of our products in the USA using premium components and the latest technology. Our products range from direct-fit converters and cat-back systems to universal mufflers and builder’s kits for fabricating your own custom system. As an ISO-9001 certified company we believe in our product’s ability to perform and back it up with a lifetime warranty.