Story: Alex Bernstein
Photography: Andrew Link
Mandrel bends, T-304 stainless steel, polished tips and tubular headers—all things you’ll stumble upon at Royal Muffler in Chatsworth, California. Owner Jimmy Tonoyan has been in the game for 10 years, and in a refreshing rise to the top, he’s simply outclassing the competition. “That’s the easy part,” he says. “The big companies use poor materials and produce high quantity at a fast pace, resulting in bad fitment. We build our exhausts bend to bend, on the car, with aircraft-grade material and perfect TIG welds.” Point taken.
But it hasn’t always been this way. Building a business from the ground up is no simple task. Jimmy humbly admits, “Just to stay on the ground, we’d take on pretty much anything, even a Geo Metro,” he laughs. “You know, you do what you have to do to keep the doors open.” And it’s that attitude that has made Royal Muffler stand out in the industry. The shop began with a specialty in custom exhaust fabrication and now can handle anything short of an engine build—but even that’s not out of the question, should Jimmy meet a customer twisted enough to pull the motor out of his $100,000-plus car.
With projects taking anywhere from one to four months to complete, it’s no wonder Jimmy is turning out some jaw-dropping rides. He’s currently wrapping up a Porsche 911 GT3 RS project that he expects to be a game changer, as well as, most recently, a brand-new Ferrari 599 that landed in his shop. “We haven’t decided what we’re doing with it yet, but it’ll be amazing,” he promises.
Customers roll in prepared to drop $2,300 on a basic cat-back exhaust system—and usually much more than that—all for the sound, plus that Royal stamp of quality. With the itch to go faster and take on bigger builds, Jimmy has huge plans on the horizon, including a new addition to the Royal family (as of yet unnamed) that will specialize in modifications geared more toward motorsports in a new, much larger facility. This dude knows how to play the game as well as his exhaust can spit it.
Shop Name: Royal Muffler
Address: 21300 Devonshire St. #15 & #16, Chatsworth CA 91311
Owner: Jimmy Tonoyan
Years In Business: 10
Shop Specialties: Custom exhaust fabrication
Celebrity Clientele: Too many to name
Standout Vehicles: Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Average Turnaround Time: Complete build, 1 to 4 months; full exhaust, 1 to 2 weeks