By SEMA Editors
Ray Flugger, 79, founder of Flowmaster Inc., The Exhaust Technology Co., passed away February 8, at his home in Santa Rosa, California.
An inventor, innovator and entrepreneur, Flugger is best known as the designer of the Flowmaster scavenging muffler that was to reinvent the performance muffler category worldwide, opening the market to more than a dozen new company names. A classic hot rodder at heart, Flugger was a chiefly self-taught engineer who designed his first successful muffler, the Hushpower design, in his Petaluma, California-based Flugger Engineering facility. Less known successes include helping to write the California Lane Splitting recommendations in the ’70s, developing half of Midas Muffler’s initial operating manual and a high-output corn plant for fuel and animal feed purposes.
A popular muffler with VW performance fans, Flugger’s success with Hushpower would lead to the 1983 opening of Flowmaster in Santa Rosa. His scavenging muffler design increased engine horsepower, torque and mileage over open exhaust in race cars and street vehicles. His mufflers, when used on race cars, helped them meet the sound requirements for a wide range of racetracks where sound limits had become an issue.
Flugger’s contribution to the performance world was validated when Hot Rod magazine awarded Flowmaster the induction into the Speed Parts Hall of Fame in 2007. Flowmaster was also the first company to offer cat-back and axle-back systems for street vehicles.
Flugger left Flowmaster in 2011 when he sold the company to B&M Racing. The company he started in 1983 continues today producing high-quality mufflers and other assorted exhaust system products for race and street applications.
Flugger is survived by his wife Winnie Flugger, daughters Jacki Flugger and Larinda Merkins, and his son Jarrett (JC) Flugger.
A celebration of his life will be held in April in Sonoma County. In the meantime, friends and family members are encouraged to share their love, memories and condolences at www.rayflugger.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.