Sunday, August 5, 2012

A few good Men: Some Muffler Men seen along the way

Eccentric roadside attraction fans don't need to be told what a Muffler Man is, but for the unenlightened, here's a brief explanation, courtesy of the standard-bearers of the cult, Beginning in the 1960s, fiberglass characters 18-23 feet tall were created by the International Fiberglass Company of California as attention-getters for gas station chains. Often, the big guys' hands were bent to hold a car's muffler, so the statues came to be known as "Muffler Men". Over the years, hundreds of the Men were discarded or repurposed, making them rare and now a core audience of eccentric roadside fans like us stalk them and check them off in our little books like bird watchers spotting a yellow-bellied sapsucker. But we couldn't do it without, who have really gone into scholarly (and hilarious) fine detail, charting over 200 MMs in the USA and telling their stories in graphic and non-sugar-coated detail. Here are a few we've seen along the way:

 Atlanta, Illinois

 Chattanooga, Tennessee

 Cheshire, Connecticut

Norwich, Connecticut 

 East Los Angeles, California

 Wilmington, Illinois

 Elkhart, Indiana

 North Platte, Nebraska

 Joliet, Illinois (you can only see the front of this guy if you're inside the Joliet Jackhammers ball park)

 Indianapolis, Indiana

 Magnolia, New Jersey

 Royal Mount, North Carolina

 Springfield, Illinois

 Tucson, Arizona. If you click on this one you'll see a nice retro trifecta: A Nash Metropolitan, a cool old neon sign, and a fine MM staring out at Glenn and Stone Streets.

Blackfoot, Idaho. The Muffler Man's sexy (are even rarer) cohort, the Uniroyal gal.


roadsidewonders said...

What a great round-up!

I've never seen the East LA Muffler Man!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Wendy, that one was a real "Stop the car!" moment for us and we were being driven around by someone else. No place to park, a not-so-hot neighborhood, but we got the shot! Luckily our driver/friend is as eccentric as we are.

Rick Kilby said...

Fantastic collection!

Postcardy said...

Great collection of Muffler Men. I don't travel, but I collect roadside postcards.

I have started a new blog Postcard Gems for "Classic American Postcards of the 1950s to 1970s." Probably about half of the postcards will be "roadside" and half "other."

Bill said...

Hitler Youth in Indianapolis?

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Postcardy: I'm a big fan of old postcards and I love your blog. I'll add a link to it when a get a spare moment.

Bill: Mr. Bendo does seem to be giving heil!, doesn't he?

Hauntedheadful said...

I'm a 44 year old Southern New Jersey native and that giant in front of Royal Tire has been around as many years as I am old,probably longer. He had a twin in front of Trio Tire in Berlin,I would have to check and see if he's still around.Mr Bill's Custard on Rt 73 in Blue Anchor has a giant with a head like Alfred E Neuman.