They're big. They're scary. And there are hundreds of them.
But where did the Muffler Men come from?
If there was a single ancestral birthplace of these hulking highway giants, it has long been shrouded in murk. Today's owners, often three or four times removed from original purchasers, had little or no information. Were some really seen in the 1940s, as chronicled in our Sightings Reports? Were they fashioned by "some company in California," or dozens of dead and defunct fiberglass makers? Tantalizing clues, and, to be honest, we didn't dig too deeply. It seemed better not to know....
Enter Steve Dashew, who stumbled onto our web site in 1999. It was Steve's company, International Fiberglass, that turned out thousands of commercial statues in the 1960s and 70s. International Fiberglass took a single statue mold created for a cafe and parlayed it into a roadside industry.
Turns out muffler man spawning has been just a short chapter in Dashew's interesting life. He's owned a successful boat-building business, has written several books on yachting, and is now retired in Arizona. Steve (age 57 at the time of our 1999 interview), along with his wife of 30 years, Linda, had sailed over 200,000 miles, including a six-year circumnavigation with their two young daughters.
Steve spoke with us about the
primal fiberglass "Brand Man," answering
many of our Biggest Questions. There are still cloudy patches in the chronology
-- leaving lots of fertile ground for future research... more