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How to Identify Muffler Men

Still numbering in the hundreds, the big fiberglass figures known as Muffler Men were mostly created from 1962-1974, spreading far and wide, and still on the move. Some are lost, out for repairs, sold, or seasonally moved. And some are misidentified. Avoid the social embarrassment of incorrectly categorizing a muffler man sighting by studying his simple features and variations.

Note: Muffler Men are NOT the 4-6 ft. tall welded sculptures made of discarded car parts at repair shops! See Muffler Art Men

Physical Characteristics

Basic Types

Classic Muffler ManThe Classic

Gas Station Attendant, Golfer, Hamburger Man

Classic head of a Muffler Man.

Configured with all the basic characteristics, standing 21-22 ft. tall. While shipped clean-shaven, may be customized with a painted mustache or even a beard -- sometimes in the style of the Bunyan model.

Cowboy Muffler ManThe Cowboy

In many ways identical to the molds of the classic, the Cowboy's most prominent feature is his big Stetson, which can be removed (or blown off in high winds). Cowboy Muffler Men usually play the role of brawny frontiersmen or gunfighters, brandishing rifles, six-shooters or branding irons. More Cowboy

Bunyan Muffler ManBunyan

Lumberjack, Woodsman

Evergreen Bunyan.Configured with most of the basic characteristics, standing 20 ft. tall. The Bunyan probably existed before the Classic. Distinguishing features include a head with a molded wool cap, and a heavy beard. Bunyans are frequently sighted brandishing single or double-sided axes. Shirt may be painted in a red plaid pattern. There is somewhat shorter variation of the Bunyan that wears a hard hat or miner's helmet.

Indian Muffler ManIndian

Noble Savage, the Big Chief, or the Brave

Indian.Shoes and legs are often the same, but other characteristics of the Indian are further removed from purebred M-Man lineage. The head and arm configuration differ, except in cases where May don a single "Brave" feather or full "Chief" headdress. This category is confused by instances of Classics that have been modified to appear as Indians.

See The Big Indian Question

Halfwit Muffler ManHappy Halfwit

Mortimer Snerd, Alfred E. Neumann, S.F.B., Country Bumpkin

Happy Halfwit in Dallas.The gap-toothed, jug-eared Happy Halfwit is comic relief among otherwise stern looking M-Men types. This strain shares the M-Man's molded torso/arms and legs/shoes. Sports a straw hat or baseball cap. Original Halfwits were sold in heights as tall as 21 ft. Many of today's survivors are a shorter, neckless variety, closer to 15-18 ft.

See the Gallery of Happy Halfwits

PiratePirate

Swashbuckler, Captain Hook

The seafaring buccaneer version of a Muffler Man probably had the most plentiful collection of accessories -- pegleg, eyepatch, scabbard, earrings, hook hand. Perhaps that made him more expensive, and with narrower shoreland appeal, we've only found a few, on the East Coast.

 

Related Members of the Muffler Man Family

Uniroyal GalUniroyal Gal

The rare lady Muffler Man (or at least, his soul mate). Another product of International Fiberglass, Inc., the shapely Uniroyal Gal is shorter than her M-Man counterpart. She can be stripped down to a bikini, though more conservative communities tend to keep her blouse and skirt in place. One Texas owner actually modified the Uniroyal Gal's skirt to a more demure length.

See Big Women


VikingViking

The Viking figure shares fewer characteristics with Muffler Men, except his height and fiberglass composition. These are popular as school mascots, and have a business affiliation with carpet stores. The Viking landscape is complicated by the presence of other mass produced, shorter Vikings, and a number of one-of-a-kind Vikings.


MutantMutants

Variations on the M-Man physique are found with the standard hand configuration, but often everything else is horribly wrong. See Mutant Hybrids


Big JohnBig John

A grinning, towering colossus of a grocery store clerk, beefy arms bowed outward to accommodate giant bags of groceries. Manufactured by a company in Missouri and primarily deployed in Illinois. So none of the original M-Men molds, and made by a different company. But still, we consider him part of the extended family. See Big John


Big Friend

The penultimate highway giant, created by International Fiberglass in 1966 numbering some 300 (with thousands more planned) as part of a nationwide marketing plan for an oil company. Rumored destroyed by a big corporation in a post-ad campaign pogrom. A few remain. See Service Station Men

 

Not Muffler Men, But Still Appreciated

While not classified as Muffler Men, other roadside fiberglass humanoids merit a swerve off the road:

July 24, 2014

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