Hayward, California: Big Mike the Muffler Man

Towering fiberglass statue in the Paul Bunyan style, made in the 1960s. Spent decades as a car wash symbol holding a scrub brush, then a tire salesman until the business closed. In 2013 he reappeared at a plastics fabrication business.

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Big Mike. Big Mike the Muffler Man

Big Mike, a Bunyan-style Muffler Man, is back on the job. He stood in front of the Tyre Treads warehouse on Hayward's Mission Blvd for decades, and before that at a drive-thru car wash. Tyre Treads went out of business, and Big Mike, exposed just a few feet from the sidewalk, was soon the target of morons with spray paint. Someone knocked a hole in his leg. In October 2011 he vanished; rumors circulated that the Muffler Man was still around, in a warehouse maybe, his fate uncertain.

The waiting ended on March 27, 2013, when Big Mike was wheeled into the parking lot of Bell Plastics -- only ten minutes from his old home -- and once again set on his two feet. It turned out that the Muffler Man had been bought by Bell Plastics' owner Bruce Kennedy, who also paid to have him completely restored.

Bruce told us that he had wanted to put Big Mike in front of his business, playing with Bruce's 21-foot fire truck, but his insurance company nixed the idea. So the fiberglass giant instead stands in Bell Plastics' parking lot, behind a fence that can be locked at night for security. "Everyone is welcome to come visit him and take pictures," said Bruce. Someone even dropped off a fully-wrapped axe with "To Big Mike" written on it, but it was the wrong size.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 03/28/2013]
Bunyan

Big Mike, mascot of a local muffler shop is gone. he was removed in the last week of October 2011 and sold to a private party "for restoration." reported sightings in the Castro Valley area had a headless Mike on a trailer for several weeks before being moved to an undisclosed location due to too many people going to the trailer to take pictures of the local celebrity.

[Brian, 12/05/2011]
Muffler Man - the Hayward Giant. Hayward Giant - The Early Days

My dad put up that giant. We owned Morris Car Wash. I remember the day he went up... it was so cool. Years later some kids got on the roof and cut the cables -- poor giant landed right across Mission Blvd. Shut the street down most of the day. We had it towed to a lot for repair... we got to climb all the way into his head, it was dark and spooky, and so much fun.

Glad to hear he's still there. My dad will be so thrilled..

[Vickie Morris Mendoza, 08/14/2011]
Hayward Muffler Man. Muffler Man

The Hayward muffler man is in pretty good shape. He's not holding anything any more. It is located at Tyre Treds LTD.

[kjfitz, 02/21/2007]

September 2010: "Big Mike" is up for sale, along with the tire business that owns him. The city is reportedly considering buying the Muffler Man and making him the centerpiece of "Big Mike Park."

Muffler Man - Large Scrub Brush

As a native of Hayward, just want to add family history to this existing listing: Before becoming a tire salesman, the Hayward giant held a large scrub brush, offering to wash cars, as the building used to house a drive-through car wash. Mr Clean, eat your heart out.

[Jenelle Hardin, 12/27/2005]

Big Mike the Muffler Man

Bell Plastics

Address:
2020 National Ave., Hayward, CA
Directions:
Bell Plastics. In an industrial park. I-880/Nimitz Fwy exit 28. Drive west on Winton Ave. for one mile. At the stoplight, turn left onto Clawiter Rd, then make first right onto National Ave. Drive a quarter-mile. You'll see a blue building on the left; Big Mike is in the alley next to it.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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