The Indian Warrior
4310 Alfred Harrell Highway, Bakersfield, California 93308
19800 S. Main Street, Carson, California 90745
(Can be seen from 405)
505 South Crane Ave, Compton, California
2710 Santa Anita Avenue, El Monte, California 91733
302 East Valley Parkway, Escondido, California 92025
11820 River Road,
Hat Creek Muffler Man
Hwy 89, Hat Creek, California 96040
(Formerly in Dunsmuir)
2020 National Ave, Hayward, California 94541
(formerly 22314 Mission Blvd)
5558 N Figueroa St., Los Angeles, California
3900 City Terrace Drive, Los Angeles, California 90022
22800 West Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265
Muffler Man and Other Giants
Garnet Avenue and Mill Creek Road, Mentone, California 92359
4498 E Hyway 140,
Pearson Road, Pearsonville, California 93527
Babe the Muffler Man
808 The Alameda, San Jose, California 95126
11114 Ridge Road,
Sutter Creek, California
15237 Sherman Way,
Van Nuys, California
390 E Commercial St,
Large giants standing 18 to 25 feet tall litter the highways of America, several scattered throughout California. In the 1960s and 1970s a fiberglass company called International Fiberglass created these roadside giants. In 1962, a man called Bob Prewitt who at the time owned Prewitt Fiberglass created the very first Muffler Man, a Paul Bunyan style giant for PB Cafe on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona. In 1963, Steve Dashew purchased the business from him and until 1975, Muffler Men were churned out by the company, now called International Fiberglass, and appeared on roadways throughout the United States.
The term Muffler Man was coined by Roadside America probably sometime around the mid to late nineties, long after the last Muffler Man was built. Muffler Men are made entirely of fiberglass, hollow, usually portraying a rugged individual with broad shoulders and his left palm face down while the right palm is face up in order to hold an axe, golf club, muffler, tire, etc. They came in a few different variations. The main one with the square jaw was usually beardless although some have had mustaches or beards painted on. This model occasionally came as a cowboy with removable cowboy hat. Next, or perhaps first, was the Paul Bunyan model complete with axe, cap, and beard. Indians were also made with different chests, arms, and heads. The arm instead of bent at the elbows and holding a variety of items had the right hand raised in the stereotypical Native American greeting. The chest was also shirtless and produced from a slightly different mold. Finally there was the country bumpkin style of Muffler Man which had the head replaced with a large eared gap toothed straw hat wearing noggin.
International Fiberglass also made several other types of fiberglass statues including the hard to find Uniroyal Girls. The Uniroyal Girl is the female equivalent of the Muffler Man and looks a lot like Jackie Kennedy. Her left arm is held up in the air and her right hand is on her hip. She usually came in a dress, although there appear to be many that have probably been modified with her now sporting a two piece bathing suit. There is one Uniroyal Girl in California that we are aware of. She can be found in Pearsonville along highway 395 and is known as the Hubcab Lady named after a resident, Lucy Pearson, who once collected over 80,000 hubcaps. Sinclair dinosaurs additionally came from the same company.
Originally Muffler Men were mostly found outside auto shops, restaurants, and later miniature golf courses, but now can be found almost anywhere. Additionally, many have been customized such as Chicken Boy in the Los Angeles area. Chicken Boy has the head of a chicken and holds a large bucket. Chicken Boy originally stood over Los Angeles advertising for a chicken restaurant. In 1984 the mutant Muffler Man was taken down shortly after the restaurant closed. It was saved by Amy Inouye who for over two decades has been holding on to Chicken Boy trying to get him restored somewhere. Finally in late 2007, early 2008, Chicken Boy was placed back up in Los Angeles. A few groups in the area refer to him as the “Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles”.
Muffler Men in the sixties and seventies cost anywhere from $1000 to $2800 each, depending on quantity ordered and accessories installed on each fiberglass statues. Now a days it is not surprising to see them go for $20,000! Probably, one of the more famous Muffler Men can be seen in the opening credits of the HBO series "The Sopranos". This is an actual Muffler Man from NJ.
The Hayward Muffler Man is an example of one of the Paul Bunyan bearded muffler men. He originally sat outside a car wash and use to carry a scrub brush. Now he stands outside an auto shop and the scrub brush has been removed.
The Malibu Muffler Man is another example of a converted Muffler Man. Standing along the Pacific Coast Highway at a Mexican restaurant called La Salsa, he wears a sombrero, sports a mustache, and carries a large platter (formerly filled with food). The location was a burger joint back in the seventies and back then the Muffler Man (then referred to as Malibu Frosty Freeze Man) carried a large burger, the bottom half of the bun is now the platter. He is often called "El Salsero".
So far, we've found seven of the many Muffler Men out there, and we'd love to have your help finding other Muffler Men. Although we obviously only concentrate on California, we'll also be very appreciative for anyone sending us pictures of Muffler Men out of this state as well. Happy hunting!
Check back later this month, as we intend to get pictures of the Uniroyal Girl in Pearsonville and the Indian in Bakersfield.
- Liz Oakes of Hayward, California on 2013-03-29 said:
- The Hayward Paul Bunyan, affectionately known as Big Mike, as he once stood at Mike's Carwash, has been fully restored and moved to 2020 National Ave in Hayward.
- Stephen of Escondido, CA on 2012-04-20 said:
- Having grown up in Escondido I always remember seeing the Joor Muffler man. It was a landmark in our town, everyone knew it. During the Christmas season the owners even dress him up in a giant Santa suit with hat and white beard. But I remember while driving through Pasadena one day it was the first time I say another. I saw a Mexican Muffler man holding a buirrito.
- steve janssen of new orleans, la on 2011-09-19 said:
- they have an original muffler man in metaire la on clearview drive near esplanade! you can google map it to get a good ariel and street view of it! just lettin all you muffler man freaks out there know!! very near take 5 oil change, but actually at the auto title transfer place.... peace
- Anonymous on 2011-07-07 said:
- Growing up, there was a large Peter Pan on top of a market by the same name on the corner of Normandie and Pico in Los Angeles.
- Teresa of Los Angeles, CA on 2011-06-03 said:
- I believe one of the Uniroyal female statues is located in Pearson CA on the 395.
- Julius of Nipomo, Ca. on 2011-04-21 said:
- The one in Bakersfield is in front of Ethel's old corral. This is a bar/night club
- Yenni of LA, CA on 2011-03-09 said:
- Tony is still in CA but moved to City Terrace :) here's the update: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/9460
- david granger of merced, ca on 2010-11-21 said:
- there is one between merced and planada
- john Lafferty of livermore, Ca on 2010-11-19 said:
- There's one you can see for 3 weeks before the Livermore Rodeo. He's a Cowboy. Is visible on Hiway 580 at the Los Positas Golf Course.
- Anonymous of Los Angeles, CA on 2010-08-30 said:
- Tony the Muffler Man at 4327 Cesar Chavez, in East Los Angeles, is no longer there. Tony’s Transmission Service has closed its doors sometime in August 2010. The property is now up for lease.
- beth of riverside, ca on 2010-07-25 said:
- We have our own muffler men group on the corner of Van Buren Blvd and Dauchy!
- Anonymous on 2010-03-17 said:
- There's a giant Paul Bunyan at Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA--and it talks to you when you walk by!
- Stevo of Weimar, CA on 2010-01-25 said:
- If I recall correctly, there used to be one in Livermore near the Golf Course along I-580 (highway 50 back then). This would have been in the late 60s
- Anonymous of Redding, California on 2009-11-05 said:
- I found one in redding
- sandra of ventura, ca on 2009-02-16 said:
- can anyone remember a giant paul bunyon at foster park in ventura?
- Vic Stapf of Los Angeles, CA on 2009-02-11 said:
- Great site you have here. I remember one holding a golf club in La Puente near Valley & Hacienda at a mini golf place when I was a kid.
Visit the Photos Of The Forgotten page.
- Roadside Giants (2005) by Butko, Brian and Sarah, p: 15 - 19
- Weird Hollywood (2010) by Oesterle, Joe, p: 152, 164, 170
Last Edited: 2013-05-01