#36 Las Cruces, NM M Man


With well over 100 muffler men out there and being over 50 years old now, chances are high that not all of them still are %100 complete. IMG_0468 IMG_7496 IMG_7494 IMG_7503 IMG_7510 IMG_7512IMG_7504Feet, heads, arms and items they held commonly disappear and even a torso from time to time. Before International Fiberglass closed it’s doors part of it’s business was simply replacing missing axes and other things the muffler men held. It seems more then one collage student in the 70’s wanted a giant axe for their dorm room wall. Sadly stealing these items came at a price that the owners had to foot and although some ordered new items many didn’t bother and so the majority of muffler men out there today hold nothing at all.


The service man version that stands today in Las Cruces, NM is one of the ones missing some important body parts. I have always thought that if a muffler man is missing something important, it’s because it was taken or stolen at some point in time but surprisingly this is not always true. In fact it is important not to jump to conclusions because in many cases the owner still has the missing pieces. This is the story here in Las Cruces and his arms were simply taken off to accommodate that huge sign he holds and they are stored at another location. Other muffler men with body parts in storage include the steelers football player in PA who’s head is not missing but in storage after falling off. The Bunyan at Lake Vanare, NY is missing a foot that the owners have in storage (although I think one of his arms is gone for good). The Elmsford, NY m man was always missing his right arm but the left was knocked off recently when a truck backed into it and it is stored inside the gas station.

The Las Cruces m man arrived here in the early 90’s and was hauled in the back of a dump truck in 3 pieces. His owner said he was once a Phillips 66 cowboy but had already lost his hat by the time he purchased him. He has stood here at “Big Daddy’s Flea Market” for a long time and the locals all call him “Big Daddy” Since he is a cowboy that almost is a guarantee that he has a International Fiberglass stamp on his leg, although it is faded I could still make it out on his left leg. His right leg is banged up a bit and has been patched with some duck tape thats starting to come off so some fiberglass work on this guy would not be out of order. I was also very interested in the platform that he stood on. International Fiberglass sold their muffler men with a stand that was a metal frame on wheels. This was a patented design made by Steve Dashew and it was built so the giant could be displayed at a business and also easily hooked up to a trailer to be moved to another location for display. The Texaco Big Friends were all sold with this  and I have seen many vintage pictures of muffler men in the 60’s and 70’s standing on these platforms. These days they are almost impossible to find and I have only seen a few of them in my travels. However this giant seems to be standing on one and if it’s not original it still closely resembles what these guys once shipped out with.  The area seems to attract large objects and there is a giant bull across the parking lot from the muffler man. I wish now I would have asked the owner about the platform but as is often the case I noticed it later when studying the pictures I took more closely. It’s amazing the small details you can miss and look over when on site with these guys and I always seem to discover more at home studying the picture then I do out in the field.


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