When a friend of mine asked me if I would drive his car out west for him I jumped at the opportunity. My first thought was, I wonder how many muffler men I can spot. The answer to that question turned out to be 7 and sightings #34-#41 are all part of that trip. I missed the Lamesa Uniroyal Gal by 25 miles and have always wished I would have taken the time to go see her. One thing I’ve learned in this hobby, if you have a chance to see a muffler man, take it, muffler men have been known to disappear overnight. This sighting in Phoenix was the last on my trip to California and although I searched for the old Phillips 66 cowboy in Mecca California I wasn’t able to find any trace of him. The story of the Phoenix muffler man is best told by Roadside America since I did not meet the owner when I stopped by.
The Bunyan stands in the clutteredyard of Don Parks who is a vietnam vet and loves to collect just about anything that fits into the roadside architecture category. His collection is pretty impressive and I recognized a few other International Fiberglass products in his yard including the horse and rider just feet away from the Bunyan. His muffler man once stood on Broadway St in San Francisco and Don bought him in 1969. As is often the case he lost his feet when he was moved most likely because his feet were set in concrete while at the gas station. This was common practice with muffler men and many no longer have their feet today for this reason. Some years later Don sold him to a shoe store and they in turn sold him to a lumber yard when they went out of business. Don eventually bought back the Bunyan from the lumber yard and it stands today in his yard along with the rest of the collection. A picture was taken sometime around 2000 of the
Bunyan during his years at the lumber yard and he looks great sporting a fresh paint job. However by 2007 it was clear that something had happened to his right eye, perhaps a blood vessel popped from holding that axe for 50 years. He needs a new paint job and fake feet have been made out of his ankles but overall he is a classic bunyan and an early made one at that judging from his arms. I also noticed that he doesn’t have suspender buttons on his pants which is interesting. To the left you can see a picture Debra Jane Seltzer took in 2006 of the Bunyan before Don bought him back during his days at the lumber yard.