#45 Montpelier, IN – Indian

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International Fiberglass made two kinds of indians you could order. One was an indian brave with a bare chest and normally one or 2 feathers and a serious face. This version seems to be the more common today and was the indian chosen by the mohawk gas stations to be their mascot. IMG_20120502_083735The second indian was almost the same but actually had a different head mold with a fierce facial expression and a full indian headdress. Other then the head both versions are the same from the neck down. One of the more uncommon full headdress indians can be found in the small town o Montpelier, IN and he has lived here since January of 1984. Like many full headdress indians his life started out at a Pontiac dealership. I have heard this over and over now in my travels and when asking about the history of an indian the answer is often “oh we got him from a pontiac dealership”. Somewhere back in the day Pontiac must have decided that an Indian muffler man would make a good mascot and at least a dozen of these guys were ordered and stood at lots scattered across america. IMG_20120502_083805Both head versions were used at Pontiac lots and the idea seemed to die out and lots sold the indians mostly in the early 80’s. The name Pontiac was first used around 1893 by the Pontiac Buggy Company later becoming Spring and Wagon Works Company. The Pontiac Buggy Co. originated in Pontiac, MI and got it’s name from the location named after Indian Chief Pontiac. In 1906 the Oakland Motor Car Co. merged with them and in 1909 GM acquired both brands. Seventeen years later in 1926 GM marketed it’s first Pontiac car and it set an automobile industry record selling 76,000 cars the first year and priced under $900.

Picture 4The Montpelier indian stood at a Pontiac lot in during the 70’s as many indian versions did. This one stood at Dave Waite Pontiac at 54th and Keystone and he even appeared in some International Fiberglass promotional material from 1969. After being taken down he was given to the city by Larry P. Godfroy who is the great grandson of Francois Godfroy, the last war Chief of the Miami indians who once lived in the area. Today the muffler man stands on the main intersection in Montpelier and still proudly wears his IF label on his leg.

Thanks to Terry Nelson for providing the vintage photograph of the indian during his days at Dave Waite Pontiac. (the old black and white picture had been reversed for advertising purposes)

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