The Muffler Man in Evergreen Park, IL is part of what I call the Chicago Cluster. This Paul Bunyan model is one of two in the Chicago area. It was first documented by RoadsideAmerica.com in 1997. The statue has been updated a few times over the years. A call to his owners shed only a little light on this Muffler Man’s history. The statue stands on the roof of Guardian Auto Rebuilders. It is held in place by supports inside his legs. Some cables are also attached to the eye bolts on top of his shoulders. The current owners bought the business in 1975. The statue was already on the roof at that time. The owners don’t know how long the statue has been there. When the company moved in, the statue held a giant hammer. That accessory disappeared a few times during the 1980s. The guys at Guardian got tired of making new hammers for the statue and finally hung the last one up in the shop. In 1998, a tornado knocked the statue over. The statue was removed at that point and repainted with DuPont ChromaBase auto paint. A giant G was also painted on his shirt before he was returned to the roof.
When I visited him in 2012 while taping for the American Giants video series, I discovered that the statue didn’t have any feet. There are several other Muffler Men around the country that also have missing feet. Often these feet were submerged in concrete for stability. When the statues were moved, the feet were simply cut off. We can therefore assume that this statue was located somewhere else previously. Other than the missing feet, this statue is in good shape.
I want to thank the guys at Guardian Auto Rebuilders for sharing their memories about the statue. I also want to thank RoadsideAmerica.com for the information at their website. For more about Muffler Men and their sometimes missing feet, check out American Giants Episode #5.