I’ve mentioned Texaco Big Friend statues in a previous post at this blog. Of all the Muffler Men statues that International Fiberglass produced, I find these to be the most intriguing. About 300 of these statues were produced in 1966. However, nearly all of them are gone now.
I recently came across a TV commercial from 1966 on YouTube.com. It shows how Texaco planned to use the statues in its advertising campaign. Texaco service station attendants were portrayed as your car’s “Big Friend.” While this commercial was being aired, the giant statues were being deployed around the country. However, for reasons that are still unknown, Texaco changed its mind about the statues. While the TV commercial was still being aired a year later, the statues had all been removed from the company’s gas stations. It is believed that those statues and the ones that were still in storage were destroyed.
To my knowledge, there are only four Big Friend statues that escaped Texaco’s purge. They are located in Oregon, Idaho, Arkansa and Nevada. Three of those statues have either been heavily modified or damaged, while the one in AR has been fully restored. Recently, I was contacted by Ryan Lindstrom who lives in Chicago. He owns a well-preserved Big Friend head which was bought at a antique shop in Georgia in the 1980s. He is considering displaying the head at Route 66 exhibits in the future.
For more about Texaco Big Friends, see this blog post. Texaco also produced Big Friend signs. If you missed it, you might enjoy the recent Ray Carr Show interview which covers a lot of Muffler Men topics as well as the Texaco Big Friends and more pictures then are shown here.