The Mortons Gap Project is finished! After more then a year of restoration work, we have completed the restoration and taken the Muffler Man back to his home in Kentucky. I want to thank everyone who supported this project with pledges, as well as those who donated their time and skills. Although the project was way more work then I ever dreamed it would be, the final result was also better then much better then I expected.
I first visited the giant in August 2011, after seeing him listed on Roadside America. It was during a second visit, the following year, that I first had the idea to restore the giant. In the summer of 2013, I started shooting emails back and forth with Mark Cline and he said he could make me the missing body parts. After that conversation, I think I realized that this really could happen and planning began in earnest. Our first Kickstarter was launched in May of 2014, and although it ended in failure a month later, we did manage to raise $1,296. By this time, Neto and I had already picked up the head and arms from Mark Cline, so failure was not an option. After adjusting the rewards a bit and updating our graphics and video, we launched the Kickstarter again in early September. We decided that we were going to do this no matter what the outcome, and figured visitors to the kickstarter should be able to see our commitment, so we picked up the giant in Mortons gap the same week we launched. Things went much better the second time around and Kickstarter even made us project of the day!
Over the next year we worked on the project whenever we had a chance. Some weeks found us working on him every evening while others, he wasn’t even touched. His restoration was juggled around on our busy work schedule, looking back on it, I am amazing at how many hours the guys donated to getting this done. Despite all the donated labor, the cost of fiberglass, resin and countless supplies was daunting. None of us had ever tackled anything like this before and we were constantly buying tools and supplies needed to pull off the job.
By the spring of 2015, we had completed repairs on the huge cracks and holes that were scattered across the giant. The next step was sanding the giant down, and it felt like it took us years to get that done. Even a week before delivery, we were still sanding bits and pieces of the giant, to try to get the smoothest surface possible. As I mentioned before, none of us had done anything like this before, and since the start of the project we were concerned about painting the guy. We had some estimates done on him, and were floored at how high the cost was. In the end we decided to paint him ourselves and I’m glad we did. From June until October, we didn’t touch the giant because of our busy work load. So the last two weeks have been an all out push to get the giant done and back to Kentucky.
We returned the giant to the hillside on November 15, 2015, and the owners were blown away at the giant’s transformation. We had a nice turnout of supporters and family members that showed up to watch the giant go back up. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you who watched this project unfold and supported us with likes on
instagram, and encouraging comments. I want to thank all the supporters, and for your patience. I also want to thank Mark Cline for his help and support, as well as the guys at Roadside America, for letting their viewers know about the project. Debra Jane Seltzer of Roadside Architecture, has also been a huge help, and I have found her knowledge of these giants invaluable during research and restoration. I want to thank the Loven family for letting me take their giant for a year, and for their support of the project, as well as all the pledgers, and those of you who came out to watch the giant go up. Last but not least I am so thankful for my crew, Michael Younkin, Will Worf and Ademar Neto, for the long hours they have sunk into this project, we have all found this to be very rewarding!
WOW, your dedication and hard work turned out wonderful!!! For many more years, this Muffler Man, will make smiles and good memories, for everyone who sees it! Thank you for saving a piece of American history! Best regards, Kip K. Atchley
Wish I gotten to see him before he went back but he looks really good. Know this has been an adventure but you guys did an awesome job of restoring the Muffler Man and know the family will get many years of enjoyment seeing him back in action.
He looks fantastic. Bravo! Congratulations, Joel!