After Ken and Bud split paths and Bud kept the service man M Man, Ken decided to go with one of International Fiberglasses other options at the time, the Half Wit. Over the next few years Ken bought 4 Half Wits altogether to stand at his different business locations across town. To this day Dallas has the largest collection of half wits in one place. The rest are scattered up the eastern seaboard and there is one in MI as well as one in the middle of MO. Ken’s Muffler soon became know for the towering Half Wits and still does to this day. I am not exactly sure of the order they came in but this one was my first Half Wit sighting and I was pretty stoked about it when I got there in June 2011. I had stayed at the hotel around the corner a few years before and walked by him every day to grab food at a local restaurant but at the time had no interest in muffler men or realized that they were splattered across Dallas or even America for that matter. This one stands up off the ground on a pole and I noticed the wire under his shoes to keep the birds and creatures from nesting. This is also the first time I got a good look at his clothes. A straw hat covering a face full of freckles. A yellow shirt with suspenders and under that blue pants with patches. At the time I thought it was a design Ken or his crew had come up with but after seeing pictures of Half Wits on the east coast during the 1980’s with the same exact clothes I am starting to wonder if this outfit was right from International Fiberglass.
I heard about this one from a friend of mine that lived down in Cleburne TX and passed him often. At the time of my visit I knew very little about him other then that it looked like he had been here a long time and the business looked closed. Since that time I have learned about his interesting history and his connection to the other muffler men in Dallas. There are a few cities across America that seem to be more densely populated by muffler men then others. Often large cities claim just one muffler men but there are exceptions. Chicago, New York area, Los Angeles and Dallas seem to have attracted the giants in small groups rather then just one or a pair. Back in 1967 Bud and Ken Johnson started a muffler shop business together and purchased this muffler man from International Fiberglass to help advertise their new business and catch the eye of passing motorists. Shortly after the two went their separate ways, Bud changing the name to “Bud and Ben’s” and Ken went with the name “Ken’s Muffler” It was decided that Bud would keep the muffler man and today he stands at this now closed shop but still stands tall and proud being the first muffler man to arrive in Dallas. He is also one of the Muffler Men that actually hold a muffler. Ken told me this muffler came with him from International Fiberglass proving that they did make giant muffler for these guys.