#19 East Los Angeles, CA M Man

Image

This is Tony and he also has been around the LA area for a long time. He stands in front of Tony’s Transmissions and holds a beat up little red car. Actually the car isn’t that little but compared to Tony it is. IMG_8478The place was closed when I stopped by so I don’t know as much as I would like to about his history but I do know that this is a relatively new location for him. The business moved here in 2010 and he moved with it. He has a rare hat you don’t see often on M men although it is a close match to the one that used to sit on the head of the M Man in Handcock, MA. Interestingly Tony held the secrete to a mystery that took me some time to solve. Here it is…. in 2000 a picture was taken of a muffler man at an indoor art gallery in LA. Picture 13In the picture you can see what clearly looks like the La Salsa M Man made by Bob Wade standing there holding his plate full of goodies and his original hat (the top part of the burger). The shoes are a dead match as well as the poncho over the shoulder although it is a bit longer now then it was then. Everything looked right except that there was a clearly a bow tie at the collar. Tony is one of the rare bow tie versions and the La Salsa M Man is clearly not, both today and in the pictures taken of him when he was Mr Frostie Freeze and shortly after Bob Wade turned him into a mexican there is no bow tie to be found. So what muffler man was in that picture?  I came to the conclusion that it had to be Tony but why he stole La Salsa’s outfit puzzled me. IMG_3205Finally I learned that in 2000 Tony was loaned to the Dennis Hopper estate so they could make a few copies of him. In 2001 both copies appeared in a Dennis Hopper art gallery, one represented the La Salsa M Man and the other was a dead match to vintage picture taken of an M Man that stood in LA at a Mobile gas station in the 60’s. The two copied M Men can be found today in Dodge City KS after they were donated in early 2013 to the Kansas City Carnegie for the arts center. These days Tony has returned to his auto repair shop and stands with his simple white and blue holding his busted car and lives a much humbler life at the corner of City Terrace and Bonnie Beach.

Image