The ‘Midas Muffler Man Landmark’

The Midas Muffler Man, in cowboy costume, with the Long Horn bull beside him, is a landmark on Highway 76, about a mile South of Waukon, Iowa, thanks to Ray Sweeney.

Giant statues of Midas Muffler men located around the country

The success of the Midas Muffler is attributed to the spectacular  guarantee, “As long as a person; who had  a Midas Muffler installed still owned the car, the Midas Muffler would be replaced for the life of the car.”

In the 1960s and 1970s the California based International Fiberglass Company made giant fiberglass men for gas stations and muffler dealers. They are landmarks that are easy to recognize.  The size alone calls attention to Muffler Men that are 18 to 25 feet tall. The muscular Muffler Men stand with their feet wide apart. They always have clothing that includes short-sleeved work shirts and jeans. The arms are extended out in front of the body with elbows bent and the right hand with palm up and the left hand palm down. The position of the hands was planned for easy placement of a giant muffler.  Initially Muffler Men did not have hats or caps to cover the thick crop of black hair. The head gear is added by the owners.  Muffler Men are clean shaven and have heavy black eye brows. They have a grin on their face that suggests they are happy with what they hold in their hands.

It is difficult today to find a Muffler Man in the original condition. Some of them are now in disguise. For instance the Muffler Man in North Platte, Nebraska appears to be a Native American standing in a replica stockade of Fort Cody Trading Post. He has the stereotyped headdress of the early Indians and the jeans and shirt of the original Muffler Man.

Muffler Men are found holding strange objects in their hands or like the Iowa Muffler Man, standing there empty handed.

The last time I was in Waukon. Iowa, I stopped to photograph a Muffler Man that has been a landmark for at least 70 years. It is about a mile out of Waukon along highway 76. It has stood in front of the Village Farm & Home Store for decades.

Joe Sweeny said his father, Ray Sweeney, now deceased, bought the Muffler Man and later found the Long Horn bull to place beside the Muffler Man. The fiberglass man has a red, short sleeved work shirt and blue jeans. People say in passing, ‘”There’s Ray Sweeny.”

Some Ad World collectors may want to consider adding a giant Midas Man to a collection bur there are a few obvious problems. Where do you find one in 2019?  If by chance, you do find one for sale, how do you get the giant home/ Number three, where do you exhibit it? The DOT has laws. Cities have laws and last, but not least neighbors may not want a giant muffler Man next door.     

A photograph is good enough for me!