The United States is known for its big statements. From supersized meal portions and vehicles to massive sporting stadiums, everything is truly bigger in the US.
However, while you tour Route 66, you might see something else that's out of proportion – the famous Muffler Men. Not sure who they are? Don't worry, we'll pinpoint the best Muffler Men to see along Route 66.
Who are the Muffler Men?
During the 1960s, advertising competition in the United States was fierce, particularly among businesses along the state highways. As a way to differentiate themselves, business owners commissioned large moulded fiberglass sculptures, known as Muffler Men, to represent their brand.
The sculptures stand between 5-9 metres tall and were named Muffler Men due to the many car-related versions where mufflers and other products were displayed.
Sadly, these figures aren't manufactured anymore and many originals have been repurposed. This said, Route 66 is still home to a few original Muffler Men. Be sure to stop by these men and get a quick selfie!
1) Gemini Giant (Wilmington, Illinois)
Standing proudly outside the Launching Pad Drive-In restaurant, the 8.5m Gemini Giant represents a bygone era of space exploration. Project Gemini (1961-1966) was NASA's second human spaceflight program, and aimed to develop space travel techniques to eventually get man to the moon.
The Gemini Giant wears a dark green spacesuit and grey space helmet while holding a silver rocket ship in his hands – showcasing America's spirit for space exploration.
2) Chicken Boy (Los Angeles, California)
As you might imagine, Chicken Boy was first perched on top of a fried chicken restaurant during the 1960s. The restaurant owners bought one of the original Muffler Man sculptures and then hired an artist to turn it into the famous Chicken Boy. This included designing a chicken head and adjusting the arms so they could hold a bucket of chicken.
It was removed in 1984 after the owner died, but was discovered again 20 years later in storage. It was installed in its current location in 2007 through community funding.
3) Bunyon's Statue Tall Paul (Atlanta, Illinois)
Today, Tall Paul holds a giant hot dog covered with classic American mustard, but did you know that Paul once held an axe? Yes, back in the 1960s, the Paul Bunyan statue stood outside a cafe in Flagstaff, Arizona with his axe. In 1965, the statue was bought and the new owner replaced the tool with a hot dog for his Cicero restaurant.
When the owner died, the statue was again moved to Atlanta where he stands proudly with his bright red shirt and blue pants. Tall Paul is regarded as a not-to-be-missed photo opportunity along Route 66, just don't try to steal his hot dog if you're a little hungry!
To learn more about the famous locations on Route 66, get in touch with our team today.