Project image
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$1,296
pledged of $4,500pledged of $4,500 goal
37
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, April 20 2014 4:54 PM UTC +00:00
$1,296
pledged of $4,500pledged of $4,500 goal
37
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, April 20 2014 4:54 PM UTC +00:00

About

1960s International Fiberglass advertising
1960s International Fiberglass advertising

In 1962, Prewitt Fiberglass Animals produced the very first “Muffler Man” statue.  Around 1963, the company was purchased and renamed International Fiberglass.  By using and modifying the original Paul Bunyan mold, hundreds of these giant statues were produced in the 1960s and 1970s.  Today, less than 200 of them are scattered around the country.

Uniontown, PA Muffler Man
Uniontown, PA Muffler Man

In addition to cowboys, Indians, pirates, astronauts, and other variations, International Fiberglass also produced a 14 foot tall Paul Bunyan statue.  It is not known how many of these were made but there are only about 15 of them known to still exist.  This statue in Mortons Gap is an example of this model.  However, it is in very poor condition.

Livingston, IL 14ft version Muffler Man
Livingston, IL 14ft version Muffler Man

You can help preserve this unique piece of Americana by supporting this Kickstarter campaign. Your contributions will raise the money needed to reproduce the statue’s original head, arms and axe. The statue will also be refurbished and repainted. This restoration project will be documented in an American Giants’ video episode.

Mortons Gap Muffler Man in 2012
Mortons Gap Muffler Man in 2012

In 2011, I visited the Mortons Gap Muffler Man for the first time.  I had seen a photo of it on RoadsideAmerica.com.  This was early on in my documenting of these statues and I had not yet started my blog, usagiants.com.  The couple that owned the statue told me the story behind it.  In 1995, they acquired the statue in Fort Campbell, KY.  It was already missing its arms and head at that point.  The statue had previously been installed at Pistol Pete’s Pawn Shop in Fort Campbell.  No one knows where it was located originally.  Today, it stands in the couple’s donkey pasture on a hillside overlooking Edward T Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway.  At some point, a handmade head was made for the statue and a normal-sized axe was hung from the statue’s arm socket. For more see the complete story here

Mark Cline with a mold of the statue's head
Mark Cline with a mold of the statue's head

I have returned a few times after that to see the Muffler Man and visit with its owners.  They always asked where they could get arms and a head for the statue.  Since International Fiberglass went out of business in 1972, there are no spare parts anywhere.  However, a few people are making molds for replacement parts.  In the 1990s, Mark Cline made a mold of a 14 foot tall Muffler Man.  He has created a few other statues with it including a cowboy and a handful of soda jerks holding ice cream cones.  After explaining the situation to him, he agreed to recreate the parts and make a new axe for the Mortons Gap statue.  At that point I realized that the statue’s owners did not have the money to pay for the restoration – and neither did I!

As part of our American Giants video episode, we will include footage of Cline producing the parts at his studio in Natural Bridge, VA.  We will also cover the statue’s refurbishing and repainting.  Finally, after more than 25 years, this statue will look as good as new. 

Possible t-shirt design
Possible t-shirt design
Muffler Man head at the $2,750 reward level
Muffler Man head at the $2,750 reward level

The money for this blog, the video episodes, and our travel expenses have all come from our own pockets.  We are now asking for your support for this special project.  We are also offering rewards (see the column on the right) for your Kickstarter contributions.  This project has also prompted us to finally produce American Giants t-shirts!  Right now, they are only available with your contributions.  Of course, the greatest reward is knowing that you helped preserve one of these rare statues 

Thousands of cars pass the Muffler Man each day
Thousands of cars pass the Muffler Man each day

Sadly, one of the owners passed away while we were getting this campaign organized.  This project will be carried out in his memory. Since this statue is located on private property, it is only visible from a distance.  However, thousands of people will see it each day from the highway.  I really appreciate all your support and help in completing this project.  If you have any questions, please e-mail me at joel@usagiants.com

Risks and challenges

In 2013, the American Giants team began laying the groundwork for this Kickstarter campaign. This project is already well on its way. Mark Cline has already begun recreating the Morton Gap Muffler Man’s head and arms. We also have the enthusiastic, full support from the statue’s owners.

Once the funds have been raised, we will install the new head and arms. The statue will then be refurbished and repainted. We will then deliver the statue to Mortons Gap. Our film crew will be on hand to document the event. The footage will be featured in an upcoming episode of American Giants.

Since so much of the work has already begun, there is no risk to your contribution. We are fully committed to this project and, with your donations, we hope to deliver the restored statue by this summer. We encourage you to keep checking this Kickstarter page and our blog (usagiants.com) for updates and photos of this statue’s progress. Thank you for your support!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    UNLISTED LINK TO THE DOCUMENTARY - When this project is completed, we will post a video documenting the restoration of this statue. As a contributor, you will receive an unlisted link to view this episode two weeks before it is released to the public. Thanks for your support!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    TIME CAPSULE MESSAGE - You will have the opportunity to create a personal message. This message will be put inside a time capsule which will be inserted into the Muffler Man's head during installation. You will also get the unlisted link to the documentary PLUS another unlisted link featuring behind the scenes footage not included in the episode.

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    POSTCARD PACK - You will receive five American Giants postcards of our favorite Muffler Men and all of the above.

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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    AMERICAN GIANTS T-SHIRT - You will receive our first American Giants t-shirt featuring our logo. You will also receive all the above items.

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    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    RIGHT PALM UP LEFT PALM DOWN BOOK - For the last 10 days of the kickstarter we are introducing a great new reward to help us reach our goal. For a pledge at this level you will receive the book written by Gabriel Aldaz that covers his quest for Muffler Men and their origins. This is a must have for any Muffler Man enthusiast! You will also receive all the above items.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    ROADSIDE AMERICA APP - You will receive a RoadsideAmerica.com app for iPhone which includes all region access. This popular and humorous app guides you to unusual roadside attractions. You can search by a particular theme, city, or your proximity to these attractions. The app contains photos and attractions which are not included at the Roadside America website. In addition to this app, you get all the contribution rewards listed above.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 85 or more About US$ 85

    MUFFLER MAN POSTER - You will receive a black and white poster reproduction of a 1965 International Fiberglass advertisement. If you prefer, you can choose a full color poster of a Muffler Man taken by the American Giants crew. The posters are 11” x 17”. You also get all the above items except for the Roadside America App.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    INTERNATIONAL FIBERGLASS CATALOG - You will receive a reproduction of the 1970 International Fiberglass catalog. It features all of the Muffler Men as well as other statues of people and animals that the company sold in the 1960s. The descriptions, weights, measurements, and pricing are listed with each item in the catalog. This is a great piece to add to your collection! You will also receive all of the items above except the Roadside America App.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    MUFFLER MAN BOBBLEHEAD DOLL- You can choose between two bobblehead dolls which feature two of Bruce Kennedy's Muffler Man collection in Hayward, CA. With this donation amount, you will also get a special credit in the video episode about this project. You will also receive all of the items above except the Roadside America App.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    MORTONS GAP AXE - You will get the axe from the Mortons Gap Muffler Man which will be removed during the statue’s restoration and mounted on a plaque. You will also receive all of the items above except the Roadside America App.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    MUFFLER MAN AXE - You will receive a full sized, fiberglass Muffler Man axe made by Mark Cline. Cline is famous for countless fiberglass statues around the country. He is making the replacement head, arms, and axe for the Mortons Gap Muffler Man. You will also receive all of the items above except the Roadside America App and the Mortons Gap axe.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,750 or more About US$ 2,750

    THE WORKS - You will get everything listed above plus a full sized Muffler Man head! This head is the type made for the 14 foot tall model. It will be made by Mark Cline. This reward does not include the current axe or the App.

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Funding period

- (30 days)