Peoria Landmark #459
* Photo by Christopher Allen.
“The Cynic” is right, this is the Uniroyal gal in Mt Vernon, Il. I passed it while headed south but didn’t take the time to turn around and get a shot. I didn’t realize Vanna Whitewall (what us Peorian’s call ours, for those who might stumble upon this post) was part of a larger, yet rare, breed.
The best resource I could find is a post from the website American Giants dated 7/4/13. Click the link for the expanded version.
As the Bunyan muffler men began to become popular and more and more businesses across the US started purchasing them International Fiberglass kept on innovating. They first started with the oil giants, Phillips 66, Sinclair and Texaco making versions of muffler men or dinosaurs that could stand that their gas stations and promote their products and business. The idea was a success and the reason there are so many muffler men left today is because most of them were made in mass quantity for oil companies, chiefly Phillips 66.
in 1966 the Uniroyal company also wanted a statue to advertise their tires. So International Fiberglass came up with the idea to do something different and make a female version of the muffler man. She was sculpted by an unknown artist who supposedly had a thing for Jackie Kennedy and sported an orange bikini. I’m not sure how many were made but altogether I have heard of 17 of them so far and 12 of those are still visible today. Needless to say these are one of the less common muffler men and new sightings almost never happen. International Fiberglass also made a skirt and shirt for the giant lady and these could be put on or taken off at the owners will.
The Uniroyal girl was originally made to stand outside gas stations and automotive repair stores that sold Uniroyal products. Like other muffler men owned by large corporations she was used in promotions and was moved from location to location by the sales reps. She stood on the same platform that the rest of the traveling muffler men and big friends did and you can still see one today under the Peoria, IL Uniroyal gal.
In addition to Mt. Vernon and Peoria, “American Giants” claims 10 more to be in existence, shown below.
El Paso, TX
Rocky Mount, NC
Tabea, Alberta, Canada