Why there’s a 20-foot-tall man on Hewitt Avenue

He’s that tall, handsome man standing on the roof.

Slicked back hair. Blue jeans. Bodacious biceps. Chiseled face. Cocky grin.

The 20-foot fiberglass humanoid has been turning heads on Hewitt Avenue for more than 30 years, wearing the same outfit.


What’s up with this guy?

Why are his hands outstretched? And where’d he get those muscles?


He’s a Muffler Man.

He’s part of a brotherhood of men cut from the same fiberglass mold. According to Roadside America, what started as a Paul Bunyan character promoting a restaurant in the 1960s led to a California company making a line of Muffler Men holding mufflers to reel in customers.

He was a hit. After all, who could resist those alluring eyes and ripped bod?

It led to copycat statues as well as variants such as dinosaurs and busty women.

Then, neon signage took over. The manly men were repurposed as soldiers, pirates, cowboys and astronauts, their powerful arms holding everything from rockets and hot dogs to guitars and golf clubs.

Go to Google images of “muffler man” to see the titans with red pants, green jeans, camouflage, suspenders, mustaches, gapped teeth and shirtless. Make sure to check out the one revamped as a Howdy Doody Man.

Want one of your own? There are swag sites selling Muffler Men figurines, bobble-heads and T-shirts that say, “I’m a Muffler Man, Not a Girlie Man.”

Our local Muffler Man is a 12th Man during Seahawks season, with a blue flag in his strong hands.

How’d he end up on Hewitt Avenue?

All Boyce Cardell knows is that shortly after he bought the one-story building at 1110 Hewitt Ave. three decades ago, he leased space to a muffler shop that brought along the Muffler Man.

There wasn’t room on the sidewalk for the mammoth dude.

“He wanted to put the man on top of the building. I didn’t really want it there to mess up the roof,” Cardell said, “but I put it up there.”

He wired up the giant so as not to tumble.

A few months later, the owner of the muffler shop went bankrupt.

“When he left, he said, ‘He’s yours,’” Cardell said. “I like him up there now.”

Like any man, he needs a little TLC now and then.

“He gets moss on him. I get up there and wash him with a gunny sack and water,” Cardell said. “I need to put something on his head to keep the seagulls from landing on him. I need to have him painted.”

He’s still wearing the same paint as when he moved to the Hewitt ‘hood.

For the past 25 years or so, the building has been occupied by SSA Marine, a stevedoring office that hires longshoreman to load and unload ships. The tall man makes it an easy place to find.

Most people pop by out of curiosity.

Sheryl Miller has worked the front desk at SSA Marine for 24 years, so she sees the tall man’s fan club in action outside the window.

“If I had a dollar for every time I saw somebody stop to take a picture I could retire,” she said.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Is he a Muffler Man?

How to tell a real Muffler Man from an imposter:

  • Knock on a fiberglass leg to see if it’s hollow.
  • The left palm faces down, right palm faces up with an open grasp.
  • His blocky shoes measure about 4 feet.
  • Eyes may appear to stare blankly into the middle distance or may be painted to leer down at visitors.
  • Crack a beer bottle over this guy’s noggin and he won’t be fazed.

Source: www.roadsideamerica.com

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Life

A giant Bigfoot creation made by Terry Carrigan, 60, at his home-based Skywater Studios on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in Monroe, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The 1,500-pound Sasquatch: Bigfoot comes to life in woods near Monroe

A possibly larger-than-life sculpture, created by Terry Carrigan of Skywater Studios, will be featured at this weekend’s “Oddmall” expo.

Lewis the cat weaves his way through a row of participants during Kitten Yoga at the Everett Animal Shelter on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Downward cat? At kitten yoga in Everett, it’s all paw-sitive vibes

It wasn’t a stretch for furry felines to distract participants. Some cats left with new families — including a reporter.

The Ford Maverick has seating for five passengers. Its cargo bed is 4.5 feet long. (Photo provided by Ford)
2024 Ford Maverick compact pickup undergoes a switch

The previous standard engine is now optional. The previous optional engine is now standard.

Lily Gladstone poses at the premiere of the Hulu miniseries "Under the Bridge" at the DGA Theatre, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mountlake Terrace’s Lily Gladstone plays cop in Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’

The true-crime drama started streaming Wednesday. It’s Gladstone’s first part since her star turn in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

2024 Genesis G70 Sport Prestige RWD (Photo provided by Genesis)
Genesis Unveils 2024 G70 Sports Prestige Sedan

Combining power, luxury, and innovation, Genesis raises the bar yet again with enhanced performance and cutting-edge features in its latest model.

wisteria flower in Japan
Give your garden a whole new dimension with climbing plants

From clematis and jasmine to wisteria and honeysuckle, let any of these vine varieties creep into your heart – and garden.

New Jersey company acquires Lynnwood Land Rover dealership

Land Rover Seattle, now Land Rover Lynnwood, has been purchased by Holman, a 100-year-old company.

Great Plant Pick: Dark Beauty Epimedium

What: New foliage on epimedium grandiflorum Dark Beauty, also known as Fairy… Continue reading

While not an Alberto, Diego or Bruno, this table is in a ‘Giacometti style’

Works by the Giacometti brothers are both valuable and influential. Other artists’ work is often said to be in their style.

2024 Honda Civic Type R (Photo provided by Honda)
2024 Honda Civic Type R

Developed in Japan, and track-tested around the world, the Civic R Type delivers 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, making it Honda’s most powerful production vehicle in the U.S.

Soul sisters Helsinki and Tallinn are pearls of the Baltic

While they have their own stories to tell, these cities share a common heritage of Swedish and Russian influences.

My trip to Iraq was canceled, so why can’t I get my $7,590 back?

When Diane Gottlieb’s tour of Iraq is canceled, the tour operator offers her a voucher for a future trip. But she wants a refund.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.