Texaco Big Friend

Atlanta, Illinois

IllinoisRoadside Attraction

In May 2024 as part of the grand opening celebration for the new American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois, a freshly restored, ultra-rare giant was erected out front: an original Texaco Big Friend.

The Texaco Big Friend is an offshoot of the Muffler Man roadside attraction, fiberglass giants who stand anywhere from 14 to 25 feet tall built between 1963 and 1972 by International Fiberglass in Venice, California. With signature stances, these big men stood outside of muffler shops and other businesses to call attention from the road.

The Big Friend is unique among his peers with its signature stance (one arm bet up and the other bent to the front, palm up), impressive size (24-feet tall), and standard issue Texaco uniform (a green branded jumpsuit and service cap).

This roadside attraction was originally created as part of a marketing campaign for Texaco from 1966 to 1967. Their advertisements at the time featured giant station attendants on hand to provide their “Big Friend Service” to customers. They pledged to check the car’s windshield, battery, oil and radiator. This Big Friend pledge is reflected in the muffler man’s stance, where one arm is bent with the palm forward, as is making a promise.

International Fiberglass Company built 300 of these 25-foot-tall statues for the Texaco Oil Company’s Big Friend advertising campaign, with an option to make up to 3,000. Unfortunately, these over-the-top roadside attractions soon became a liability, unstably toppling over and causing accidents. Plus, their sheer size made them difficult to transport. Production was halted and all of the commissioned giants were ordered to be destroyed. Luckily, though rare, at least a few were spared and today you can still find some remnants of the attractions, whether in parts or in full. But out of the original 300, only about 6 are known to exist today.

The Atlanta Texaco Big Friend is 24-feet tall, that’s seven feet taller than the museum building and four feet taller than the Bunyon Giant Muffler Man down the block.

The giant went up late in the day on May 26, 2024 with a crowd watching on who had gathered for the Grand Opening celebration. Joel Baker of American Giants procured the roadside attraction and (Re) Giant (formerly American Giants Restorations) restored it to be displayed. It originally stood in Las Vegas, and, after spending time at a mobile home company before being scrapped and eventually donated to a local museum. The museum contacted American Giants, who kept it safely in storage until the recent restoration.

The Texaco Big Friend is located on the west side of the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois, along the 1926 alignment of historic Route 66. You can stop by to see it any time, whether the museum is open or not. But, if the museum is open, be sure to pop inside to learn more about this and all the other muffler men and fiberglass giants

Last modified: June 5, 2024
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Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois

Texaco Big Friend

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Address:
100 SW Arch St, Atlanta, IL 61723

Hours:
Visible 24/7

Cost:
Free

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Photos of the ​​Texaco Big Friend in Atlanta, Illinois

Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois
Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois
Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois
Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois
Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois
Texaco Big Friend muffler man at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois

Know Before You Go

To make the most of your visit to the ​​Texaco Big Friend in Atlanta, Illinois, here are some things to know before you go.

  • This muffler man is part of the American Giants Museum. While the museum has seasonal, limited hours, the Big Friend is always visible for photo ops.
  • Parking is available on the street or in a community lot across the street.
  • One of several muffler men in Atlanta, Illinois. Also look for the Paul Bunyon and the Snerd Giant, with more coming soon!

Where to Stay Near the ​​Texaco Big Friend

Complete your travel itinerary and get a good night’s rest with a stay at one of these nearby hotels on Illinois Route 66.

The Trail Inn

The Trail Inn is a local motel that features clean rooms, contactless check-in, and even muffler man art in the lobby. The most convenient motel to downtown Atlanta, the location allows you to stay a while in town to take in all the best attractions in the area. Plus, with a gas station right across the street, it’s easy to fuel up your car or stock up on snacks.

Vrooman Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Vrooman Mansion Bed and Breakfast is located off Route 66 in the heart of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. The Vrooman Mansion is a historical 1869 estate, with seven suites to choose from, all with private baths and access to beautiful common areas like the library, parlor, sitting rooms, and manicured grounds.

State House Inn

State House Inn, a landmark hotel in Springfield, Illinois, features a business center, gym, ironing service, and complimentary breakfast with a convenient location directly across the street from the Illinois State Capitol. Book a stay in one of the two themed Presidential Suites: the Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd.

Attractions Near the ​​Texaco Big Friend on Route 66

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