Mr. Bendo Muffler Man in Chicago, Illinois (Blue Ridge, Georgia)

Muffler men are tall fiberglass sculptures created by International Fiberglass in Venice, California, that were once popular advertising icons on the roads of America. There were many types of this roadside attraction produced — classic, Bunyan, cowboy, Indian — and they are found holding everything from hot dogs to American Flags. Another type is the bent-rod holding Mr. Bendo muffler man, like this one that once lived in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Bendo is named so because that is the name that is printed on his shirt pocket. Unlike most of his counterparts with a classic right hand up, left hand down stature, this guy has his right hand down, extended outwards, and left arm down by his side.

The Mr. Bendo Muffler Man in Chicago, Illinois once stood tall above Ced’s Auto Body on Grand and Pulaski, I was fortunate enough to visit the Illinois roadside attraction on a Chicagoland road trip.

Mr. Bendo Muffler Man in Chicago, Illinois
Mr. Bendo Muffler Man in Chicago, Illinois
Mr. Bendo Muffler Man in Chicago, Illinois

Unfortunately, this Chicago muffler man is no longer standing in Chicago. On June 18, 2010, a harsh storm rolled through the city and knocked over everything from the waist up. His torso fell and his head went missing. The owners eventually found the fiberglass body remnants and put them in storage, leaving the lone panted legs standing for a few years.

Alas, Ced’s Mufflers eventually went out of business in 2014. But there was good news to come from it!

In 2015, the Chicago muffler man was bought by Free Time Hobbies, a hobby store in Blue Ridge, Georgia. He was reassembled, restored, transported, and transformed into Mr. Hobby. He was given a new pair of white pants, a red collared shirt, and the muffler he previously held was replaced with a P-51 Model Airplane. Watch this fascinating video by American Giants that details the muffler man’s history, the search for his missing head, and the roadside attraction’s journey from Chicago to Georgia.

But that is not where this muffler man’s story ends. In 2019 Free Time Hobbies sold the building, and the giant man, to a dental office, Smile Blue Ridge. Now dubbed “Dr. Blue Ridge,” he was repainted to wear all blue (reminiscent of dental scrubs) and his toy airplane was replaced with a giant toothbrush.

So if you’ve ever in Georgia, check him out there! And if you’ve ever in South Dakota, you can find another Mr. Bendo there!

Mr. Bendo Muffler Man / Mr. Hobby / Dr. Blue Ridge

Current Location: Smile Blue Ridge, 47 Dunbarton Farm Rd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Former Location: Ced’s Auto Service, 3940 W Grand Ave., Chicago, IL
Cost: Free to see.
Hours: Always visible.
Photos: November 25, 2007

Pin this muffler man roadside attraction:

Mr. Bendo muffler man in Chicago, Illinois was a giant fiberglass man on top of Ced's Auto Body. This roadside attraction is now found in Georgia. Muffler men are weird roadside attractions that always make fun stops and photography opportunities on road trips. Add see a muffler man to your road trip bucket list!
#RoadsideAttraction #RoadsideAttractions #WeirdRoadsideAttractions #VintageRoadsideAttractions #RoadTripStops #RoadTrip #USARoadsideAttractions #AmericanRoadsideAttractions #USA
Mr. Bendo muffler man in Chicago, Illinois was a giant fiberglass man on top of Ced’s Auto Body. This roadside attraction is now found in Georgia. Muffler men are weird roadside attractions that always make fun stops and photography opportunities on road trips. Add see a muffler man to your road trip bucket list!

VAL BROMANN

Founder & Head Road Tripper

Val is the founder and head road tripper at Silly America. Having grown up near Berwyn's famed car kabob, The Spindle, and a restaurant with a cow on its roof, her fascination with roadside attractions started early. Today, Val has visited hundreds roadside attractions across the United States and is constantly on the lookout for the next BIG thing!