Texaco Big Friend

Atlanta, Illinois

IllinoisMuffler ManRoadside AttractionRoute 66
Texaco Big Friend at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois

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Texaco Big Friend


100 SW Arch St, Atlanta, IL 61723


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Finding a really good friend is rare. Finding a BIG friend? Even rarer. The Texaco Big Friend in Atlanta, Illinois is a newer addition to Route 66, bringing this rare type of roadside attraction to the most iconic road in America.

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

In May 2024 as part of the grand opening celebration for the new American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois a newly 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.

But the Big Friend is unique 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).

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

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. (Watch some vintage Texaco commercials featuring a human big friend here and here.)

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.

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

The giant went up late in the day on May 26, 2024 with a crown 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.

While in town be sure to also check out the Snerd Muffler Man and the Bunyon Giant!

Photos of the Texaco Big Friend in Atlanta, Illinois

I visited the American Giants Museum during their Grand Opening Celebration on May 26, 2024. Late in the day, the Big Friend arrived on a Trailer for photos and then was hoisted into place and secured. There are photos of the muffler man from that day, including photos of him arriving, on the trailer, and being erected.

Fate of the Big Friends Display at the American Giants Museum in Atlanta, Illinois

More Texaco Big Friends

Since this fiberglass giant was ordered destroyed, not many remain today. But you can still find a few of them on the road, in various states. Some other big friends out there include the Harvey the Rabbit in Aloha, Oregon (a repurposed big friend with a rabbit head); the Heyburn Elementary School Logger Giant in St. Maries, Idaho; the Legends Motorcycles Service Station Man in Springville, Utah; a private Big Friend in Morrilton, Arkansas; and a Texaco Big Friend Head in Denton, Texas.

Plan Your Illinois Road Trip

Planning an Illinois road trip to see the Texaco Big Friend and the American Giants Museum? Plan your road trip with these road trip resources, road trip planning articles, and Route 66 road trip planners.

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Roadside Attractions Near the Texaco Big Friend

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