The desire to make a car look like something else has been around almost as long as cars themselves. Although we may not always understand what compels people to do it, we can still enjoy the results. Like the Mufflermobile.
When I came across this picture on Thatwillbuffout, I knew it looked cool as well as vaguely familiar. My life to this point has been nothing but an obsession with cars, of all shapes, sizes and level of weirdness. It was when I was deep in one of my weird car phases that I had seen this muffler-shaped car before. I ran to my bookshelf and picked up my copy of Weird Cars by John Gunnell (a book I've read probably 100 times).
Although we couldn't find the one on top of the post, another "Mufflermobile" was made by Joe, Scott, and Steve Minghelli — the family owners of two Meineke franchises in Southern New Jersey. At some point they started creating art out of the surplus of used mufflers you'll find yourself accumulating by owning a couple Meinekes.
After they got tired of making muffler men, muffler dogs and muffler waffle irons, they decided to get serious. The Mufflermobile you see below is the result.
Underneath the Mufflermobile is actually a small truck. I've no idea what truck it is but staring at the windshield frame for a couple minutes I'm gonna guess it's a Datsun. The Minghellis began creating the Mufflermobile by stripping the unknown (still thinking it's a Datsun) truck down to its frame. To build the muffler body a frame was bent from exhaust tubing and welded to the remains of the truck. Over the frame sixteen gauge steel panels were used to create the distinctive muffler shape.
A little searching located the muffler-mimicking car still sitting alongside the Minghelli family's Meineke in Berlin, NJ on Google Earth. Next time I am in New Jersey, I've got a Mufflermobile to visit.