Gold-painted Midas mufflers have long rejuvenated the aging exhaust systems of millions of American autos. Even so, there is something new: after 20 years of steady but unspectacular growth, the sales and profits of Midas-International Corp. have suddenly taken off on a heady flight. Last December Midas, which franchises independent muffler installers, opened in Phoenix its 900th muffler shop. The company has also been diversifying to become a force in the burgeoning market for recreational vehicles—campers, trailers and motor homes. Last year Midas reported $225 million in sales, a 39% increase, to its corporate parent, IC Industries, Inc., the...

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