A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has just become available and we’re shook. Not one but two, TWO Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles have come up for sale and we want them both. Who hasn’t wanted to drive a Wienermobile? You remember them when you were a child and the pleasure it brought to think you could drive a hot dog. Just to see one was a joy. To drive one a dream, but to actually own one is like finding sunken treasure; a nice thought but it will never happen to me. But here it is. You (or I) can actually purchase a real, iconic, super rare Wienermobile.
For those living on Mars or otherwise not hip to the hippest of vehicles, the Wienermobile has been a long-running promotional tool for the Oscar Mayer Company. It has been around in various forms for almost 100 years.
Karl Mayer came up with the Wienermobile idea in 1936
The real Oscar Mayer’s nephew Karl came up with the promotion idea. Oscar bit. For $5,000 General Body Company in Chicago made up the 13-foot long vehicle in 1936. A one-off chassis was created to mate to the body.
It was only used for a couple of years before gas rationing and then the WWII war effort sidelined the Wienermobile. After the war, Oscar Mayer saw an even greater need for a rolling hot dog promotion. In 1952 Oscar Mayer had the Gerstenslager Company in Ohio make five Wienermobiles using new Dodge truck chassis. Throughout the 1950s the creations became icons of the company, Americana, and promotional savvy.
Each Wienermobile had a “Little Oscar” or “Hotdogger” driving
Each Wienermobile was driven by a “Little Oscar” or “Hotdogger” visiting stores, schools, orphanages, hospitals, and parades spreading the hot dog love. Little plastic Wienerwhistles were handed out to appreciative children. Sound systems were added with music to attract hot dog lovers around the country.
In 1958 industrial designer Brooks Stevens in Milwaukee created the “Wiener Of The Future” Weinermobile. He was just down the road from Oscar Mayer’s headquarters in Madison. These 27-foot long vehicles started the hot dog-in-a-bun Wienermobile concept. A futuristic glass dome was integrated as a windshield. The smart designer opined, “There’s nothing more aerodynamic than a wiener.” Brilliant, simply brilliant.
The Wienermobile has evolved to keep up with culture and fashion trends
This version lasted into the late-1960s when inhouse fabricators built a newer Wienermobile on a Chevy motorhome chassis. T-Bird taillights and a more conventional windshield were some of the features. One of these Wienermobiles traveled to Europe for the first time. Hot dogs are enjoyed by everyone afterall.
Designer Brooks Stevens designed the bubble-nose Wienermobile in 1950s
Plastic Products in Milwaukee were tasked in the mid-1970s to make fiberglass replicas of the 1969 Wienermobiles as a cheap way to increase the herd. By 1988 a specially modified Wienermobile was constructed, again, by Brooks Stevens to accommodate 10 hot dog ambassadors. These were recent college grads enlisted to spread the hot dog love over the summer break.
Oscar Meyer went to industrial designer Harry Bradley in the early 1990s to come up with a more contemporary Wienermobile. Also at 27-feet, it weighed over 10,000 lbs. Carlin Manufacturing in Fresno, California, handled the body creation mounted to a GMC van chassis. Mainly due to the excessive weight reliability problems plagued this series of Wienermobile.
Adjustments have been performed on more recent Wienermobiles to reduce weight and size
In 2000 Oscar Mayer sought a fix for the problems it was having so it contacted Craftsmen Industries in St. Charles, Missouri, to slice and dice the Wienermobile to reduce its height, width, and weight. They look very similar to the 1995 versions. These mods lowered the truck’s weight which helped reliability. They all now utilized GMC W-series chassis.
A smaller, lighter Wienermobile based on a Mini was created in 2008
A smaller, lighter Wienermobile based on a Mini Cooper was created by Prototype Source in Santa Barbara, California. It is believed only one was ever created.
The two Wienermobiles for sale belonged to a company paid to operate them in Canada. It went bankrupt resulting in the sale. The Oscar Mayer logos will be removed upon purchase. At $12,000 each this just seems like possibly the bargain of the century.