The Wienermobile’s Kitschy Cruise Across Majestic America
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is a household name that’s become an important part of American culture. Most know the Oscar Mayer brand thanks to its familiar colors, jingle, and hard-to-miss vehicle. One hundred years on, the hot-dog-shaped Wienermobile is still cruising America and capturing hearts. Here’s a look at where it began and where it’s headed next on its great American road trip.
How the Wienermobile came to be
The Oscar Mayer phenomenon began with 14-year-old Oscar F. Mayer, a Bavarian immigrant who moved to the United States in 1873. Though he was just a teenager, Mayer began his career in the meat industry as a butcher boy. In 1883, he opened his first Oscar Mayer meat shop in Chicago. According to the Oscar Mayer company, Mayer’s dreams extended beyond a small butcher shop. He bought a small meat-packing plant in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1919. From there, the Oscar Mayer company really began taking off.
The company specialized in producing meat products for Americans and quickly became a staple across the nation. When the Great Depression struck, the Oscar Mayer brand decided it needed to do something to keep the company going and remind Americans of the culture that bound them. In 1936, the founder’s nephew, Carl Mayer, created the company’s first Wienermobile. The 13-foot-long frank became not only the face of the company but also a moving attraction for Americans as it traveled around the country to visit them at parades, hospitals, and grocery stores.
Facts about America’s favorite motorized wiener
Nearly 100 years after the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile debuted, it remains one of America’s biggest cultural symbols. And while the Oscar Mayer hot dog has stayed much the same, the Wienermobile has seen many iterations.
Today’s Wienermobile measures 27 feet long. According to Engine Builder, the newest Oscar Mayer Wienermobile stands 11 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The fiberglass vehicle boasts a converted Chevrolet four-speed chassis and a 300-hp, 6.0-liter V8 Vortec engine.
The interior of the Wienermobile has also evolved tremendously. Today’s vehicle features a hot-dog-shaped dashboard, automatic retractable steps, a removable “bun” roof, a condiment-themed carpet, a smiling front grille, and seating for up to six people. There’s also storage space for up to 11,000 wiener whistles.
And still driving with a purpose of brand awareness and joy, the vehicle’s pilots, AKA Hotdoggers, go through a rigorous application and training process before they can get behind the wheel.
Where is it now?
There’s now a family of Wienermobiles. Oscar Mayer says there are six traveling the country at any given time. They pull up at events, charity functions, and anywhere else a gargantuan motorized wiener is needed. They traverse the United States year-round, giving tours wherever they stop.
Not only can you book a tour or take a ride in one of Oscar Mayer’s famous vehicles, but you can also track their journeys and activities as they crisscross the country. The Wienermobile has its own Twitter and Instagram accounts to help fans follow their whereabouts. And the Oscar Mayer website also allows fans to use location services to find the Wienermobile closest to them and request a visit to their town.