Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wienermobile / Miles of Smiles...

Immigrant Oscar Mayer first began working in a Detroit meat market in the late 1800s and later opened his own market with his brother in Chicago, but it wasn't until 1936 that Oscar's nephew, Carl, came up with the idea of a automobile shaped like a hot dog on a bun to promote the companies products. The Wienermobile was born.

1936 Wienermobile custom built by General Body Company, Chicago.

The first 13 foot body was built by the General Body Company in Chicago, then in 1950 the Gerstenslager Company in Ohio created new models on a Dodge chassis, followed by Brooks Stevens on a Willys Jeep Chassis. In later years it went to a fiberglass/Styrofoam body on a motor home chassis, then a van chassis with now a GMC chassis. Headlights from various car models along with tail lites have ranged from Ford Thunderbird taillights, Pontiac Trans-Am taillights, to Pontiac Firebird taillights.

By 1995 the Wienermobile grew in size to 27 feet long and 11 feet high and now sports voice activated GPS navigational system, an audio center with a wireless microphone and a horn that plays the Wiener Jingle in 21 different genres from Cajun to Rap to the Bossa Nova. It's now piloted by the "Hotdoggers" with its mission not too far from the early model driven by "Little Oscar" who would visit stores, schools, orphanages, children's hospitals, and participate in parades handing out the must-have toy of the 1950s, a Wiener Whistle. The tune, "I'd Love to Be an Oscar Mayer Wiener," hit the airwaves in 1963, and is now the oldest continuously used commercial jingle in the history of American advertising...Now where did I put that old whistle?

Today there are 6 full size wieners and 2 mini wieners on the road, no doubt giving every kid that sees one..."Miles of Smiles."

1940 Wienermobile custom built chassis with enclosed driver. 

1952 Dodge based Wienermobile.

One of the most famous advertising vehicles ever.

Mid-1950's Phoenix, Arizona.

1958 Jeep chassis designed by Brook Stevens.

1969 Wienermobile Chevrolet chassis.

1988 Chevrolet van chassis the second one designed by Brooks Stevens.

2000 Wienermobile GMC chassis.

A 1969 view of America.
Track a "Wiener" close to you here.

Related post: The Zippomobile

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1 comment:

  1. Jon Guilmet Facebooked: The Wienermobile here in San Diego was driven by a guy named "little Vince" with an Italian last name ( he was about 4' tall), he lived off of ElCajon Blvd, real nice guy. When he wasn't driving the Wienermobile, he drove a real nice black customized '54 Merc and hung out at Menlo Oscars drive in.