Oscar Mayer Weinermobile



The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has evolved from Carl Mayer’s original 1936 vehicle[1] to the vehicles seen on the road today. Although fuel rationing kept the Wienermobile off the road during World War II, in the 1950s Oscar Mayer and the Gerstenslager Company created several new vehicles using a Dodge chassis or a Willys Jeep chassis. One of these models is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. These Wienermobiles were piloted by “Little Oscar” (portrayed by George Molchan) who would visit stores, schools, orphanages, and children’s hospitals and participate in parades and festivals.

In 1969, new Wienermobiles were built on a Chevrolet motor home chassis and featured Ford Thunderbird taillights. The 1969 vehicle was the first Wienermobile to travel outside the United States. In 1976 Plastic Products, Inc., built a fiberglass and styrofoam model, again on a Chevrolet motor home chassis.

In 1988, Oscar Mayer launched its Hotdogger program, where recent college graduates were hired to drive the Wienermobile through various parts of the nation and abroad. Using a converted Chevrolet van chassis, Stevens Automotive Corporation and noted industrial designer Brooks Stevens built a fleet of six Wienermobiles for the new team of Hotdoggers.

With the 1995 version, the Wienermobile grew in size to 27 feet (8.2 m) long and 11 feet (3.4 m) high.[2] The 2004 version of the Wienermobile includes a voice-activated GPS navigation device, an audio center with a wireless microphone, a horn that plays the Wiener Jingle in 21 different genres from Cajun to Rap to Bossa Nova, according to American Eats, and sports fourth generation Pontiac Firebird taillights.

Following mechanical problems with the Isuzu Elf, Oscar Mayer decided to adopt a larger chassis in order to accommodate an increase in size of the signature wiener running through the middle. While the Wienermobile was not as long as the 1995 version, it was considerably wider and taller. Craftsmen Industries went through numerous overhauls of the truck including a flipped axle and a leveling kit. This version held a record for numerous suspension problems, most leading to the chassis not being able to hold the large weight of the Oscar Mayer Wiener.

In 2004, Oscar Mayer announced a contest whereby customers could win the right to use the Wienermobile for a day. Within a month, the contest had generated over 15,000 entries.[citation needed]

In June 2017 the company introduced several new hot-dog-themed vehicles, including the WienerCycle, WeinerRover and WienerDrone.[3]

Year Manufacturer/Builder Chassis Engine
1936 General Body Company – Chicago, Illinois Purpose-built chassis N/A
1952 Gerstenslager – Wooster, Ohio Dodge chassis N/A
1958 Brooks Stevens Willys Jeep chassis N/A
1969 Oscar Mayer – Madison, Wisconsin Chevrolet chassis with Ford Thunderbird taillights V6 engine
1975 Plastics Products – Milwaukee, Wisconsin fibreglass/styrofoam replica of 1969 V6 engine
1988 Stevens Automotive Corporation – Milwaukee, Wisconsin Chevrolet van chassis with Ford Thunderbirdtaillights V6 engine
1995 Harry Bentley Bradley for Carlin Manufacturing – Fresno, California Purpose-built chassis with Pontiac Grand Amheadlights, Pontiac Trans Am taillights N/A
2000 Craftsmen Industries – St. Charles, Missouri GMC W-series chassis 5700 Vortec V8
2001 Craftsmen IndustriesSan Antonio, Texas RAM 1500-series chassis, flipped axle 5.2L Magnum V8
2004 Prototype Source – Santa Barbara, California GMC W-series chassis with Pontiac Firebirdtaillights 6.0L 300–6000 Vortec V8
2008 (“mini” version) Prototype Source – Santa Barbara, California MINI Cooper S Hardtop 1.6L Turbocharged I-4

Source: Oscar Mayer[4]

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