13 December, 2009

Vintage Sunday: The First Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and Other Mascot Vehicles

Even though I don't much care for Oscar Mayer wieners, I've always thought the Wienermobiles were pretty cool. The first one was was built in 1936 as an open-canopy roadster by the General Body Company of Chicago, and Oscar Mayer (now owned by Kraft Foods) has made sure they've been updated every so often ever since. The newest ones are being built on Mini Cooper frames.

As strange as a gigantic ambulatory hot dog may seem, however, bizarre "mascot vehicles" were already old hat by the time the first Wienermobile hit the street. Soft drink manufacturer Moxie had been building "Moxie Mobiles" since the advent of the automobile. They were usually a carved horse mounted on the chassis of an automobile, with the steering, throttle, and brake controls extended up through the neck of the horse so the driver could reach them. It was, I guess, a dry way of mocking "horseless carriages." This kind of joke is why the rest of the country thinks we don't have a sense of humor in New England.

The Moxie Mobile above is still extant and occasionally appears in parades. It's built on a 1929 LaSalle chassis.



Eating The Road said...

That is so very awesome! The driver really sits atop the horse? Do you have video of this? I love Moxie but I haven't had it in years. I didn't know about the car though.

How about this one for McDonald's :)

Andrew said...

I recently entered a contest to win the Little Debbie Cupcake Car....
That's not as good as the Weinermobile, though.

Dave said...

ETR: Yes, the driver sits on the horse. Here's a short video clip from YouTube showing the Moxie Mobile in action.

Andrew: I entered that contest, too! Smarts are bitchin' little rides (I bought one last summer) but if you get caught in more than a couple inches of snow, your ride is over.