What Happened to the Wienermobile and Other Weird Car Mascots?
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You’ve likely seen car wraps and decals that promote brand awareness and recognition. Even CarFax, one of the leading vehicle history providers in the nation, proudly brands its employees’ cars with its mascot.
While not widely available for purchase, some collectors probably wouldn’t mind these promotional classic cars in their collection.
Some companies take it one step further, designing vehicles with unusual shapes to promote their products. We don’t just mean placing an ant or an ice cream on the car’s roof–how about a car shaped like a hot dog?
Here are some of the most iconic vehicle mascots ever made, according to Autotrader.
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in all its glory.
Arguably the most famous of these, the Wienermobile has been used to promote Oscar Mayer’s delicious hot dogs since the late ‘30s. According to Engine Builder Magazine, the original Wienermobile was a custom-built car from the General Body Company, but later models rode on Jeep and Dodge platforms. A lighter fiberglass model was built in 1976, this time with a Chevy chassis.
A longer version of the Wienermobile was released in 1995, complete with functional windows. A tiny version of the Wienermobile also exists, built on a MINI Cooper S hardtop. Six of these cars are still in circulation today, making appearances at parades and contests.
The NUTmobile actually debuted one year earlier than the Wienermobile in 1935. AZCentral reports that since then, three groups of three “Peanutters” are chosen regularly to pilot one NUTmobile to various marketing events. The current NUTmobile is based on the 2014 Isuzu W4 work truck, with a hearty V8 supplied by GM, according to Car And Driver.
The NUTmobile measures 26 feet long and nearly nine feet wide. The shell is custom-built from fiberglass, which houses pool noodles to recreate those distinct peanutty ridges. You can find the NUTmobile’s touring schedule on the company’s website, and even request that it visit your area.
Cadbury Creme Egg Car
Most egg-shaped cars are so last century, but not the Cadbury Creme egg car–it was built in the 2000s. The car is based on Bedford/Vauxhall Rascal vans, with headlights sourced from the Citroen 2CV.
Five of these cars make their rounds at promotional events, but tragically, you can only see them in the UK. Travelers and locals can also see these eggs on display at Cadbury World in Bournville, England.
Although it undoubtedly advertises Hershey’s delicious chocolate to us, this vehicle was initially created in 1997 for the Children’s Miracle Network. It continues to make its rounds at charity events across the country, with 250,000 miles to its name.
It’s about as long as the NUTmobile and measures 12 feet tall at the top of the wrappers. Only one Kissmobile exists, on display at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum when not in use.
The Zippo Car proves that not every vehicle has to be shaped like food to attract customers. George G. Blaisdell, a fellow enthusiast of mascot cars, designed a 1947 Chrysler Saratoga with a pop-up lighter as the cab.
However, Zippo explained that the weight of the lighter was so heavy that the car would frequently blow its tires in promotional parades.
It was sent for repairs, but the estimated costs stalled the project and the car mysteriously disappeared in the ‘70s before the repairs were ever completed.
The Zippo Car would make its return in 1996 as a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker. However, its modifications were ten times more expensive than the original’s, to the tune of $250,000.
While you may not find one as famous as these cars, some promotional vehicles make their way to online sales and auctions.
You might be able to buy one if you’re lucky, so make sure you have the insurance to drive it, or any other car, for that matter. Sign up with Jerry for great coverage on vehicles of all shapes and sizes.