For decades, a spunky frank has roamed the United States on a quest to make people of all ages break out into big grins. This 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels has traveled along America’s highways, streets, backroads, and even made a few stops in Hollywood for film cameos. Wherever this vehicle goes, a line of mustard follows — or is that really just a yellow traffic line? Why, it's none other than the instantly recognizable Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!
Today, we’re going on a frankfurter joyride for a look at how this four-wheeled sausage became a ‘character’ in its own right for Oscar Mayer. Hop on for a glimpse at this car’s interior, a look at the Wienermobile over the decades, and learn how you can become a “Hotdogger” driver. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a tasty ride!
The Early Years
Although it might surprise you to hear it, the Wienermobile actually made its debut in 1936. Carl Mayer, nephew of the company’s founder, is credited with creating the car with the idea of a hot dog on wheels that would transport the company spokesperson.
General Body Company of Chicago designed the first Wienermobile, which looked a bit different in its initial creation than what we’re used to seeing today. Measuring at 13-feet in length, this Wienermobile had open cockpits in the center and rear of the vehicle. Not quite ready to hit the open plain, sightings of the Wienermobile were limited to sightings on Chicago’s streets, promoting Oscar Mayer’s German-style Wieners.
Above, you’ll find the Wienermobile circa 1952. Longer, plumper, and with visible windows at the front of the car, this Wienermobile currently resides at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. (Do you really think any Wienermobile would be cooped up in a garage somewhere?)
During the 1990s, the Wienermobile began leaving its grill stamp behind on pop culture. The vehicle made TV appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Love Connection, and the Today Show.
On the silver screen, you could spot the “it car” making cameos in 1991’s Another You with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, and 1992’s Ladybugs starring Rodney Dangerfield.
Before we proceed to where the Wienermobile has been in the last two decades, let’s ketchup on what’s actually happening inside one of these rides.
The Ins and Outs of the Wienermobile
It’s time to explore this hot diggity dog from inside and out. We’ll start with the outside, which can actually be explained — how else? — in literal frank measurements.
The Wienermobile is actually a converted Chevrolet that measures at 24 hot dogs high (11 feet), 60 hot dogs long (27 feet), 18 hot dogs wide (8 feet in width), and 140,500 hot dogs worth of weight, translating to about 14,050 pounds.
Step inside and you’ll find the following features here to “meat and greet you” include:
- A hot dog-shaped dashboard
- Hotdogger (more on this in a minute!) voice-activated GPS
- A ketchup walkway with a condiment-splattered carpet
- Blue Sky ceiling art accompanied by a removable sunroof
- A front grill
- Six mustard- and ketchup-colored seats
- And an official Wiener Jingle horn!
Where’s the Wienermobile Today?
Good question! There are actually six different Wienermobile vehicles on the road right now that crisscross the nation all year long. Download the Wienermobile app from Oscar Mayer to see when the next one will be in your neck of the woods. And it never hurts to follow along via social media either — the Wienermobile is on Twitter @wienermobile and on Instagram @oscarmayer.
Remember when I mentioned the “hotdoggers” earlier? These are the few, the proud, the Wienermobile drivers that pilot these majestic automobiles throughout the country. If you think you’ve got what it takes to serve up some sizzle and happiness to thousands on a cross-country adventure, check out the site’s Hotdogger application PDF and apply for a job you’ll surely relish.
Wienermobile aside, we also want to show a little love to the “Wienie-Bago” before we go. In 2016, Oscar Mayer customized this RV to roll into San Francisco just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. If you were heading to the big game, but couldn’t find a hotel to stay in for the weekend, the lodging-friendly Wienie-Bago could have been yours — at a charitable auction with proceeds that benefited Stop Hunger Now. Frankly, we love everything about this and hope to see the Wienie-Bago make a comeback soon.