In my way of thinking, Kaiser and Oscar Mayer missed a sure thing by failing to mass produce the Wienermobile for consumption by the world's consumate sucker - the American consumer. Heck, I would have bought one! It could have launched the recreational vehicle craze a decade early, I reckon.
Ad copy: "Dog tired of yanking that travel trailer by the tongue? Bite onto the all new 1958 Jeep Wienermobile!"
Of course, the prototypes were empty inside, at least based upon my 1959 observation of one (don't know if it was the Jeep or not). Well, it did have basic controls, a seat, a spare tire and a half-eaten tuna sandwich. Anyway, it looks like that, in the consumer model, you could fit a bed and a small kitchenette inside - hopefully a head, also.
I judge that they would have sold like hotcakes. The basic consumer consciousness was already there. We kids all had Wiener Whistles and new the verse to a raucus version of "I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Wiener. On the downside, they may have been a little too phallic for the 1950's, but I'm sure that they could have called back Brooks Stevens to make the Wiener appear a little less frisky.
A VERY SHORT HISTORY
Wienermobiles had been around for quite awhile when in 1958 the Oscar Mayer folks convinced Brooks Stevens, industrial designer extrordinaire, to create a futuristic Wienermobile that would be more in keeping with 707's and Sputniks than those old, fuddy-duddy Dodge-based Wieners that had hit the streets way back in the dark ages of the early '50's. At least, that's what I'm guessing based upon what he came up with.
Stevens was quite a name in the design world, having created, amongst others, the Milwaukee Road's Olympian Hiawatha (a personal favorite of mine) back in the late 1940's. This train ran from Chicago to Tacoma, Washington on a railroad that could be best described as a rolling tribute to bailing wire technology.
But, his Olympian was beautifully executed, don't you think? I'm sure that those folks in Tacoma were suitably impressed, at least when they could actually SEE the train through the pulp mill and copper refinery smoke (Whoa there Tacomaites, I LIVED in Tacoma in the early fifties: P.U.). Perhaps the Oscar Mayer Company had this in mind when they hired him, because in truth they must know that their hot dogs are not very good. If Stevens could make the Milwaukee Road look good, well...
Coincidentally, and fortunately for us Jeep nuts, Stevens' Wienermobile contract came soon after he conjured up the Jeep FC 150. It nust have been fresh in his mind, because historical account (again, courtesy of Kraft) indicates that the Wienermobile 1958 edition was constructed of fibreglass upon a Jeep platform. What kind of Jeep, Kraft is not saying, but I will maintain here that it was built upon FC running gear. Hey, PROVE otherwise!
It was pretty cool, don't you think? Too bad that it was one of a kind (see box at right). I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that it was too slow to tour a wide area, and based upon my own experience with Willys products, prone towards breakdown. Oh well.
That's about all I know, and you've got to admit that the old college education really paid off - I sure padded the essay, eh? For an update of the modern Wienermobile's trials and tribulations, click on the link at the bottom far right of this page.
Kraft / Oscar Mayer...
You will note that in these pages I have alluded to my distaste for Oscar Meyer hot dogs. I'm afraid that I'm a Hebrew National fan, even though they don't have an advertising vehicle, let alone one as cute as yours.
Please note, however, that I grew up on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinners. I love your Aged Swiss Cheese. These are quality products, but the hot dogs, well, even their color is a little unappealing to me. Sorry, E.O.