Arts & Culture News

The Wienermobile is Coming! Photos Of Its Evolution As America's Favorite Driving Dog

This Friday you'll crave one. That's just what happens when America's favorite gas-fueled hot dog comes rolling into town. (If the sight of it doesn't make you salivate, the theme music will.) Between 3 and 8 p.m. on Friday, February 24, you can visit a modern Wienermobile at the Irving Arts Center. Taking a peek at its iconic design is completely free, but a hot dog lunch will run you $5. What we often do not consider is how much the Wienermobile has changed over the last 76 years, so let's take a look at how it's evolved through the decades.

1936, A Wienermobile is born. (Shown above) It was Oscar's nephew, Karl G. Mayer, who concocted the game-changing plan to sit inside a giant hotdog and drive it around. Five thousand dollars later, it happened. This original 13-foot model lurched onto the nation's streets and into its hearts while spreading the word about "German Wieners." Gotta love those '30s advertising fonts.

1950's Wienermobile Your daddy's Wienermobile didn't have a hi-fi sound system like this 1950's model. Here's a pic of one of the only remaining hot dog vehicles from the five that were created that year, each built into either a Dodge or Willys Jeep chassis. This vestige of a bygone condiment era sits at The Henry Ford automotive museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

1958 Wienermobile This might be my favorite of all the mobile iterations; it's very much "The Wiener Of The Future." Famous American industrial designer Brooks Stevens tackled this model before going on to redesign '60s Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks and laying the pattern for Harley Davidsons.

1969 Wienermobile This model was built by official Oscar Mayer mechanics! It was then set loose to drive across American lines and visit foreign countries, a first for the dog on wheels.

In the late '90s and 2000's we saw slight changes in Wiener driving: The hot dog grew and shrank, a horn was added to play the jingle and the 2004 model offered Firebird Tail Lights, but much of the over-all wienerness appearance remained the same, until 2008.

2008 Mini Cooper Wienermobile More of a cocktail variety, this Wienermobile has a 15-foot dog and lots of headroom, but the preparation area must be lacking. Still, it's cute and you know you'd drive it.

You still look great, Wienermobile! I'll see you on Friday!

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Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin