Weird Car Of The Day: Oscar-Mayer Wienermobile now ‘Frankmobile’

Originally designed by the General Body Company of Chicago with open cockpits exclusively for use in Chicago, the Wienermobile underwent a transformation in the 1940s when it was updated to include a glass enclosure and expanded its reach to include the East and Midwest regions.

First Wienermobile created in 1936 | Photo Courtesy of Oscar Mayer

After World War II, fuel rationing ended in 1952, and Oscar Mayer not only introduced the infamous Wiener Whistles but also collaborated with Gerstenslagerin Wooster, OH to design five new Wienermobiles on a Dodge chassis complete with a sunroof and sound system. The subsequent designs, including the one built on a Willys Jeep chassis, began to take on the familiar hotdog shape with buns. The later models, built on a Chevy motor home chassis, included V6 engines and featured franktastic features such as Ford T-Bird taillights.

The 1958 version. | Photo Courtesy of Oscar Mayer

In 1977, the Wienermobiles were retired, but only 11 years later, due to the enthusiastic response of devoted fans, a new fleet of six 23-foot-long fiberglass Wienermobiles was launched, equipped with stereo systems playing over 20 versions of the Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle.

Photo Courtesy of Oscar Mayer

The 1995 Wienermobiles, designed by California automotive designer Harry Bradley, were even bigger at an impressive 11 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 27 feet long, setting the standard for future Wienermobiles.

Wienermobile interior | Photo Courtesy of Mariah Tyler

The current Wienermobiles were mostly built in 2004 at Prototype Source in California, featuring custom-made grilled fiberglass dogs sitting atop lightly toasted fiberglass buns on a converted GM Chevrolet four-speed/W4 series chassis with a Vortec V8, 6.0L, 300 hp engine. These vehicles can accommodate up to six passengers and are equipped with a hot dog-shaped dashboard, a Gull-wing door with automatic retractable steps, a removable bunroof, an exterior back-up camera, condiment-splattered carpet, blue sky ceiling art, a smiling front grill, a control panel, and storage space for 11,000 Wiener Whistles.

Photo Courtesy of Mariah Tyler

In 2012, two new models were introduced, equipped with state-of-the-art solar panels to power the Wienermobile’s beloved jingle. Currently, only six Wienermobiles roam the roads of America, so encountering one is a rare and cherished experience.