Famous "Food" Cars

March 12, 2013

Lent is a time for repentance, moderation, spiritual discipline and swearing off everything from candy to caffeine, malted adult beverages to meat. So how do you combine this theme with classic cars? Read on.

Life Saver Pep-O-Mint Car

Pep-O-Mint Car

One of the earliest examples of a “product vehicle” is the 1918 Pep-O-Mint car. According to James Hale, author of The Wonderful Wacky World of Marketing Mobiles, the giant roll of Pep-O-Mint Life Savers, built on a 1918 Dodge truck chassis with wood-spoke wheels, required its driver to lean out of the center window to see forward.

Chock Full o' Nuts Truck

Chock full o'Nuts Truck

Founded by William Black, Chock full o’Nuts opened its first store in 1926. When the Depression hit and out-of-work New Yorkers could no longer afford the luxury of shelled nuts, Black converted his shop to a counter-service coffee shop, selling a cup of coffee and a sandwich for a nickel. He also went mobile. Designed to look like a cabin with a screened-in porch, the first Chock full o’Nuts truck appeared sometime in the late 1930s.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile


The most iconic food car on the planet, the original Oscar Mayer Wienermobile hit the streets in 1936. Ten different versions of the vehicle have been produced over the decades. The ones best remembered by any child of the 1950s were manufactured by the Gerstenslager Company of Ohio, which created five new vehicles for Oscar Mayer using Dodge and Willys Jeep chassis.

The Peanutmobile


Planters “peanutmobiles” have been around since the 1920s and have undergone a number of style changes over the years. There’s also a hot-rod version that debuted in 1999, while the most recent evolution features a biodiesel- and solar-powered engine. Through it all, the dashing Mr. Peanut has remained front and center. Founded in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1906, Planters Peanut Company was without a mascot until 1916 when the company held a contest. A 14-year-old boy named Antonio Gentile won with his a drawing of “a peanut man” he named Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe. The company paid him $5.

Stroh’s Pop Top Can Car

Pop Top Can Car

Knowing that alcohol and driving don’t mix, a convertible car (see “open container”) made to look like a beer can seems glaringly inappropriate. But back in the early 1980s, the Stroh Brewery Company loved the idea, so they commissioned Ron Wharton of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, to design and build a brief run of the two-seat fiberglass vehicles. Built on VW chassis, every “pop top can car” came equipped with space for a 15-gallon keg and all the tools needed to run it. According to the online Hemmings Daily, Wharton’s company, Automotive Technologies, built 1,200 of these promotional cars to special order until sober heads at M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) pointed out that a beer-can-shaped car might be sending the wrong message.



  1. Gerry near Boston

    Big fan of purpose built vehicles- I drive a 65 Checker a-11 and I did get to drive the weinermobile

  2. Jim iowa

    How could you forget the Spa mobile? And they give away delicious Spam sandwiches.

  3. Phil Strain Northglenn, Co.

    When I was a boy a couple buy the name of Mr. and Mrs. Robby lived in the house behind my parents house, in Broomall, Pa. There home had 5 Ft. ceilings. They were both little people that had met on the set of "The Wizard of Oz". Mr. Robby was Oscar Myer and drove the wienermoble back and forth to work every day.It had a small recordind studio in the rear. He would give all the kidds hot dog whistles when ever we lost or broke ours. Mrs.Robby made the best cup cakes I have ever had and ther was always plenty of candy at holloween at the Robby home. Their son was 6 Ft. 2 Inchs tall. Thanks for bringing back some grate memorys. Phil

  4. Weston Vancouver


  5. Richie S. Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Moxi cola horse on a car frame, driven from the horse. I have a sign from the late 20's or early 30's, appears to be on a Rolls!

  6. daryl judd spokane, wa

    In the 60's my dad was part owner in a sewing machine company. They had a 60's GMC 1 ton truck converted to look like a huge sewing machine to promote the company & hired a guy to do nothing but drive it around. It was about 7 feet tall and very cool. I always wondered what happened to it.

  7. Dena Middlesex,NC

    I just bought a Hot Wheels version of Weinermobile at the Raleigh Car show to go in my collection. I love it!! It brings back so many memories.

  8. Joe Mecleary Mariposa ca.

    I worked with mrs Robbie at wt grant in broomall in 64. They were good people.

  9. Carl Pratt South Lyon, Mi

    One of the Moxie Cola cars resides in Northville, Mi.

  10. Jim fraulo Woodmont ,ct.

    Great fun relics .... When I was a young man I worked at a large nat 'l supermarket ,each summer the Oscar Myers truck would come , for a visit & sell hot dogs it was always a fun time,they would let us sit in truck, that was in late sixties,last year,I was down south & a Oscar Myers truck pass├ęd by me. JIM FRAULO,WOODMONT ,CT.

  11. Hank Feinberg Indiana

    What about the Moxie soda cars of the '20's built on old Rolls-Royce chassis? There was one on a Buick chassis at the Antique Truck Club national meet in South Bend a few years ago.

  12. Jim Larson Waterford Mi

    About the 'Stroh pop-top can car'. I work for a Michigan beer warehouse and have converted the Stroh can car to now a 'LaBatt' car! The car is driven [mostly] in our local Woodward Dream Cruise!! It still has the VW drivetrain. Does get a lot of attention.

  13. Donald West Lafayette, Ohio

    When I was a youngster, late 50's/ early 60's, I remember my dad taking us to see a Ford station wagon with a man welded inside the car for a year! It was being used to advertise a brand of "House Trailers", now known as mobile homes!! It was painted yellow and the bars across all the windows were chrome. I saw this in Zanesville, Ohio. I can still remember trying to figure out how he got baths and used the rest room!! Memories!!!

  14. Fernando Micheli Laguna Beach, CA

    First time I ever saw the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile was between 1963 - 1965. Richard Kiel, best known as the 7'-2" giant, Jaws in James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, portrayed "Big Frank" on "The Kooky Kastle" show featuring Sir Sedely in the San Francisco Bay Area. "Big Frank" came out of the Weinermobile at the local Safeway grocery store to greet the kids and sign autographs. As a 12 year old, I was thrilled. There was also a Dwarf that day called "Little Oscar".

  15. Michael Princeton, WV

    I was driving on I95 going North through South Carolina this past Sunday, and passed the weinermobile, I stopped at a gas station in St George and a few minutes later it also pulled in, as you can imagine it drew a crowd, The young lady driving it told me it was built on a Chevy one ton.

  16. Bill North of Detroit

    As a kid in Detroit I saw the Weinermobile and instantly wanted a hot dog. My hunger was not satisfied by the plastic whistle, I made a vow to satisfy hot dog cravings everywhere I could. Today my passion is running "Franks Etcetera" a hot dog catering business run from a 1965 VW Pickup. Check us out at www.thistruckcooks.com It's not shaped like a hot dog but you'll never leave hungry.

  17. Tim Pawl West Bloomfield, MI

    They built 1,200 of the "Can cars" , I wonder how many still exist... I remember seeing one at a car show 20 years ago.

  18. Danial Oregon

    Ok...I want one of them Strohs cars. I would drive right in front of MADD HQ on purpose.

  19. Dennis Tomlinson Owosso, Michigan

    Vlasic Pickle company had a huge green pickle vehicle that looked really cool in the 1960's or 1970's

  20. Car Collector Chronicles http://www.scribd.com/D_Yaros

    In the 1950's Little Oscar was from my home town of Gary, IN. His brother was one of my teachers. Consequently the wiener mobile and wiener whistles were more than familiar items to me in my youth.

  21. gene eidson kennesaw, ga

    the "cabbage patch", a local bar that is a very popular destination for 'BIKE WEEK' has a beer can car. i saw it this last march while i was at bike week. it is always displayed in a very conspicous place and is driven around. the cabbage patch is in New Smyrna Beach florida

  22. Butch Furtado Hayward, Ca.

    I remember that Fernando Micheli. He appeared at the Safeway on Tennyson Rd. In Hayward. I was there.