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
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
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.
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
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.