The Joys of Driving A 27-Foot Hotdog

We drove the Wienermobile, and it was awesome.

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Relish-ing its place in Americana. | Bradley Hasemeyer

For over 125 years, Oscar Mayer has been synonymous with pool parties, picnics, camping and childhood in general. The company was started in the late 1800s in Chicago by German immigrant brothers Oscar and Gottfried Mayer, who quickly recognized the opportunities for innovation within the meat industry. In the sea of general meat vendors who simply wrapped their products in butcher paper, the Mayer brothers branded their dogs with what would become their signature “yellow band”; they were also the first brand to offer the joy that is packaged sliced bacon.

But perhaps their greatest branding contribution was custom-built to cruise the streets of Chicago in 1936: the Wienermobile. Essentially a massive hot dog on wheels, the vehicle remains relatively unchanged in shape and function today — and it still elicits smiles wherever it goes. But its underpinnings and dimensions have grown significantly. At 11 feet tall, 27 feet long and just over 14,000 pounds, the current version is the most intimidating hot dog in existence despite its ridiculously high center of gravity and obvious vulnerability to crosswinds. A 6.0-liter V8 powers this land yacht; its shell is custom-made fiberglass; inside, there’s a ketchup-and-mustard-styled carpet, hot dog-shaped dashboard and blue sky ceiling.

Turns out, the only thing cooler than seeing the Wienermobile rolling down your street is being the one driving it. We recently got to meet two hotdoggers, “Spicy Salami Spencer” and “Jess Cooking”, who were in the process of spreading the tube steak love, handing out wiener whistles and racking up nearly 40,000 road tripping miles behind the wheel of this bun-believable vehicle.

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