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Here Comes the Spammobile!

Reprinted from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader: Fast-Acting Long-Lasting. You've heard of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile; maybe you've even seen it in person. Here are a few more vehicles to watch for while Uncle John finalizes his design for the Pot Rod.

THE ZIPPO CAR

Zippo Car (Image Credit: The Studio) Looks Like: A 1940s-era black sedan, with the passenger compartment ripped out and replaced by two giant Zippo lighters, with their tops flipped open and neon flames sticking out. Details: Zippo founder George G. Blaisdell had the first Zippo Car built onto a Chrysler Saratoga New Yorker in 1947. It cost him $25,000, which was a lot of money back then. But Blaisdell didn't have much to show for it - the car was so heavy that the tires blew out regularly. Rebuilding it onto a Ford truck chassis would have solved the problem, but the redesign made the car several inches taller than government regulations allowed. The estimate for fixing that problem was $40,000, so Blaisdell abandoned the project. Apparently he never even picked it back up from the Ford dealership that was hired to do the work. The dealership eventually went out of business; no one knows what happened to the car, but it probably ended up in the wrecking yard. A replica of the original car was built in 1996 (hopefully with better tires).

THE ECKRICH FUNHOUSE

Eckrich Fun House (Image Credit: Roadside Gallery) Looks Like: Eckrich makes sausages, and it's not easy being a sausage company in search of a promotional vehicle. Why? If you go the obvious, a sausage shape, you'll just remind people of the competition - the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Having missed the weiner boat, Eckrich settled for a cartoon-looking house. Details: They call it the Funhouse (it has windows with flower boxes filled with daisies that squirt water at unsuspecting passersby). There's nothing particularly sausagey at all about it except maybe that most people eat their sausages at home. But hey - Eckrich had to come with something.

MEOW MIX MOBILE

Meow Mix Mobile (Image Credit: St. Charles Humane Society) Looks Like: A van converted into a crouching cat that looks like it's about to pounce. The cat comes complete with motorized tongue that licks "whisker to whisker" 20 times a minute. Details: A lot of promotional vehicles raise money for charity; Clawde the Red Lobster (an ad-mobile for Red Lobster restaurant chain) supports the Special Olympics, for example. But the Mew Mix Mobile has a charity all its own: Meows on Wheels. &quotAs the Meow Mix Mobile travels around the country, it will be delivering Meow Mix brand cat food to people who have difficulty purchasing it themselves,&quot the company's Web site says. &quotIf you know any cat owners who are homebound, elderly or disabled, or for any reason have difficulty getting to the store to purchase food for their cats, we want to hear from you.&quot

THE SPAMMOBILE

Spammobile (Image Credit: uberculture [Flickr]) Looks Like: A blue bus with big Spam decals on each side that are supposed to make it look like a big can of Spam. What it really looks like is a city bus covered in Spam ads. Details: The "Spambassadors" who drive the Spammobile crisscross the United States handing out free sample-sized Spamburgers (patties of Spam Lite, Less Sodium Spam, Smoked-Flavored Spam, Oven Roaster Turkey Spam, and regular Spam on tiny hamburger buns) to the public. Mmmmmm!

OTHER VEHICLES

Pep-O-Mint Car, 1918 (Image Credit: George W. Green Special Use Vehicles) The Lifesavers Pep-O-Mint Car: One of the coolest vehicles of all, the 1918 Pep-O-Mint car looked just like a roll of Lifesavers on four of those old-fashioned wooden spoked wheels. The driver sat right in the middle of the roll; the O in Pep-O-Mint served as the left and right-side windows. Hershey's Kissmobile. The Hershey's Kissmobile: Looks like three big foil-wrapped Kisses (Regular, Almond, and Hugs) sitting on a giant Hershey's bar. The driver sits in the regular Hershey's Kiss (it has a curvy, kiss-shaped windshield); the other two kisses hold free samples. Mr. Peanut Hot Rod (Image Credit: Prototype Source) The Mr. Peanut Hot Rod: A motor home remade into a peanut-shaped race car, complete with a giant engine block sticking out of the "hood" and a giant Mr. Peanut sitting in the faux driver's seat. Why a hot rod? Mr Peanut is "the Official Snack of NASCAR."
The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Fast-Acting Long Lasting Bathroom Reader. Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!

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I worked for the company that ran some of these vehicles. Your description of the Hershey's Kissmobile mentions that the vehicle's Kisses rest on a Hershey Bar. That is incorrect; the bed is NOT meant to represent a Hershey Bar, which is a different Hershey brand. The Hershey's Kissmobile represents ONLY Kisses, and no other company brands.
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Check out zippostories.com. It has real stories from Zippo owners that have a special connection or memory with their Zippo lighter. You can even submit your own story. I did!
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