If you’re my age, you may have a few fond memories of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile making its way to your hometown or a nearby burg, replete with a seemingly endless supply of Wienermobile plastic whistles—which in the Sixties and Seventies passed for quality tchotchkes. The big fiberglass sausages on wheels were generally found stationed in grocery-store parking lots, where Mayer staff passed out coupons and whistles to a receptive audience. It was a simpler time.
While several Wienermobiles still roam the country stopping at grocery stores and the occasional local funfest, a much larger fleet of promotional vehicles has since usurped the big rolling sausages’ roll (fine, role) as the most crowd-pleasing promotional vehicle. That vehicle would be the Red Bull Wings Team Mini Cooper.
Seems that, to Millennials at least, free cans of cold Red Bull energy drink are cooler than little plastic whistles, and chatting with attractive college-age product reps is preferable to shaking hands with the diminutive Little Oscar. That, and access to a Red Bull Mini is easier to arrange, as there are reportedly several hundred of the modified coupes running around the planet, and just a handful of Wienermobiles on the prowl.
But, what do we know about the Red Bull Mini? (Other than it’s a Mini, of course.) As it turns out, information on the spunky giant-can-toting little cars is surprisingly difficult to come by.
Here’s what we know for sure:
- American-market Wings Team cars were modified by Custom CRS, which is no longer in business
- Several hundred 2006-2008 Minis were modified for Wings Team service, many of which are still in action
- All Wings Team Minis were equipped with the standard 114-horsepower 1.6-liter engine and CVT automatic transmission
- The abbreviated rear hatch was modified with bottom-mounted hinges to fold down like a conventional pickup-truck tailgate
- All Wings Team cars are fitted with an after-market sunroof, presumably because the factory sunroof was located too far back in the roof to allow for necessary modifications
- The two hatch lids located in the vehicle’s “tonneau cover” access the same cooler, which is usually stocked with Red Bull products
- Some Wings Team cars feature a refrigerated cooler, though most later examples are just insulated bins and must be filled with ice
- The giant Red Bull can is, sadly, empty–all product is stored in the cooler
- The Wings Team Mini may look snug, but there is sufficient space behind the seats for Wings Team members to stash their insulated Red Wing backpacks
Used Red Wings Minis occasionally show up for sale on the open market. These cars are stripped of all Red Bull logos and appliques, as well as the giant can
- Near as we can tell, no new Wings Team vehicles have been put into service since the original 2006-2008 batch was commissioned
Judging by this page on Red Bull’s website, the company is still recruiting Wings Team members. Seems that attractive young women are preferred, but who knows–there must be a few guys out there selling the nation’s youth on the benefits of chugging energy drinks.
Note: A sharp-eyed reader observes that the above Red Bull Mini rear image is of a 2014 or later model, indicating that production resumed after the initial 2006-2008 batch. We will update this post with the name of the converter and any production-volume numbers we can dig up.