As a child, Zippo inventor George G. Blaisdell was fond of productmobiles like the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and Life Savers Pep-O-Mint car. Blaisdell founded the Zippo Manufacturing Company in the town of Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1932, naming the company “Zippo” as a more modern sounding alternative to the word zipper. During WWII the U.S. Government commissioned Zippo’s entire production to be distributed to GIs, which had the benefit of introducing the company and its windproof lighters to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Americans, thereby making Zippo a household name. It was this new found popularity that propelled Blaisdell in 1947 to convert a Chrysler Saratoga into the Zippomobile.
After its introduction in the late 1940s, the Zippo Car went far and wide on a promotional tour visiting every state in the Union. Eventually business at Zippo was so good — and management so preoccupied — that the Zippo Car fell out of favor, was abandoned and subsequently lost. In 1982 the company launched a search to find the car for the company’s 50th anniversary. Zippo even went so far as running advertisements in Pittsburgh (its last known location) to try to track down the lost Zippomobile. But the search was all for naught. While the original car could not be found and restored, in 1998 Zippo did reproduce the 1947 Zippo Car which can still be found at events today. You can read the full history of the 1947 Zippo Car here.