Silver Bullet? 1984 Pop Top Can Car

Back in the 1980s, a marketing company came up with a promotional car that looked like a beer can. It was largely a Volkswagen under the skin and used at a minimum by Budweiser and Stroh’s for a time. Public awareness groups were not amused by the mix of alcohol and automobiles, so the marketing experiment eventually died out. This rolling oddity from 1984 is said to be a survivor and perhaps could have been used by Coors given the Silver Bullet color (but we don’t actually know that). This interesting machine is located in West Fargo, North Dakota and available here on craigslist for $7,500. Thanks, jonny C, for finding this little gem for us!

Florida-based Automotive Innovators was hired by Budweiser in the 1980s to develop a promotional vehicle, one that would be widely used by Stroh’s, as well. The little cars would be powered by Volkswagen engines and transmissions with bodies made of fiberglass. While many might think of these as kit cars, they were not, leaving the factory as Pop Top Can Cars complete with AI’s certificate of origin. One of the cool features of the car is there is room and a set-up for a keg to be placed under the hood. You can open the pop top trap door in the front and pour yourself a cold one. Just like the pop tops on beer and soda cans until they were re-engineered in the 90s to eliminate the throw away part.

As the story goes, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) took exception to the cars making light of drinking and driving. They put on enough pressure to generate sufficient bad publicity and the beer companies decided to cease using the little cars for promotion purposes. The seller has one of these vehicles that hasn’t been on the road for 20 years. Its identification plate says it’s # 919, but we don’t know if the numbering started at zero or where it ended. So, this could be one of who knows how many. There’s a more detailed story on the Pop Top Beer Can Car!

We’re told this Pop Top Can Car from 1984 has been stored inside for some time, so it looks in rather good overall shape. While it hadn’t run in a while, apparently some work has been done to remedy that situation. But it needs a tune-up and brakes (it doesn’t stop on its own) and there are several leaks (not likely beer) to be dealt with. The Keystone wheel are a nice touch, but the tires are old, just barely hold air, and should not be taken on the road. The seller says the tap handle is broken, so that will have to be changed out.

Perhaps this interesting car still has some promotional value, such as with micro-breweries, but then you run the risk of raising the eyebrows of MADD once again, or some other organization. Maybe go the route that Red Bull did with its rolling energy drink car based on a Mini-Cooper. The seller may not be fixed on his asking price as he says he’s open to offers, just not lowballs.

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Comments

  1. midwestjeff

    “The tap handle is broken.” I believe that is the first time I have ever read this sentence in regards to an automobile restoration. BRAVO! As as aside, I think this would be a great promotional vehicle for a regional beer. Stag is my choice. I know most of you haven’t heard of it, besides their slogan is: “Stag It’s Not For Beginners.”

    Like 10
    • Jt Member

      midwestjeff I do remember Stag as it was Dad’s flavor in the 50s & 60s. Stag also reminds me of Griesedieck, which most have no knowledge of. I remember seeing a Griesedieck sign in the 60s on our way to St. Louis. Probably worth a bunch now.

      Like 3
      • midwestjeff

        Yes, in my formative drinking years, Stag beer was to be avoided. After I surpassed middle-age, I finally understood why old men guzzle this beer. Hard to explain. The next time I pop open a can, I will proudly hold it up and give a toast to your father.

        Like 3
  2. Perry C. Dangerfield

    A soft drink company might be a better choice for using this as a promotional vehicle, no stigma with alcohol.

    Like 4
  3. CaRcRaZy DAn

    With a little bit of work anth the right automotive wrap this could be a pepsi or coca cola can car and could dispense the sweet nectar of either in the front.

    Like 4
  4. Karl

    I have sat in this car before it’s owned by a friend of mine and is in very good condition. The owner takes very good care of his stuff and I would say in all confidence that if your looking for a promotional car like this then this would be a very good one!!

    Like 4
  5. Farhvergnugen Member

    Dang but that front end looks like it’s got a toilet seat on it. Perfect all-purpose Beer Rental Station.

    Like 6
  6. Steve Clinton

    I’ll drink to that!

    Like 5
  7. Gerard Frederick

    Prosit! Salud! To your health! I think I´ll have another Beck´s.

    Like 2
  8. Mr.BZ

    Maybe it’s because of my extensive experience but the pop-top strikes me as more of a combination of the old and new style, not the original pull-ring throw-away style. Regardless, THIS is how you throw a kegger!

    Like 3
  9. jeffro

    “I swear Officer, I only had 1 beer”

    Like 7
    • stu

      Officer:
      Wait a minute…. Have you been drinking!!!!!

  10. angliagt angliagt Member

    This car could ACTUALLY drive you to drinking.

    Like 3
  11. Dusty Stalz

    Being told you can’t use a beer can car to advertise your product is like being told you can’t play acoustic guitar because Charles Manson played one.

    Like 3
  12. Chuckster

    I miss Stroh’s , is it still made ?

    Like 2
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Yes, it is in Wisconsin. 10 more and i gotta go. Cool rig and has the continental kit.

      Like 1
  13. Rodney - GSM

    I have an urge to smash this against my forehead and drop to the floor…

    Like 3
  14. Kenneth Carney

    I’d paint it up as a giant Mountain Dew
    can. That way, MADD wouldn’t be on
    your case about driving it in public. I can
    just see the crowds gawking as we cruise it at Old Town on Saturday nights!
    What a blast that would be! Or, do it half ‘n’ half with Pepsi on one side to keep my niece happy too. As for Stag
    and Stroh’s, I think they might be around
    in some form or another. Anyone remember Hamm’s, Falstaff or Schlitz?
    Drank ’em all back in the day as we toured around in the bus playing all those one-night stands so many years ago. Hell, I can’t remember all the places we played except for the Country
    Inn in Gilman, Illinois. That’s where I fell
    off the stage while being T-totally effed
    up. Ran into a guy who saw me do that
    and he said I was really toasted when I
    fell. Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t
    break my fool neck. But that’s the way
    it went in the ’70s.

    Like 2
  15. steviealx Member

    V-8 Juice had one of these as well. No tap up front

    Like 2
  16. William

    People are too touchy. So what if it looks like a beer can, it doesn’t endorse drunk driving, it is just a car to advertise beer. Geewhiz folks, live and let live! Of course, drunk driving is a horrible irresponsible thing, esp. after you have been caught once. (People should be allowed one time to make a huge irresponsible stupid mistake, and if they don’t hurt anyone, be given a huge fine and let loose. Butttttttt, if they get caught a second time, off to the slammer for at least five years. And I don’t mean a country club of a prison, someplace like Sing Sing, where you hold onto your soap real tight in the shower!)

    Like 4
  17. tony t

    “DDAM”! “Strohs” spelled backwards …

  18. Stella

    The prototype was a Mt. Dew can. It’s now painted green and at the Cabbage Patch bar in Samsula, FL. There were 26 made, all in NewSmyrna Beach, Florida. The company was Automotive Innovations.

    Like 1
  19. Scott Lewandowski

    I’ve got one of these in southern Nevada. If any other owners would like to exchange info, please contact me at quadipa@gmail.com.

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