The intriguing tale of the Volkswagen Pea Car: Unraveling a unique automotive oddity

Pea Car (

Pea Car (

A Look into the unconventional origins and design of the Pea Car

American car culture has a peculiar fascination with food-themed vehicles, from the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile to the more recent Red Bull Mini. One such curiosity that’s captured the imagination of car enthusiasts and casual observers is the Volkswagen Pea Car.

However, the most significant misconception about this peculiar vehicle is that it’s not actually a Volkswagen. In fact, the only Volkswagen parts used are the headlights borrowed from the original VW Beetle. Everything else about this eye-catching car is a product of creative ingenuity.

The Pea Car, while often mistaken for a concept car, was originally conceived as a promotional vehicle for Birds Eye, the American frozen food brand. The idea was born from the imaginative minds of Matt Waller and Dave Monk, working at the advertising agency BBH London. Collaborating with Muriel MacCallum and Sofia Costa from Birds Eye’s creative team, the Pea Car quickly transformed from concept to reality.

Built to deliver a message about healthy eating, the Pea Car weighed approximately 1,653 pounds and resembled a giant pea. In a captivating 2005 marketing campaign, the car illustrated how modern processed foods can strip natural goodness and nutrients from our meals.

The car was intentionally designed to shed parts during the commercial’s production, with twelve easily detachable body panels, including doors, hubcaps, and exhaust pipes. While Volkswagen headlights were integrated, the Pea Car also featured components from other automakers like Lancia. Custom-made parts, a modified off-road go-kart chassis, and a Honda engine made this car a true one-of-a-kind creation.

Despite its unconventional construction, the Pea Car effectively delivered its message about frozen food’s ability to preserve nutrients, and it now resides as a display piece at Unilever Ice Cream and Frozen Foods Co in Walton on Thames, leaving an indelible mark on automotive history.