Hit The Spot For A Dime!


When a regular customer of Al’s finally located the 1956 Pepsi vending machine he had been diligently seeking, the challenge became real in turning this rare and sought after vintage keepsake into its once shining glory again.

Cold, carbonated beverages were considered a special “treat” when first introduced to consumers in the late 1800s.  The first Pepsi-Cola was invented in the 1890s and was introduced under the name “Brad’s Drink”.  In 1898, the name was changed to Pepsi-Cola and followed by the original trademark registration in 1903.

Drinking a Pepsi-Cola was a rare and exciting event and a hard-earned nickel was what could get you one.  Things got tough during the Great Depression and Pepsi had to get creative at marketing their fizzy drink.  They gained popularity following the introduction in 1936 of a 12-ounce bottle whereas the norm was a 6 ounce bottle – for the same price.  They beat out the competition with Coca-Cola going this route with the following jingle:

“Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / Twelve full ounces, that's a lot / Twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you”.

Pepsi-Cola Hits The Spot™ became the most popular slogan throughout the growth of media from radio, to on-screen movies to television.  

In the 1950s, the years following the end of World War II, life became all about malt shops, dancing, music and having fun. Pepsi-Cola vending machines were in all the favorite hang-out spots and the price DOUBLED to a whole 10 cents!  This was affordable at the time and the carbonated beverage companies could not keep up with the demand.

This 1956 Pepsi vending machine is a VMC 81 model – one of the rarest.  The workmanship and detail that went into it was a declaration of the affluence of the company at that time and the pride of the men and women who worked at building them.  

Al has a special fondness for anything 1950s and he took the project on, knowing the challenges but excited to bring it back to life. Many, many hours and days went by as he painstakingly worked through each component with a fine tooth comb, repairing and in some cases, replacing the unsalvageable.  The end result was worth the wait.  The VMC 81 Pepsi machine is a working unit, restored inside and out and has an estimated end value of $10,000.

The owner is ecstatic and he has added it to his replica garage collection where it dispenses cold Pepsi to anyone who wants to part with a dime.  What a great discovery….what a great piece of memorabilia, restored to perfection.

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