L.L. Bean celebrates century of mucking about with Bootmobile [w/video]

The L.L.Bean Bootmobile is perhaps the diametric opposite of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, promoting outdoor activity instead of consumption of sodium and saturated-fat-laden sausages. The well-known maker of high quality outdoor goods is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and the Bootmobile has been created as a way to celebrate the product that helped start it all.

After being unveiled to L.L. Bean employees at the Brunswick, Maine facility where the boots are made, the wheeled boot tribute is headed to Times Square to kick off a nationwide anniversary tour. The tour is intended to inspire people to frolic outdoors and L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School guides will be traveling with the Bootmobile to help people learn how to do so.

Most important to auto enthusiasts might be what's underneath it all. The underlying truck is a Ford F-250 Super Duty Diesel, and piled atop that base is a fiberglass body that stands 13 feet tall. Das Boot equates to a Size 747 bit of footwear – that's the perfect size for a 143-foot tall person, but they are too big for the Statue of Liberty. Echo Artz of Florida handled the design and build process, first sculpting the body in foam and then laying the fiberglass and paying obsessive attention to the details along the way. L.L. Bean officials declined to tell us how much the unique build cost them, calling the Bootmobile "priceless."

It's a big way to celebrate a company that started as the result of cold, wet feet after a hunting trip. Check out a neat video and the official press release after the jump.

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L.L.Bean Unveils Larger-than-Life Version of Its Most Iconic Product

The "L.L.Bean Bootmobile" Hits the Road in Celebration of 100 Years in the Outdoors
Freeport, ME, January 17, 2012 – As the launch of its 100th Anniversary celebration draws near, outdoor retailer L.L.Bean today debuted the "L.L.Bean Bootmobile" – a larger-than-life embodiment of its most iconic product. The 13-foot high and 20-foot long vehicle was revealed to employees at the Brunswick, ME manufacturing facility where popular Bean boots are made, stopping at the L.L.Bean flagship store in Freeport before traveling to New York City.

The Bootmobile will appear in Times Square on Wednesday from 1-3 p.m. and will embark on a tour of major cities in the U.S. later this year. Throughout 2012, the Bootmobile will surprise people in various locations throughout the country, inspiring them to get outside and providing an opportunity to try a new outdoor activity with the help of L.L.Bean's expert Outdoor Discovery School guides.

"Our company founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, was an avid outdoorsman who believed that time spent in the outdoors added value to one's life," said Chris McCormick, CEO of L.L.Bean. "In recognition of our 100th, we are looking to share his passion and re-ignite America's love of the outdoors. Today's kickoff is just the beginning of many outdoor adventures to come in our anniversary year."

100 years ago, Leon Leonwood (L.L.) Bean founded his company with a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. Having returned from a hunting trip with cold, wet feet, he had a revolutionary idea for a boot design. This innovative "Bean Boot" changed outdoor footwear forever and began one of the most successful family-run businesses in the country. The success of the company is due in part to L.L.Bean's legendary quality guarantee, which began with L.L.'s first product. Of the first 100 boots he created, 92 were defective and he refunded each customer their money. From there, he went back to the drawing board and re-engineered his boot, which has since stood the test of time and become the company's most popular product.

Today, as always, Bean Boots are manufactured by hand in Maine. In honor of its 100th Anniversary, L.L.Bean will re-introduce a special-edition version of the Maine Hunting Shoe. Designed to closely replicate the very first pair built by L.L., they even feature the red brick-colored bottom found on the original pair.

The newly unveiled Bootmobile is also true in likeness to the original Bean Boot, yet sports a tan rubber sole found in contemporary versions. The Bootmobile is true to scale, 20.5 times larger than a traditional 12" tall boot. A few fun facts about the Bootmobile:

- If the Bootmobile was an actual boot, it would be size 747
- The Bootmobile is 13' tall, 20' 6" long and 7' 6" wide
- The Bootmobile generates 0% CO2 emissions thanks to a diesel engine with urea tank and particulate filter
- If an actual person were to wear the Bootmobile, the person would be 143' tall - 32' taller than the Statue of Liberty
- The Bootmobile laces are made of 12 strand braided mooring rope, capable of towing 106,000 lbs.
- The driver enters and exits through the heel
- A camera provides visibility for the rear and top of the Bootmobile

For more information on L.L.Bean's 100th Anniversary activities, and ways to get involved, visit Photos and video of the Bootmobile are available in the L.L.Bean 100th Anniversary newsroom and Facebook page.

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