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Ice and Snow Vehicles: Retro Showcase

Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

Historic Overview of the Most Unusual Snow and Ice Vehicles Ever Made

At this time of year, people in some parts of the world struggle with the task of driving on snow and ice for a few months. We thought it might be an opportune time to take a look at specialized winter vehicles here at Dark Roasted Blend (also check out our older article Unique Soviet Snowmobiles).

(left image: cover of the Mechanix Illustrated magazine)

Surely one the most bizarre snow vehicles, powered by a propeller and steered by two pairs of adjustable skis, is the Tatra Aerosledge V 855, from what is now the Czech Republic. Designed and build for the Wehrmacht during World War II, with only one prototype in existence, it could duplicate the movement of a skier's feet when negotiating through curves (watch a video of it here):

(images via 1, 2)

Two of the most interesting snow vehicle conversions from the 1910s and 1920s were the Snow Freighter and the Eskimobile:

(images via)

Here is a 1931 half-track Ford Model A - more info

(image via)

Almost as soon as cars were invented, it seems like someone was adapting them for ice and snow by equipping the vehicles with tracks and skis. Here is 1923 Ford Model T White Garage Snowmobile and an ad for a Ford Model T snowmobile.

(images via)

Here’s a Semi-Tracked Ford Model A Sedan Snow Vehicle from 1929:

(images via 1, 2)

This is a 1936 BMW Schneekrad or snowmobile:

(images via)

Tracked motorcycles were designed a few times in the first half of the twentieth century, often on behalf of the army. The French military had this prototype Mercier built in 1937.

(image via)

The Kettenkraftrad type HK 101 was a tracked motorcycle developed in summer 1939, as a fast vehicle capable of moving small loads in mountainous terrain. The vehicle was used to lay cables, tow heavy guns and was frequently used to combat the snow and mud of the Eastern Front:

(images via Philip Ulzheimer)

(images via 1, 2)

How about these vintage models? -

(images via 1, 2)

(image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tayog/2873532159/)

This is a 1959 Classic Tucker Kitten (left). The one on the right dates from 1949:

(images credit: 1, 2)

The Bandvagn BV202 is an articulated military vehicle built by Volvo in Sweden, beginning in the early sixties.

(image via)

Also from Sweden, the Aktiv Fischer Snow Trac ST4 was built from 1959 to 1981. This one dates from 1971, with a VW engine and transmission. With aluminum bodies, they were light enough to be transported by helicopters. During the Cold War, NATO employed them on the border between Norway and the Soviet Union:

(images via)

Ridge Runner of Minneapolis offered vehicles priced at around $2000 back in the late sixties:

(images credit: David's Snowmobile Page)

This is a Canadian Passe Par Tout, loosely translated as “go over anything”. Known as a PPT, it could carry three people and was first introduced in the late 1960s:

(images via)

This is a 1965 Bolens Hus-ski snowmobile, made in Montreal (left). On the right is a Bombardier 10-Passenger Snow Cat from 1967:

(images credit: Louise St. Laurent, 2)

This is the 1965 Polaris Sno-Traveler:

(image credit: Joe Ross)

This Tucker Sno-Cat Model 743 was used on an expedition across Antarctica, a glowing testament to its reliability in harsh conditions, I’d say:

(image credit: Andrew Barclay)

Here’s a full cab Thiokol 1200C Spryte from 1974 (left) and 1963 Thiokol 1200B Spryte on the right:

(images credit: Snowcat Photo Gallery)

Bombardier’s Snow Bus was made for many years, but this one dates from the 1970s;

(image credit: David W. Dellinger)

This is one of the first vehicles that were used to transport visitors viewing the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta:

(image credit: Vangelis F.)

These Brewster buses were also in service for a few years until replaced by the modern vehicles currently in use at the Icefield:

(image credit: Peter McLaughlin)

(images credit: Martin Sloover, Kevin Lo)

At least if you’re injured while skiing or otherwise out on the snow and ice, it’s nice to know that you can still rely on prompt medical attention from this snow ambulance:

(image credit: Hemmings Motor News)

The Chariot was a fully operational vehicle, used in the 1960s TV show Lost in Space. Presumably it was expected to still be in service in the future as envisaged back then, transporting the crew all over some remote alien planet:

(image via)

And finally, this Tucker snow vehicle has been equipped with protective armour and could be just the thing to help you make your way through busy morning traffic:

(image via)




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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Aerosledge was hardly unique; the Russian military made extensive use of aerosani from around 1910, and they were used for nonmilitary applications like mail delivery, as well. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosani

Blogger SlimShady said...

Just a small side note on the loose translation of "passe par tout". If you recall, that was the name of Phineas Fogg's sidekick in "Around the World in 80 Days", from Jules Verne. A more accurate translation would be "Master Key", as in the one used by many locksmiths to open several doors using just one key. It refers to the resourceful nature of the character.

Blogger Paul.S said...

Try this for size.

Blogger Heiki Pellja said...

I wonder why the Kettenkraftrad type HK 101 even had a front wheel. I doubt it's good for steering that thing. If i had to guess. I'd say it would be more helpful when stopping (so it wouldnt be so prone to roll)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for a picture of the Land-Rover track conversions, and I found this...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the Antartic Mini Minor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember riding the "Tundra Buggy" in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. It was a school bus jacked up high enough that polar bears couldn't attack passengers through the windows.


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