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):
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.
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:
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:
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:
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