This Ford Model T Snowmobile Is So Ridiculous It's Actually Cool

hace 3 meses - 15 febrero 2024, autoevolution
This Ford Model T Snowmobile Is So Ridiculous It's Actually Cool
Introduced in 1908, the Ford Model T revolutionized the automobile industry. Not only was it the first affordable and mass-produced car, it was also a rugged and highly versatile vehicle.

And it has a 19-year production run with more than 15 million units sold to brag about as proof.

The Model T became the vehicle of choice for many fire departments and hospitals back in the day. But aftermarket conversions didn't stop there. Henry's creation also served as a railcar and even as a tractor. Yup, Americans used the Model T on their fields long before the iconic Fordson tractor went into production in 1917.

The Model T you see here also looks like a tractor but wasn't designed to plow fields. This contraption was created to conquer snow-covered roads. It has two rear axles with caterpillar tracks and skis up front. It's a somewhat unexpected conversion, but it's a decidedly cool take on the iconic automobile.

This one was spotted at the National Snowmobile Show in Old Forge, New York, and it appears to be a fully restored rig. And while it may look like a vehicle that was put together in a backyard, it's a rig manufactured with Ford's approval. Yup, these conversion kits were available in dealerships back in the 1920s.

Designed at a time when snowplows weren't common, and winter car travel was very difficult, the Model T snowmobile conversion kit was created by Virgil White, an inventor and Ford dealer in West Ossipee, New Hampshire. He patented the kit in 1913 and put it on the market in 1922. Henry Ford liked the idea and allowed White to sell the conversion kit through Ford dealers.

The kit cost more than the Model T itself and enabled the vehicle to travel through 30 inches (0.76 meters) of snow at an average speed of 18 mph (29 kph). With the skis removed and the front wheels in place, the dual-axle Model T could also handle muddy terrain and sand. The kit became popular with doctors, mail carriers, and grocers.

White sold snowmobile kits until 1925, when he sold the rights to his invention to Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company. The latter increased production to more than 3,000 units per year and offered conversion kits through 1929, two years after Model T production ended, to make way for the more modern Ford Model A.

Come 2024, these snowmobile conversions are quite rare. There's no specific info on how many of them survived to this day, but they rarely pop up on public display. And needless to say, they're not exactly famous outside the Model T Snowmobile Club.

Based on its hood design, this snowmobile is based on the fourth-generation Model T, produced from 1923 to 1925. Unfortunately, the footage doesn't show the car driving, but this snow-ready vehicle is still a sight to behold. 

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