1925 Ford Model T Snow Flyer
Restoration Project by The Guild of Automotive Restorers
The original snowmobile
The "snowmobile" as we now know it, was invented by Virgil D. White, around 1913. A Ford dealer in Ossipee, New Hampshire, White patented the concept and marketed conversion kits for Model T Fords, which he sold for $400. After establishing a warehouse in Minnesota and seeing snowmobile sales diminish as snow plows became more popular, he sold out to Farm Specialty Manufacturing Corporation of New Holstein, Wisconsin.
Farm Specialty was owned by B.P. Arps and Adolf Langenfeld, the latter of whom soon started his own company and marketed a version called the "Snow Flyer," with different cleats that were less prone to packing with snow. In 1930, Farm Specialty combined with Langenfeld's operation to form the Snow Flyer Corporation, and production continued with a Snow Bird kit for Model Ts, Model As and other cars, like Chevrolet, Star, and Whippet. They were available through 1939. The company furnished a Snow Bird for Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expedition in 1931.
Perhaps the archetypal snowmobile is the Model T roadster pickup—utilitarian, simple, and ready for all tasks. Snow Flyer and Snow Bird kits, however, could be added to any style of Model T or Model A. Tudor sedans are occasionally seen, but perhaps the most stylish is this 1925 coupe. An older restoration, it shows a few blemishes and chips, but it is correctly done and very well preserved. The front skids and rear tracks are correctly painted in Snow Flyer's blue, the Model T of course being the usual black. It has been used every year for the last decade at the annual Model T snowmobile meet. What better way to enjoy this year's winter?
Features of the Nicely presented Unusual coupe-bodied Snow Flyer
20 bhp, 176.7 cu. in. four-cylinder inline L-head engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, live rear axle with cantilever semi-elliptic leaf springs, transmission service brake, and two-wheel mechanical drum parking brakes, 122 in. wheelbase