Gearhead News

February 3, 2021
A Ford Dealer Made This Incredible Three-Axle Snowmobile Conversion Kit for Model Ts

While the closest thing I’ll get to a blizzard this year is an ice cream treat from Dairy Queen, I realize that some of you poor, iron-oxide-battling, long-suffering cold people might be dealing with some inclement weather right now. So, why not brave the frozen Starbucks drive-through with this rad 1926 Ford Model T Snowmobile?

Long before Larry Enticer was just gonna send it, seller Legendary Motorcar Company notes that inventor and authorized Ford dealer Virgil T. White decided to make his own snowmobile out of a car he knew quite well: the Ford Model T. White lived in West Ossipee, N.H., where there is plenty of snow in the colder months. He patented the Snowmobile conversion kit for the Model T in 1913. The kit finally went on sale for $400 in winter 1922, or you could buy an entire converted Model T from White for $750. 

YouTube | Legendary Motorcar Company

These kits are exceedingly rare even though they were made by several different builders, as Legendary Motorcar Company explains. White only made around 70 Snowmobile units in West Ossipee by 1923. In 1925, he sold the manufacturing rights to Wisconsin-based Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company. In the latter half of the 1920s, Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company bought the patents of White’s Snowmobile Company and took over operations of the factory in West Ossipee. Between the West Ossipee plant and another one in St. Paul, Minn., only about 3,300 units were made per year. 

The Snowmobile Company shut down in 1929. Sadly, the factory burned down shortly after the shutdown, so you can’t exactly go picking through ruins in hopes you can find some sweet sleds for your daily. Stick to cafeteria trays, friends. 

The kit was mostly purchased by rural mail carriers and doctors who had to brave the cold no matter what it’s like outside, according to Legendary Motorcar Company. The package had everything you’d need to spruce up your basic everyman’s automobile for Mother Nature’s worst, including skis made from metal and wood on the front to help it glide over icy terrain and a Ford truck driveline. The kit also adds an extra axle in the rear, which shares a set of chain tracks with the other rear axle. 

There’s even a rear trunk, which in this case, still looks like a trunk—as in, a bedroom trunk. This model came with the cold weather package, too, which included removable side panels to keep the wind and cold out of the car’s interior.  

If you’ve sent the family Yamaha a bit too hard and want something a tad more classic to replace it, good news! There’s a 1926 Ford Model T Snowmobile for sale right now for $59,900 through the Legendary Motorcar Company. The seller claims it’s had a full mechanical restoration in 2014, and they even included a video of the snowmobile in action. 

This example is a five-passenger Model T Touring model with a 177-cubic-inch inline-four engine. That’s 2.9 liters to those of us who’ve never had an old-school car measured in cubic inches, making it nearly as large as the biggest four-banger that came in the Porsche 944 S2 or 968. Impressive! There are far fewer gears in the Model T, however—just two forward gears and one for reverse. You’ll want to take your sweet time enjoying a cool historic ride like this, anyway. 

You can view more photos of this incredible classic on Legendary Motorcar Company’s website here

Got a tip? Send us a note: tips@thedrive.com