Although winter might still be a few weeks away on the calendar, we just got our first measurable snow of the season here at The Old Motor. Motorcycle enthusiasts in the northern latitudes have long sought ways to enjoy their machines during the winter months and while J. Armand Bombardier may lay claim to the first commercially successful small snowmobile, the company’s 1959 Ski-doo was preceded by a long line of ingenious tinkerers who often used contemporary motorcycles as the basis for their designs. The beautifully crafted Indian-based motorsled above is just one such example.
The very different machine seen above was built by Norwegian-born Sigurd Olsen “Sig” Haugdahl. Haugdahl migrated to the United States in 1910 settling in Albert Lea, Minnesota and started his racing career on a 70 mile per hour Indian powered ice-cycle in 1912. Soon after, he switched to racing motorcycles but is perhaps best remembered today for his Wisconsin Special in which he hit 180 miles per hour on the sands of Daytona Beach in 1922. You can also find more early motorsleds here on The Old Motor. Our top photo courtesy of the Indian Museum of Australia. Photo below from the Sigurd William Haugdahl Collection courtesy of Bob Lawrence.