The Late “Super Snow Bird” – A “V-8 Ford” Snowmobile

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  • An attractive 1938 Ford DeLuxe with “Super Snow Bird” equipment

The last versions of B.P. Arps and Adolf Langenfeld’s snowmobiles were the ultimate refinement of the type. A considerable power increase over the Model “A” and the earlier V-8 powered cars made them all the more useful. The pages below describe a planetary gear reduction system at the wheel that gave a a final drive ratio of 8.22 to 1. In combination with the stronger V-8, this probably made for some real stump pulling performance.

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  • The gear-reduction unit- A 1934 sedan in Alaska – Details of the “belts”

In studying photos of the Snow Birds and Super Snow Birds with standard Ford bodies, it appears that there might have been a clearance issue between the door bottoms and the tops of the tracks (note the top photo). Many period photos of some of these conversions do in fact show shortened doors. If any of our readers have first hand experience with one of these, we would like to hear if this really was the case. It was not a problem on Virgil White’s original Model “T” design, of course, because the tracks were mounted well aft of the doors.

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  • Rear-view shows the gear-reduction units and excellent ground clearance

To wrap up the Snow Bird saga, we are left with a minor mystery. Research we did for this series of posts indicated 1939 as the last year of Super Snow Bird production. This includes the official company history of Amerequip, successor to the Arps Corporation, who we think would probably know about such things, but below you see a catalog for these machines dated 1940.

It is entirely possible that no 1940 models were ever manufactured and that the catalog is as far as the new model ever got. So, once again, we will ask you, our knowledgeable readers, if you have any information about this. You can see our earlier post about the Snow Birds here. Thanks again to Terry Harper for sharing the brochure pages.

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5 Responses to The Late “Super Snow Bird” – A “V-8 Ford” Snowmobile

  1. Don Shilling says:

    This setup looks difficult to get into. The tracks seems to block the doors. Am I missing something?

  2. Koke Twigg-Smith says:

    The doors were cut on the model A rigs, which used 1928-1929 wheels an tires for the idler axles. The smaller idler wheels came in about 1936, specifically to avoid cutting the doors and to make entry/exit easier. My 1929 Tudor bodied mid thirties Arps rig was ten inches cut off the bottom of the doors! The bottom piece is fixed, just the top half swings open on the hinges. Note also that the axles with the planetary gear reduction were model A axles only, used right up to the war on the later cars. The lugged drive tire was never made in any other size then the 21″, which fits the 1930-1931 Ford wheels only. The Woodie shown clearly shows the model a drive wheel and the late thirties front wheel of the V- 8 era.

  3. Koke Twigg-Smith says:

    By the way, the article I wrote for the Restorer on Snowmobiles appeared THIRTY-FIVE years ago in that esteemed magazine!

  4. Gaétan J. Gagnon says:

    I have 2 photos from a western canadian museum of a car with this kit and the lugged drive tires. The photos shows that there is clearance for the doors.

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