Last week, we ran the above photo in the Post, asking if anyone knew who owned the vehicle in the above photo. Within just a few hours of the newspaper hitting the stands, we found out that Dean and Kristie Wall, of Sand Lake, own this unique 1929 Ford Model A Pickup with an Arps Corporation’s Super Snowbird Snowmobile attachment.
“I purchased the model A pick up snowmobile in Marquette about two years ago, after looking for a model A snowmobile for about eight years,” explained Dean. “It looked pretty much like it does now but I totally dismantled it and rebuilt the engine, rear end, and the track system. I also added a set of original gear reduction to the rear axle. It will go through 2 to 2 1/2 feet of snow at a top speed of about 25 to 30 mph but will get stuck if you’re not careful.”
He explained that the snowmobile attachments were popular in the 20s and 30s before they plowed the roads and they packed the snow instead. “When mailmen, doctors and other delivery people had to get through, they would utilize the snowmobile attachment. Adm. Byrd took them to the South Pole on his second expedition,” he added.
The original snow attachment was created by Virgil White, a Ford dealer in Ossippee, New Hampshire, who built his first snow attachment in 1913, for the Model T. He put it on the market in 1922, and sold the attachments through Ford dealers. Snow attachments were also made for other makes of vehicles, such as the Model A. “The Super Snowbird Snowmobile attachment for the Model A has an extra idler wheel due to the extra weight of the A’s,” explained Dean. “Arps made these until the early 40’s for the V-8 powered vehicles.”
While they have taken the snowmobile to a couple of shows, Dean said they enjoy driving it the most, including to a camp they have in the Upper Peninsula. But that’s not the only vintage vehicle they own. “We have a 1930 original model AA dump truck; a 1929 fully restored AA stake bed truck; a 1929 model A pick up and a 1930 Model A 4-door sedan that we drive to church every Sunday that the roads are dry enough, regardless of how cold,” he said.
Thank you, Dean, for telling us about this vintage snowmobile! And thanks to Oliver Johnson, for sending us the photo!