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Old 07-14-2019, 08:52 PM   #1
Johns30
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Default Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

I went to the Iola, WI car show/swap meet (large event if you aren't familiar with it) on Saturday. Someone brought a Model A fitted with a "Snow Bird" conversion kit installed. Very interesting, I had never heard of this before!
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

That's really neat and I bet they went great. How do you get in the truck, through the window?
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Do an Internet Search "Utube Model A Snowmobile" Lots of videos of them actually running in teh snow, and there is actually a club/organization.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

This was an accessory during the time in snowy areas. It is in the "Unauthorized Accessories" book.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Each year here in in Cow Hampshire they have a "rally." Largely populated by Model T snowbirds, a couple of Model A's come for the fun too.

http://www.modeltfordsnowmobile.com/LCmainEvents.htm

IIRC one of these meets was written up in the Restorer Magazine. (Nov-Dec 2018 p.32 Milton, NH)

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Old 07-15-2019, 08:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

History,
The doors are shortened to clear the tracks.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

History's question wasn't answered. I thinking that they had to cut off the doors and weld the lower half back to the cab. Jack
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Looking at the ones on U-tube, which are mostly model Ts, most of them have shorter tracks that do not block the door. I saw a Model A with the longer tracks that blocked the door, and it was modified as mentioned in posts 5 and 6.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Admiral Bird used a snowbird in the Antarctic expeditions of the 1930s. They reportedly kept the machine running continuously as shutting down required a full day re-warming sequence.

http://theoldmotor.com/?p=112258

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Old 07-15-2019, 10:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

I hope this post doesn’t take the original post too far astray, but the snowmobile avatar that I have is a much different design than the Super Snow Bird. If interested, please have a look at my picture album. It’s a chain-driven, four-wheel drive machine built for rural mail carriers and others needing to traverse snow-covered roads.
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Saw your photos and that looks really neat. I would think it is quite effective in the snow....have you tried it in fairly deep stuff?
Can it be easily converted back to road use?
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

There was a guy who's wife worked for me that had one of those, only it was a Tudor.
He was about 80 yrs old and could not keep it running so he just kept it on a trailer and took it to shows and parades that way. The doors had been shortened to function properly. It was an original conversion but had not been taken care of very well. He finally sold it and I was not in a position to purchase. The wife said it went to a guy in Mansfield, OH and he was a collector, but have no idea who that would be.
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNFATS View Post
I hope this post doesnít take the original post too far astray, but the snowmobile avatar that I have is a much different design than the Super Snow Bird. If interested, please have a look at my picture album. Itís a chain-driven, four-wheel drive machine built for rural mail carriers and others needing to traverse snow-covered roads.
I looked at your pictures, that is really neat! I gotta say, those snow pictures look awfully nice compared to the 90 and humid weather we're having now
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

To answer a couple questions that TerryH asked, it will handle snow about two feet deep with ease without the front skis attached, but with them on it becomes difficult to control. The skis take about 20-30 minutes to change back to the tires depending temperature, and the help I might get. The tracks are a different story. Twenty minutes to take off both, but twice that to put them on.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

That was a very impressive display.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

The sled that was at Iola Car show in WI is my restoration. Yes the doors are cut off 7". It is a Super Snowbird with 2 idlers. The Snow bird kit includes gear reduction units that attached to the Model A rear end after the brake backing plates are removed. It gives 2 1/2" more ground clearance and widens the wheel tracking by 8" The gear reduction reduces the 3.78 to 1 Model A Ford rear end down to 8.22 to 1. I replaced the bearings and put new linings on the Snowbird brake shoes. The brakes are better on a Model T than this contraption, they are crude, but could also use some more work on the actuation. 20 mph has the engine wound up pretty in 3rd gear. The model A axle in the Snowbird has one size larger nut on the end than the Model A and holds a pinion gear which has the drum with internal teeth mesh with it and revolve around it upon a stub shaft. I have given people rides in the sleigh on the lake last winter. The firewood is needed for weight/traction and I have an overload on the axle so the doors will still open. The front wheels rotate up or down when the front axle is supported and lock into position with a large spring loaded pin so the sled can be put in the shed or for when there is low snow conditions. One of the front ski sports the brass tag of Snowflyer made in New Holstein, WI.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Super snowbird on Lake Biron.jpg This was the sled on the Wisconsin River in the Village of Biron in front of Anchor Bay Bar and Grill for the Kellner Knights Radar Run and Vintage Snowmobile show. I have painted the entire kit red since this photo to distinguish it from the rest of the truck.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Model A snowmobile at Iola.jpg She was the funnest project I ever worked on. It is a 1931 Model A Budd Hard Top Pickup. It was all in pieces when I started, lots of nails into the new wood connecting the back of the cab to the roof. Next job wiring the lights, horn and maybe installation of a manifold heater.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Thanks for posting Steve. Post more pictures if you have some, that is a very interesting A you have. Did not know they had retractable front wheels.
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:53 AM   #20
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Default Re: Snow bird conversion at Iola WI car show

Model A Snowmobile at Nepco Lake.jpg Here is the sled is again at Nepco Lake for the Port Edwards, WI Lions ice fishing tourney and ice cutting last January. It was about minus 13 that morning. The sled ran fine until some mouse nest come out of the engine and plugged the tubes in the top of the radiator. Like to have some sort of sled rally there some day the way New Hampshire plays with T toys. It would be a perfect spot to get sleds some space to move around. The Lions have good food and raffles in the warming house you see in the background. Our Central Wisconsin Chapter Model A Ford Club also has a clubhouse on 10 acres near Wisconsin Rapids. This would be another spot to play with sleds. I am the current chapter rep for the club. Our annual reunion held at our clubhouse with the other Wisconsin clubs is coming quick here held July 26th-28th. 70 Model A Fords registered there last year for tours, tech seminars, potluck, car games, camping and togetherness for the love of Model A Fun.
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