8-9 October 2009
1929 Ford Model A Tudor Snowbird
- Chassis no. A1518211
Sold for $33,000
Although Virgil White of West Ossipee, New Hampshire conceived the snowmobile and manufactured the first conversion kits, he could foresee the day when greater use of road-clearing apparatus would make them less popular. White had opened a western warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota in order to better serve the needs of Upper-Midwestern customers. As sales declined in the late 1920s, he sold his patents to the Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company of New Holstein, Wisconsin.
Farm Specialty Manufacturing had been started by B.P Arps and Adolf Langenfeld; in 1925 it was renamed Arps Corporation. Arps’ version of the snowmobile was called “Snow Bird,” and became popular on the Model A Ford chassis. Arps and Langenfeld also furnished a Snow Bird for Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic expedition in 1931.
Once snow-converted automobiles faded in popularity, Arps focused on agricultural applications. Their tracked equipment for tractors enjoyed great success until the advent of four-wheel drive in the agricultural market. The company, now known as Amerequip, currently designs and manufactures medium-duty backhoes for compact utility tractors, as well as front end loaders and front and rear blades.
Based on a Model A Ford Tudor sedan, this Snow Bird was originally purchased by the New York Guard, a state volunteer force which augments and supports the New York National Guard with manpower and skills. It was later used by a rural mail carrier and was owned by two different Ford dealers before acquisition by the Moir collection. Period photos from this era are available. It has received a complete mechanical refurbishment, although the engine is in need of a cosmetic detailing. It is fitted with a correct exhaust manifold heater, though the sheet metal shroud is missing.
The car is painted Manila Brown with black trim, and the paint exhibits a deep shine. The interior is nicely done in correct taupe cloth. The Snow Bird conversion has resulted in the removal of front and rear fenders. Snow shields have been added to the rear of the body to deflect snow thrown by the tracks; the front skis require no shielding. Mileage shown is currently 0218, the significance of which is unknown.
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