The ways in which a snowmobile can be customized are seemingly endless. Some modifications improve power and maneuverability, while others, like aftermarket windshields and seats, simply enhance the cool factor. The list of available accessories also includes handle bar risers, lightweight hoods, and running board supports.
Unique snowmobiles have been created for over a century. Here are three snowmobile concepts that are arguably among the coolest ever.
This radical snowmobile was way ahead of its time when it set a speed record in on a carefully groomed ice track at Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota. An enthusiast named Big Bob Gaudreau built a dragster-style snowmobile developed strictly for straight-line power, and he certainly succeeded in his quest. In the design process, leaf springs were abandoned in favor of a trailing arm suspension that provided the necessary stability.
The sled was powered by a six-cylinder Mercury Marine power head that was modified to maximize output. A 200-horsepower engine on a snowmobile was unheard of at the time. On February 24, 1982, Tom Earhart took the Budweiser Sno-King up to a speed of 148.6 mph, a world record at the time.
Military Stealth Hybrid
The Canadian military has made note of just how quiet electric-powered vehicles can be. At the same time, it recognizes the range that an internal combustion engine can offer. As a result, Canada’s military seeks to combine the two propulsion technologies into a single hybrid-electric snowmobile. When this new design is switched to “silent mode,” it is anticipated that it will be deployed by Canada’s Department of Defense in covert operations. The ease with which sound travels in the cold Arctic air makes this concept particularly appealing in military and law enforcement operations above the Arctic Circle.
When a 150-horsepower, 800cc snowmobile engine is opened up full throttle, the sled can take flight over great distances. However, parasledding takes snowmobiles to new heights, quite literally. In 2013, an avid snowmobiler from British Columbia, Eric Oddy, attached a parachute to his sled, and he made history in the process. He bolted downhill with his specially-equipped sled until the parachute filled with air. A video on YouTube records the unique trajectory that his sled then took. Presumably, this new “sport” is not for the faint-of-heart, and it is unlikely to debut in the Winter Olympics anytime soon. However, most would likely agree that parasledding offers one cool ride!
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