Vehicles built for a specific purpose are always the most exciting. Whether it’s a track-focused hypercar or desert-busting trophy truck, focused engineering will always create something exciting. One of the most interesting purpose-built vehicles was the infamous Antarctic Snow Cruiser. This innovative mobile base was created to help the Americans explore and claim previously unknown terrain in Antarctica. Sadly the results never lived up to expectations and the Antarctic Snow Cruiser now lives in infamy.
In 1940 America launched its largest expedition to Antarctica. Before this expedition, private American expeditions were completed, but they were not government-backed which meant America had no official land claim on Antarctica. In the 1940s world powers planned to claim land in this frigid landscape and look for valuable natural resources.
To claim valuable Arctic real estate quickly, the government back American expedition had a secret weapon. And by secret, I mean a hugely publicized overengineered mobile base known as the Antarctic Snow Cruiser. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was meant to cross the inhospitable Arctic landscape with ease thanks to superior American engineering. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was going to cover more land than anyone before while giving America a valuable land claim near the South Pole.
The Antarctic Snow Cruiser had an innovative powertrain much like a modern-day diesel-electric locomotive. Power came from two diesel engines that would send power to four electric motors to move this massive mobile base. With one motor at each wheel, the Antarctic Snow Cruiser previewed the preferred drive train for all modern-day electric vehicles.
The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was a fantastic idea, however, due to tight timelines production was rushed. This meant the team had barely any time for their creation and had to build based purely on theory. This meant the Antarctic Snow Cruiser was a massive failure let down by a weak powertrain and smooth tires that had no grip on the Arctic ice. With modern technology, it would be fantastic to see a second attempt at the legendary Antarctic Snow Cruiser concept.