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Big Collection Of Rare Antique Snowmobiles
Big collections of rare antique snowmobiles greeted visitors last summer at the LeSeuer County Pioneer Power Show in Minnesota. Snowmobile collectors Bill Thelemann and Jason Johnson both had several models on display.
    “I ride all my antique snowmobiles every winter to keep them in shape, and because I like riding them for fun,” says Thelemann. “There’s a lot of history behind these machines.”
    Here are the models Thelemann showed:

1964 Fox Trac 510 2-seater - Built by the Fox Body Corporation in Janesville, Wis., this model is powered by a 10 hp Kohler engine. “The Fox Trac was built during the 1960’s just as snowmobiles were making the transition from work to play machines,” says Thelemann. “It was made to go back in the woods and was used by farmers and trappers. It has steel tracks riding on no. 60 roller chain. The cleats are separated by pieces of canvas that provide flotation.
    “The machine is fitted with wide metal skids, with an angle iron wear rod underneath for making turns. It has a headlight, but it’s very small. This was one of the first snowmobiles equipped with a reverse gear.”
1962 Polaris LA 55 - It’s powered by a 5 1/2 hp engine and was the smallest snowmobile Polaris made at the time. “It’s lightweight and easy to handle, which made it perfect for kids. It’s also very lightweight – you throw it in the back of a station wagon and take it out for the afternoon,” says Thelemann.
1961 Polaris 0-13 Sno Traveler Trail Master - The Sno Traveler was originally powered by a 13 hp Onan engine, but Thelemann’s model has a 10 hp Kohler engine.  “It was one of the biggest snowmobiles Polaris made that year,” he says. “The company cut holes into the sides to reduce weight, and to let snow inside to help lubricate wooden slides that support the snowmobile’s steel track. The track has a plastic liner that bridges the cleats for flotation. Wooden skis run all the way back on both sides of the machine for flotation.”
    The big engine made the machine heavy and prone to getting stuck, so the company mounted a tripod winch on back to get you out of any jam. “The winch is fastened to wooden skids on back. If you get stuck, you lift the tracks out of the snow and then put branches or something under them so you can get out again. The machine even came with a pair of snowshoes strapped to one side so you could get off the machine and walk in deep snow.”
    Thelemann says he plans to replace the Kohler engine with an Onan this winter.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bill Thelemann, 34452 265th Ave., LeSeuer, Minn. 56058 (ph 952 994-2743; bthelemann@yahoo.com).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #1