Meet the Antarctic Snow Cruiser, one of Automobilist’s more unusual artwork offerings and part of our Extraordinary Vehicles series, where we marvel at feats of madcap engineering.
The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was built to support a 1940s US expedition to the South Pole. Weighing in at just over 33.5 tonnes, the 7-metre long behemoth had 3-metre tall retractable heated tyres, room for four, and could – why not? – park a light aircraft on its roof.
Despite being nicknamed ‘the Penguin’, the Snow Cruiser struggled with grip on the ice so much so that the $3m machine was eventually redeployed as a static base, only to be abandoned in 1941. Remarkably it was found and dug out from a covering of ice and snow in 1946 and made usable with some basic servicing and air in the tyres. Abandoned once more in the 1950s its whereabouts are unknown, but the might of human endeavour in creating this gigantic piece remains visible for all.