An Alaskan Malamute is a huge dog, a supersized Husky, used to haul heavy loads on sleds across snow. But here at Automobilist, we don’t do cute animal posters, not even at Christmas time, so this is a tale about an Iron Malamute, a huge machine, which turned out to be a bit of a dog! We go back to 1926 and a plan hatched by Australian polar explorer, Captain George Hubert Wilkins to make a transpolar flight from North America to Europe.
The base was established in Barrow, a headland on the Arctic coast in Alaska. However, poor organisation meant frozen seas prevented supplies being sent to Barrow by sea, hence the idea of using the Iron Malamutes that were essentially a Fordson tractor with modification to allow the fitting of spiral threaded cylinders instead of wheels, that cut their way through snow and ice, driving the vehicle forward.