Bog Buggy: Bombardier Muskeg Tractor

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Are you looking for the perfect vehicle to traverse a muddy bog, swamp, or marsh?  Something you can also drive over a 5-foot snowbank with ease?  This late model Bombardier Muskeg, available here on Craigslist and located in Beaver Falls, New York, can likely handle just about any type of terrain it comes across.  For $3,000 OBO you can own this intrepid beast and let nothing stand in your way!

The CL ad for this Muskeg consists of a mere 15 words, indicating the seller is simply a man of few words or he doesn’t know much about the vehicle.  The model year isn’t given and neither is the submodel, unfortunately.  I’ve attempted some feeble online research and I believe this machine is a 1970s Muskeg tractor (as opposed to a carrier).  The Muskeg debuted in 1953 and was marketed by Bombardier as an efficient all-season vehicle.  Capable of freighting, mountain climbing, prospecting, or hauling wood these mobile work units were designed for use in a variety of industries.

The seller reports the Muskeg runs well and is powered by a Chrysler flathead straight six-cylinder engine.  According to information provided by author J.J. La Grange at the 1962 Symposium on Antarctic Logistics, the Chrysler-powered motor produced 115 hp allowing the Muskeg to reach a maximum speed of around 25 mph.  With a payload of 2 tons, the Muskeg reportedly would average about 1-2 miles per gallon!  Heck, that’s almost as good as my dad’s ’76 Thunderbird 460!

Above is a photograph of a Muskeg tractor working in the Sahara Desert, courtesy of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Museum of Ingenuity located in Valcourt, Quebec.  This photo highlights the amazing diversity and capability of the Muskeg, considered by Joseph-Armand Bombardier to be his greatest success among the industrial vehicles he developed.  The arid sands of the Sahara are a far cry from Beaver Falls, New York, where the Muskeg featured in this post is listed for sale.  Beaver Falls happens to be smack-dab in the middle of the Tug Hill Plateau.  Averaging over 200 inches of snowfall per year, a vehicle like the Muskeg is perfectly suited for the Tug Hill.  It’s likely this Muskeg was used by a snowmobile club or perhaps a logging operation.  It would be interesting to know its history.  I wonder what type of use this machine will be put to by its new owner?


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  1. Chuckster

    Why am I , a otherwise sane person , drawn to such oddball things? If it had wheels would perfect for Thursday night cruise

    Like 3
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Back in April and early May of ‘67 we had a blizzard that dropped 6 feet of snow on us. We were desperate to get out and feed the cattle. The Air Force and National Guard sent out a Chinook helicopter to ferry hay to the livestock and their efforts were certainly appreciated but we still needed to get out on a day to day basis. Dad managed to pick up a well-used Snow Cat that served us well for three winters until the chinook winds returned and brought the winters back to normal. We had a neighbor who ran a Nodwell and was very happy with it. This one looks rather light for hauling bales so it wouldn’t be all that useful to a rancher unless it towed something. I guess if you lived where there was lots of snow it could help in an emergency. A friend of mine and his wife ran out of cigarettes during a blizzard and he had to take the snowmobile to town so they wouldn’t shoot each other…

      Like 11
    • sg

      You’re not alone – I’ve been asking myself the same question!

      Like 0
  2. Redwagon

    Could go anywhere, anytime. Here in northern Minnesota this would be fun but of limited value without an enclosed cab. Would make retrieving deer at deer camp a bit more fun.

    Like 1
  3. PDXBryan

    Back in the ’70s my older bro took me with him to spend the summer “moilin” for gold up near the Yukon. Our family friends, who were proving-up on a number of claims, transported us through the back country to our site in one of these. I’ll never forget that journey!

    Like 3
  4. Howard A. Rube GoldbergMember

    I believe this is what was called a “J5” with optional cab/ROPS. Also, I think it’s from the late 50’s with that motor. Apparently they made this into the 70’s but were Perkins powered. Also, a key piece is missing here. It was not for carrying 2 tons on the machine itself, probably weighs that much itself, ( brochure claims weight of 5050 lbs) but these were designed to pull sled or trailer of 2 tons. It has 3 ( or 4) forward gears, 1 reverse and steered by brake bands on the drive axle. Used mostly in forest applications. Better have a diesel dually to haul it.

    Like 2
    • Jay BAuthor

      Rube, from what I find the J5 was a six-wheeler (3 wheels per side), whereas the Muskeg tractor is a 16-wheeler (8 wheels on each side, although it looks like 4 in photos). You’re right about carrying 2 tons vs hauling (towing). The “Carrier” model would have been used to transport its own payload vs. towing, which is what the tractor was designed for.

      Like 0
      • Jacob G Yates

        Are you the one selling the muskeg if so do you still have it?

        Like 0
    • Todd Thompson

      not a J5 – this is a swamp tractor – a J2 was used by city cleaning sidewalk crews etc
      my dad built ice roads in canada and had 7 of these swamp tractors

      Like 0

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