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No Reserve Winter Machine: 1972 Tucker Sno-Cat

The need for heavy-duty equipment depends heavily on where you live and how much space you have. Recently, I was committed to buying a Japanese-market Mitsubishi dump truck when I realized that living with the thing would immediately suck out any meaningful fun to be had with it. I don’t have room and I don’t have miles of space between my house and that of my neighbor’s (also, why the hell do I need a dump truck?) But if you live in Vermont and have some acres, a rig like this 1972 Tucker Sno-Cat listed here on eBay may actually make sense.

The Tucker brand is based in Oregon and has been building burly snow machines for years. The primary use for these things is at a ski lodge or a highway department, which makes finding one in private hands a bit of a score for anyone looking to add some heavy-duty equipment to their garage. The Sno-Cat is not just your run-of-the-mill snow groomer, however, as these machines have been used for expedition missions to the most inhospitable places on Earth, and I’m not talking about Vermont – places like the Arctic Circle.

The seller clearly enjoys his, as the top most photo shows with his hilarious Christmas display. The Tucker comes with an extra wide track and a large assortment of configuration options, including the cab design, which can include different seating and door arrangements. The Tucker shown here has what looks like a body style that could accommodate a dump-style bed if you were so inclined, or just a traditional pickup-type arrangement. The seller notes that it will come with the front blade, a rebuilt engine, and a rubberized undercoating. There’s even new glass and moldings.

That last part surprised me, as I wouldn’t have thought a machine like this had actual components you could “restore” or otherwise beautify. The Tucker used a conventional front-engine design, but I haven’t been able to discern if there was any consistency to the engine options. We’ve seen domestic V8s under the hood of Tucker machines, along with Jeep-derived “Hurricane” engines, so apparently, the sky is the limit when it comes to powerplants. Regardless, this looks like a lot of fun for those of you with lots of open space and a healthy annual snow forecast, so plan to bid more than $13,000 if you want to bring this one home.

Comments

  1. John S.

    This is a Thiokol Imp.The Imp was powered from the factory by a Ford Industrial V-4. The Imp is one size smaller than the Sprite, which was powered by a Ford I-6, and can be seen in “The Shining.” This machine was built by Thiokol Chemical Corp. of Logan, Utah. Some time after January 1986, Thiokol snow cats became LMC Snow cats.

    Like 14
    • J.D.

      It is a Thiokol Imp model and they did come with a Ford Industrial 104 V-4 engine
      I worked at Thiokol building these and later for John Z. DeLorean when he bought the business. The DMC/LMC model of this eventually had Ford 200 straight 6 with C+4 transmission.
      I drove one of these for years for our S-R, the 1200 Sprite is still the best, just hard to get some parts for them now.

      Like 0
    • MTBorst

      The actual one in “the shining” was a 4 Dr like we had in Wyoming. And was for sale at the time we bought ours.

      Like 1
  2. RMac

    Isn’t this what ran over and almost killed Jeremy Remmer?
    Not much snow here in SC but a unique purpose built machine

    Like 2
    • RMac

      Jeremy Renner meantvtobwrite

      Like 0
    • Jay E. Member

      His injuries were caused by a much, much larger modern snow groomer.

      Like 4
  3. Howie

    I live in the Los Angeles area, but i think i badly need it.

    Like 7
    • HBC

      I agree! You do need it! Very useful in L.A.!!!

      Like 0
  4. james d mcgartland

    a sno cat was used as the chariot on the tv series lost in space

    Like 0
  5. Rbig18

    Why two shift patterns.

    Like 3
    • MrBZ

      Appears you could get it with a 3 or 4 spd.

      Like 1
    • HoA Howard A Member

      2 transmissions, like the old “Brownie” boxes of yore. The 4 speed was the auxiliary, 3 speed the main. An automatic would be a better bet.

      Like 2
      • MTBorst

        They put autos in them too. I has one. I was thinking of going with an OD in mine. Then maybe I could sneak more than 2 mpg out of it

        Like 0
    • B Thompson

      It has a 3 speed transmission on the engine and a 4 speed rear end. That makes for 12 forward gear ratios.

      Like 2
  6. Ike Onick

    “Revenge of The Elf”

    Like 2
  7. Camaro Joe

    RMac and Howie,

    You would be the only ones on your block with one, not like 60’s Mustangs and Camaros or late model stuff . . . . . . And if it ever did snow, you would be really prepared.

    I plow the neighbors just because I can. A lot of really good deserts show up, and once in a while a gift card.

    Like 7
    • David Michael Carroll

      I think you mean desserts! Living in Arizona, i know a good desert when I see one

      Like 3
  8. HoA Howard A Member

    I agree, this is not a Tucker. Thiokol, Thiokol, as in Morton Thiokol? “Clear for throttle up, roger throttling up”, KABOOM,,,still creeps me out to this day.
    The term “Snocat” is like Kleenex or Jello, all groomers are considered Snocats. read, it was Tucker that used the hyphen, Sno-Cat. To be clear, this is just the power unit and actually pulls the separate groomer drag. They had several motors, and this probably has the Ford 200 in line 6, running through a set of transmissions. The 2 reverses are just a lower ratio. Forums say it’s incredibly difficult to shift on the fly. I read Thiokol of Utah sold its business to none other than John Z. DeLorean in 1978 and renamed it Logan Machine Co, or LMC. Great machines, trails get pretty rough, and a groomer is a welcome site for a sore axx. I’ve seen groomers stuck and it isn’t pretty. Sometimes a helicopter is needed. Something like this is more for a ski hill. Groomers have come a long ways since these early ones, costing upwards of 250K, a lot of money for a sport that has basically gone kaput from its heyday when this was new. I love snomobiling, and miss it dearly. Great find.

    Like 11
    • Hans H

      I think it was named DMC for a while until Delorean had his issues, then became LMC and then Bearcat. Later bought by the competition. Interesting fact, Thiokol build some.of the first airbag inflators.

      Like 3
  9. J.D.

    John and Howard are correct, this is a Thiokol Imp. Tucker was one of the competitors in the market so this is like calling your Chevy a Dodge.
    Under Thiokol these Imps were powered by a Ford Industrial V-4 (104 cid) with twin transmissions. After John Z. bought the business they were renamed the 1400 and were powered by a Ford inline 6 with a C-4 auto trans.
    I worked for Thiokol and DeLorean building these first as a welder and moved to building the engines/transmissions until they sold to Bear-Cat and went out of business. Good luck trying to get some parts for these now.

    Like 0
  10. Howie

    Sold $15,754, 58 bids.

    Like 4
  11. MTBorst

    SOLD ! 15k if the tracks were in great shape, probably worth it. You guys that know your stuff Thiokol is correct ! And it is an Imp, not a snowcat or tucker. Most of the small units like this had the V-4 Ford. I had a 77-78 Spryte In line 6 Ford 300. They can get stuck with the blade on but then you should be using the blade to make your path. Without the blade they will go most anywhere ! No one would go beyond the mountain switchback where I lived except me ! On snowmobile, until I flattened the drifts with my Spryte. Deep and steep !

    Like 4
    • HBU

      Did these vehicles have heaters to keep the operators/riders warm?

      Like 0
      • lilmo

        We used ropes to hold the doors open when I drove LMCs pre-Bearcat. Could have worn shorts the cab was so hot.

        Like 0
      • MTBorst

        Yes, they do. My 4 door full crew cab would get pretty warm inside but the line was mostly gone and nothing on the floor. With new insulation and piece of foam on the floor. It would be crazy hot inside.

        Like 0
  12. JoeNYWF64

    I immediately thought of the Lost in Space Chariot.

    Like 3
    • MTBorst

      That would be a much nicer, quieter ride.

      Like 0
  13. jim

    The Tucker snow cat had some mopar parts and engine

    Like 0
    • MTBorst

      The Tucker is a totally different machine. We had on at the resort I worked at. The new ones have a different style cab but the old ones were built from dodge trucks. Ours had a dodge truck cab and a 440 c.i. . They run 4 tracks, one on each wheel. Generally, 30 inches wide.

      Like 0
  14. Mark

    Reminds me of the one in the movie the shining!

    Like 1
  15. Richard McSherry

    Ford V-4….does this mean that a 70’s SAAB 96 engine (adapted from a Ford Taunus) would pop right in?

    Like 0

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