Snow Job: 1948 Ford Marmon-Herrington AWD

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We know it’s a bit out-of-season for a machine like this, however it is something we definitely do not see every day, so we figured it was worth a look – and we were right! It’s an old airport snowblower on a 1948 Ford chassis, it’s all-wheel-drive, and it’s for sale right now, here on craigslist near Garden Valley, Idaho. Check this thing out!

We all know what a Ford is, but what’s this about all-wheel-drive? That’s where it gets interesting, to say nothing for the massive snow-moving machine! The Marmon-Herrington AWD system traces its roots back to 1931, when Walter C. Marmon and Arthur W. Herrington formed a successor to the Marmon Motor Car Company. Marmon itself was in deep trouble at the time, because they had made only high-end luxury autos up until the Great Depression. To survive, Marmon partnered with Herrington and got into trucks and equipment, primarily for military use, but some passenger and lighter-duty vehicles came along for the ride. Long story short is that they did (and still do) AWD systems for many, many large trucks, and even did armored cars at one point. Interestingly enough, they’re still around and will do the job for you, or sell you a kit.

With that back story, we turn now to the truck at hand.  We’re told that it was used on an airport for a number of years, and that both the truck’s Ford engine and International engine on the back run. We can see a lack of paint on the truck; the seller attributes this to a restoration begun, but on pause for some reason. We really just have to look at the pictures to get a sense of where this thing is at condition-wise.

I would have nowhere to put something like this, but I do want to see one in person to get a feel for it. I want to know more about it, like who did the snowblower, and how it all fits together, and which lever in the cab does what function. I’m really at a loss for words, which if you’ve read any of my previous work, is not something that happens often! Add to it the fact that they’re only asking $3500 for it,  and you’ve got a really interesting piece of vintage equipment, the likes of which have not seen tarmac in decades.

That’s what I think, what do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA Howard AMember

    People that come from warmer climates, may think, what would I need that for, but living in the mountains, and hailing from N.Wis., I could see this coming in pretty handy. These, I’m pretty sure, were made by a company called “Snogo”( pretty straight forward there) by Klauer Mfg. out of Iowa. They came in several forms, used mostly for airports. Easy to drive? Good heavens, this thing, while operating, will shake your fillings loose. 1st time I saw one, was in the UP of Mich. ( der hey) at the Houghton Co. Museum. It was a late 40’s Oshkosh with a HUGE Buda 4 cylinder on the back, that was HAND CRANKED( that must have taken Jethro Bodine himself to start in zero degree weather). It had a 3 auger blower and had a picture of it operating, chewing through snowbanks as high as a house. Pretty impressive. I believe that motor on the back is an IH tractor motor. Jamie featured a similar one a few years back. Note the handle on the back, that’s how you started it. With prices for new ones in the stratosphere, looks a bit crusty, but I’d have to think this is a pretty good deal for someone.

    Like 14
    • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

      Like I’ve said innumerable times before Howard, but it’s continuous- you never fail to amaze with your knowledge and experiences with stuff especially incredible cool old machinery like this one..And you say it’s the old dog full of peach pits shaking again? At least THAT might help keep you a little bit warmer anyway, with all the physical exertion from just operating this rig!

      Like 11
  2. geomechs geomechsMember

    Nice truck to have although I don’t really know if I could use it up to its full potential. It would be a good snow remover for my driveway BOTH times each winter in the Chinook Belt. 1948? No, it’s a ’42 – ’47. I’m guessing possibly a ’45 or ’46. The ’42 model had the ‘FORD’ in a pot metal casting on each side of the hood. Starting in ’45 it was stamped. The bright trim around the instrument cluster was used from ’40 – ’42 and again in ’45 but was changed to a cream color in ’46 and stayed that way through ’47. The blower engine looks like an International WK 40 tractor unit. I guess that would be termed a ‘U-40.’ It dates back to the mid-30s. By ’39 IH was selling the ‘U-9/UD-9’ and the ‘UD-14’ which were 4-cylinder units. IH also sold a ‘UD-18’ six-cylinder which would require a fairly stout truck to carry it, not to mention the diesels were NOT a real good choice for winter operation as you would spend a lot of time just getting the animal started. This truck would be quite an addition to a real enthusiast’s collection. I know I sure wouldn’t turn it down if I had the facilities.

    Like 14
    • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

      What I said in the above text to Howard, geomechs? Ditto big time for you too!

      Like 13
    • HoA Howard AMember

      An asphalt company I worked for in the 70’s had a compactor that was a ’50’s IH tractor and was a gas/diesel.( I thought that rear engine was one of them) Corny thing, you started it on gas, after a brief warmup, switched it to diesel. I always wondered how the spark plugs didn’t foul while running on diesel. I’m sure you’ve heard of those. What was the advantage there? They had straight diesels in the 50’s.

      Like 7
      • geomechs geomechsMember

        The International diesel engines of old that started on gas then switched over to diesel had a rather complicated cylinder head. There were actually (2) combustion chambers. The main (diesel) chamber was immediately above the piston, like it would normally be. The spark/gasoline chamber was adjacent to it and was accessed through a set of decompressor valves that were actuated when the engine was set up to start on gas. The spark plugs were in that second chamber. When you set it up to start on gas, you also opened a valve in the intake that accessed the carburetor and another linkage enabled the magneto. Lots of adjustments. The earliest versions automatically switched from gas to diesel. That worked OK but oftentimes had to be switched back over in cold weather. You turned a dial at the front of the injection pump to 12 O’clock then lifted the decompression lever on the side of the head until it latched. Ground the mag, full choke, crank it over a couple of times (there was no starter on the first ones), half choke, un-ground the mag and pull up on that crank for all you were worth. The engine would sputter to life and you would open the choke and let it do its thing. After 700 revolutions of the crankshaft (One minute) a cam in the injection pump would trip and unlatch the decompressor which would close access to the spark plug chamber. Another series of mechanisms would close the intake to the carb, disengage the mag and engage the injection pump. The engine was now in diesel mode and would clatter away normally. The later versions were set up the same way only the operator chose when to switch it over to diesel. Like I said, lots of adjustments and the most complicated injection pump I’ve ever worked on…

        Like 18
      • On and On On and OnMember

        Hey geomechs, My dad was a diesel/heavy equipment mechanic, I remember him mentioning those gas/diesel engines and his opinion was a ‘pony’ motor was a simpler and better alternative. He worked in Chicago so cold weather starting was a necessity. I remember how much he disliked wintertime road calls when he had to work on them outside. He had a hard job, I remember he could do a chin-up with one arm. I still have his incredibly heavy 1948 Snap-On 3/4 drive socket set (well worn too) He died of Parkinson’s syndrome, his neurologist said it was likely from washing his hands in diesel fuel for 40 years.

        Like 15
      • geomechs geomechsMember

        Hi O&O. I agree with your Dad; the pony motor was the way to go with the older machines. The engine, clutch, and linkages were a lot simpler than Binder was running, not to mention cracking of cylinder heads. If a person properly cooled them down they weren’t so bad but we still had lots of them when Dad ran IH crawlers between the time when he ran Cats. When I was a kid we must have had four or five heads off the TD-9 and TD-14 lying around. They made good weights holding a barbed wire fence down when running it through a gulley.

        Like 7
  3. Poppapork

    These front mount snowthrowers are still.being used in chicagoland/illinois. Every tollway maintenance garage has one.
    The new units have the engine above the snowblower mounted sidewise/transverse and they mount to a full size front loader
    We use them to remove snow from shoulder areas that have a concrete divider (snow normally accumulates there but its also tandem plowed.there)
    Similar situation on large bridges, we have a couple over a mile long and the shoulders need to be passable by a full size firetruck

    Like 8
  4. Robbie M.

    That thing is cooler than the other side of the pillow! What a beast!

    Like 7
  5. Rick

    I would like this just for the WOW factor.

    Like 4
  6. Noal Funkner

    The Coolest Thing On Four Wheels. Would Love To Have One 👍

    Like 2
  7. chrlsful

    that would not B used on regular routs, glad its on flat ground/airport. Even w/bent8, chassy’s a lill over loaded.

    Like 1
  8. K.B.Roadsend

    Oh dear me !!!!
    With this talk of the IH start on gasoline run on diesel engine Im having flashbacks ,Ill likely have nightmares for a week now remembering a TD9 I had with that many years ago
    Some of the details elude me but I remember it had a pull loop like Farmalls ,for the starter then the tricky part came when it did start ….Had a lever that had to be thrown down ,turn a knob to change the fuel and I forget what the other thing was ,but I remember it would have been a trick for a man with 3 hands and was a real job for me with one .
    Next step was to trade for an HD11 -Allis Chalmers ,that was a reallll machine …except for one little thing …it was two cycle
    Envision this ……I still get a chuckle from it remembering I had a man said he was an operator unloading it from the trailer and as it made that scary break over coming off the trailer he had it in forward creeping down to hold the ground speed and it chugged and stalled as he was throttling up and started up running backwards Its an odd sight watching the exhaust pipe gulping down the smoke in the air ,then it blew all the oil out of the oil bath air filter covering him head to toe ,but that was the lessor of his concerns he was hanging on the avoid being thrown over the hood Never seen a machine come off the trailer as fast he unloaded that one ..ha ha >never let him on one of my machines again .
    Back to this fine/fun looking piece of equipment ….Here in Denton County in my life I have never seen a snow plow on the roadway but once A few years ago we has our version of snow ,which is ice ,the state brought in a truck with a huge plow from who knows where after IH35 was shut down for a couple of days >Im guessing the operator on that had never seen such either …I saw him flying down the roadway trying to go fast enough to get the chucks to fly out the side ,what was mostly flying was sparks ,I saw that machine afterwards and he had ground about a foot off the bottom of the blade .
    Wonder how one of these would work raking leaves HA HA

    Like 3
  9. TimM

    I want this truck!!!!

    Like 1
  10. TimM

    Oh and buy the way!!! Geomechs you never cease to amaze me the knowledge you have on the early vehicles!!! Even the not-so-common ones!!!

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Well thanks, Tim. I was never a jock although I did have a modest talent to play basketball. I was never a lady’s man, and I think most women thought I was from outer space anyway. Mechanical things have been my life since I was old enough to walk, and now, approaching 67 years, I’m still a hopeless gearhead. But I’m not alone. It takes all of you guys to keep this site entertaining. I enjoy sharing stories but I also enjoy reading the stories that all of you tell. It’s a virtual COFFEE ROW, and I’m glad to be a participant. I was telling the wife the other day that it’s too bad a bunch of us can’t find a local coffee shop and share a bunch more tales. Of course, right now, we’d still have to put up with those crazy masks…

      Like 5
  11. Jay E.Member

    In my youth I drove a larger version of this in Truckee Ca. Had a Climax 6 cylinder gas engine on the back. The pistons were as big as 1 gallon paint containers, it ran on old av gas and shot a blue flame out its 6 inch stack under load. It was very loud and very slow. As for vibration or shaking, as long as the bearings were good and the flights and auger shafts werent bent, it did not vibrate. But it did require bearing maintenance a lot and there were great loads placed on them and a lot of moisture intrusion. As Howard said, if a shaft got bent, it would rattle you to death.
    Small airports like McCall are perfect for these. A lot of asphalt between hangers and on taxiways. During a storm, blades can just windrow it off to the side, but eventually the berms get too tall and interfere with wings. So blower must be used to cast the snow further out. Trouble is, but the time the blower is sent, the compacted snow has frozen into an icy log hundreds of feet long. It is very hard to chew through and requires a lot of power and patience. Some days I would get out of the cab and sit outside, just watching the machine move by itself, to get away from the unmuffled noise for a bit. I think the granny gear had a granny gear! If you tried to force it, the shear pins would fail and you had to dig all the snow out by hand to repair them. This one would be a light duty version, probably used on days where the snow was softer or the windrows were smaller. It could not be used in areas where anything like rock or debris might be encountered (like a dirt road) as the snow thrower unit could get easily damaged. Not very practical for home use, and pretty expensive considering the repairs and upkeep if you planned to actually blow snow. Unless the snow has been compacted into a windrow, these wont pick it up, so it isnt much use to clear a road. A tractor mounted hydraulic unit will easily do the job of this one, and much more efficiently, but it wouldn’t be as cool sitting in your yard.

    Like 3

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