And some amazing video footage here (sorry about the music): https://youtu.be/NA4pUalceVE
Large and soft tires are certainly good on snow, but smooth?
Maybe that actually works better on ice?
I suspect that at the time producing and transporting suitable tyres was extremely difficult, so they weren't able to try swapping the original tyres for something more suited to the conditions.
A picture here:
> [...] It was his son, Harry E. Sipe, who popularised the use of sipes in the USA for the new low-pressure balloon tires around 1939.
> The process was not applied to vehicle tires on a large scale until the 1950s, when superior tread compounds were developed that could stand up to the siping process. [...]
eg. https://www.terbergdts.co.uk/globalassets/special-vehicles-s... - looks bad-ass!
As in photographic darkroom ?
edit: yes, https://books.google.de/books?id=vNsDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA494&lpg=P...
Facility for developing Black and White photos is not very complicated. Usually you just need an enlarger, some chemical tanks and a room with no light. If you want to do slides (rather than prints), and use the right film, it's even simpler as you just need to develop the film.
It's simpler with slides because you skip the print process, but developing slide isn't nearly as easy as b&w. It's 10+ steps process  and temp is critical vs 3 steps for b&w. You can also make slides from b&w film if you're adventurous: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-so...
From what I have read elsewhere this was where the monster truck idea started.
That seems somewhat rare these days.
Also remember that these are diesel engines from the late 1930's. This was before the development of 2-stroke (blown) or even turbocharged diesel engines. These engines were a lot less powerful compared to modern diesel engines.
You need low-speed torque with low fuel consumption to work at relatively high power output efficiently for long durations.
There are many definitions of how much power a horse has, and just one definition of the watt.
For example: the 'mechanical' HP (commonly used in the US) is the equivalent of 0.7457kW, but the 'metric' HP (commonly used in Europe) is 0.7345kW .
Yes, they were certainly less efficient than modern engines. However, ICE engines have always had trade-offs between power output per size, mechanical efficiency and reliability, and for this vehicle the last one was certainly of most importance.
As a comparison, here's a modern 11L diesel:
You'll notice that HP is 325-425, so not that dramatically different from the Snow Cruiser.
That level of power is for commercial use, an 11L diesel can easily put out more than 1000hp based on the amount of boost but the longevity of the engine suffers and the power is not need for the application.
Here is a Volvo 13L (The Mack MP7 is basically a Volvo D11) putting out 2500hp: https://www.motor1.com/news/94292/2400-hp-volvo-truck-seeks-...
Naturally aspirated diesel where relatively efficient they simply lack power.
what are some other examples of inexplicably bad engineering decisions on otherwise well built machines?
the front wheel drive nissan lemans car comes to mind
> Wheels and tires retracted into housings where they were heated by engine exhaust gases. This was to prevent low-temperature cracking of the natural rubber compound.
Long front and rear overhangs on the body were to assist with crossing crevasses up to 15 feet (4.6 m) wide. The front wheels were to be retracted so the front could be pushed across the crevasse. The front wheels were then to be extended (and the rear wheels retracted) to pull the vehicle the rest of the way across. This process required a complicated, 20-step procedure.
My guess in answering the initial question would be bad engineering.
However, it definitely was a design defect as the cruiser was unable to travel reliably on the snow, and Byrd had previous success in Antarctica with tracked vehicles...