Before the monster trucks, off-road SUVs and giant exploration vehicles of today, there was the Antarctic Snow Cruiser. It was designed from 1937 to 1939 by Thomas Poulter, intended to facilitate transport in Antarctica. The Snow Cruiser was also known as “The Penguin,” “Penguin 1” or “Turtle”. Some of its innovative features at the time included: Wheels and tires retracted into housings where they were heated by engine exhaust gases to prevent low-temperature cracking of the natural rubber compound; Long front and rear overhangs on the body 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. Continue reading for two videos and more information.
While having several innovative features, it generally failed to operate as hoped under the difficult conditions, and was eventually abandoned in Antarctica. Rediscovered under a deep layer of snow in 1958, it later disappeared again due to shifting ice conditions.