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KRISTI snowcat

    KRISTI SNOWCATS were tracked vehicles suitable for snow and other terrain and produced originally in Colorado and then later in Washington
    KRISTI was technically interesting but the company failed to produce commercially numbers of snowcats to compete with other North American or European snowcat manufacturers KRISTI had a very unique ability to raise or lower its tracks individually which had the effect of raising one side of the vehicle to keep the vehicle level while crossing side slopes Further the front or rear of both tracks could be raised or lowered so the snowcat's cabin could remain level while climbing or descending slopes
    KRISTI was commercially built in Colorado between the years 1956 and 1968 The company changed ownership and moved to Washington and continued production Production was always on a small scale and the products were very innovative The most refined of the Kristi Snowcats was the last produced and the least successful commercially The total number of KRISTI SNOWCATS made is in dispute one source claimed over 300 but then recanted that and revised it to less than 200 when he responded to an inquiry The company was innovative but not successful and appears to have struggled Of the total production snowcats the most popular model was the KT3 of which approximately 110 were built in Colorado Production numbers are further muddled because of the change in ownership of the company and the moving of the production facilities) It is possible that additional units were manufactured by the new owners in Washington state so it is possible more than 110 KT3 units were built but it is unlikely that many more were produced as the design was outdated by the late 1960s A slightly smaller version of the KT3 was called the KT2 Both the KT2 and KT3 were powered by VW air cooled 4 cylinder engines it is reported that a small percentage may have been powered by Porsche engines The KT2 and KT3 shared mechanicals and even shared the same operators manual The VW engine developed 32 horsepower
    Various different sales brochures make different claims about the transmissions used It is therefore possible to find a KT3 with either 8 or 9 forward gears and either 4 or 3 reverse gears The units with 8 forward/4 reverse had a High-Low range ratio of 7:1 All used joystick controls in a V shaped arrangement that were centered under tachometer
    Specifications for the KRISTI KT3 stated that it was 11' long 7'4" wide and had a height of 5'9" with an empty weight of 2095 pounds The KT3 was configured for 5 passengers and imparted 046 PSI of pressure onto the snow It had a maximum cargo/passenger capacity of 1500 pounds and a towing capacity of 2000 pounds With a fuel capacity of 20 gallons of gasoline it claims 15 to 18 hours of operating time and a top speed of 20 mph
    The KT3 claimed the ability to climb a 100% grade with full load when not on the snow It claimed the ability to climb a 70% grade in snow conditions with a full load and in soft snow (a Snow Trac can do a 90% grade) it claims the ability to traverse a side slope with a 60% grade The Kristi action adjustable track suspension will hold the cabin level on slopes with up to a 25% grade
    A larger Kristi snowcat was produced and designated the KT4 and the KT4a The KT4 had a fully enclosed fiberglass body while the KT4a was an open version and "a" designated that it was an amphibious unit capable of floating and crossing streams or ponds The KT4 and KT4a units are very rare and less than 5 are known to exist of a total production that was probably under 20. The KT4 was powered by a Chevrolet Corvair 4 cylinder gasoline engine
    KRISTI failed to compete successfully with the TUCKER SNO-CAT Corporation which was also American based in in production at the same time Tucker Sno-Cat is currently one of the most successful snowcat manufacturers in the world today THIOKOL was another American made contemporary of Kristi that was successful in building small snowcats and notably the Imp Super Imp and Spryte models Like the Kristi KT4a amphibious model Thiokol manufactured an amphibious version of the Spryte Thiokol eventually sold its snowcat division to a group of managers who named it LMC; later it was purchased by automaker John DeLorean who renamed the company DMC DMC no longer is in business Other notable [1] of the same era were the Aktiv SNOW TRAC which like the KRISTI KT2 and KT3 were powered by VW and PORSCHE engines The SNOW TRAC was successfully used in explorations in the Antarctic and the Arctic and attained production numbers of 2000 units and only ceased production in 1981 when VW discontinued the European production of the engines used to power the SNOW TRAC machines BOMBARDIER of Canada was also wildly successful and is still in business today making aircraft snowmobiles ATVs and watercraft While Kristi was generally unsuccessful it did outlive and out produce other companies that developed "snowplanes" largely because early in the life of the company they switched production from snowplanes to snowcats
    KRISTI eventually changed ownership and they moved to Washington They produced a KT7 snowcat of which only 4 were built and only 1 was successful The KT7 used a Ford Angelina gasoline engine The engine was mounted in the middle of the snowcat with the driver and front passenger forward and the rear passengers aft facing the rear There were access doors on either end of the KT7 and the rear and the front look nearly identical save for the headlamps An early original brochure announcing the KT7 actually shows its designation as a KT3a and calls it an "improved KT3" but the production brochure has it designated as the KT7 The KT7 was tested by the FAA for use in Alaska but failed to achieve a 20mph speed requirement It is believed that this failure doomed the KT7 and ultimately lead to the demise of the company in the early 1970's