Since 1936 Canadian self-taught inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier was busy creating sleigh-tracked skidoo. During WWII he designed military variant B2, supplied to USSR under lend-lease. In 1951 the first half-tracked car-snowmobile whose front steerable ski could be replaced with wheels was built. It was a part of multi-purpose series R with 115-187 h.p. engines, automatic 3-speed gearbox, steering booster and roundish cargo-and-passenger body for 12-18 persons. Canadian army and air force used 1t air-transportable variant R12 that made 64 km/h on virgin snow.
| Joseph-Armand Bombardier (born in 1907 in Valcourt, died in 1964 in Sherbrooke, Quebec) was a pioneer in ground transportation in snowy or muddy deserts, before his compatriot and competitor of the fifties, Bruce Nodwell .In 1941, J.A. Bombardier opened his business : 'L’Autoneige Bombardier’ (The Snowmobile Bombardier)
During wintertime , he worked on developing a vehicle able to travel on snow. At that time, the Quebec government did not clear snow from secondary roads, so residents of these areas stored their cars for the winter season. The idea to build a winter vehicle came to Bombardier after a blizzard in which his young son fell ill of peritonitis and died because he could not be brought to the nearest hospital.
On February 18, 1964, J. Armand Bombardier died of cancer at age 56. He left behind a thriving business, but also one that had been focused on one person. Armand dominated his company, overseeing all areas of operation. He controlled the small research department, making all the drawings himself. By the time of his death sales of the company had reached C$20 million, which is the equivalent of C$160 million in 2004 dollars. The younger generation took over, led by Armand's sons and sons-in-law. The young team reorganized and decentralized the company, adopting modern business tactics.
In the 1980s , Bombardier produced a M35 variant for the Canadian Forces' medium logistic vehicle, wheeled platform. This featured an Allison MT-643 automatic transmission, radial tires, and a Detroit Diesel engine displacing 8.2 Liters.
Since November 1983 the Volkswagen Type 183 , more commonly known as the Iltis was built under licence in Canada by Bombardier for the Canadian Forces. Military vehicles were profile of Logistic Equipment Division. In 1980s company produced TF-300TT (6x6) 14t military transporter designed to operate in Arctic conditions in cooperation with Canadian company "Nodwell".
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