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The first Eliason snowmobile was built by Carl Eliason in a small garage behind his general store over a two year period during his spare time. Carl's efforts included a lengthy train ride to Milwaukee to purchase bicycle parts required for the drive train and track assembly. The small 1924 snowmobile displayed a front mounted liquid cooled 2.5 HP outboard engine, slide rail track guides,
wooden cleats, rope controlled steering skis and two-up seating located over the track. The running boards were each made of two downhill skis, neatly contoured into the belly pan.

One quarter of a Ford Model T radiator was placed in the front for cooling the outboard motor. Machine operation required that the floating tracks be elevated, the engine started and revved to speed as the spinning track gained momentum. Then, the track was gently lowered to the snow surface to start the snowmobile in motion. The amount of track slippage determined the vehicle speed.
Eliason, the inventor, had his original machine patented in 1927.
Continuing development and refinement during the 15 years of production at Sayner lead to generally larger models of Motor Toboggans. As many as 40 Sayner snowmobiles were built and sold with no three being exactly alike. Trial and error refinements were important to success but the track and suspension concept was carried over on all units.
Both two cylinder and four cylinder motorcycle engines were used as the snowmobiles grew to three and four-up tandem seating capacities. The two cylinder motorcycle engine models sold for $350 while the four cylinder version cost $550. Marketing was aimed at hunters, utility workers and outdoor winter types. Gradually the Eliason Motor Toboggan was becoming known throughout the world.

Eliason models of the 1930's incorporated the twin cylinder 12 HP Excelsior engine. Both the Excelsior, and the later Indian 45 CID 25 HP motors were preferred and used over the Harley-Davidson engines since they came with a single cast unit for engine and transmission. Weight, space and installation ease were important even back then. With Sayner production limited to eight or nine units per year, anticipated World War II production orders could not be met.


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