"Where the history of snowmobiling comes to life"
1965 Bellanca Drifter

1965 Bellanca Drifter

This homebuilt snowmobile was made by Henry Schildt of Alexandria, MN. Henry was the head welder at the Bellanca Aircraft Company, also located in Alexandria, MN. Henry began construction of the sled in 1964 and it was completed by winter 1965. The machine had its share of bugs to work out, but by the end of the 1965 season, it was a very reliable unit. Around 1970, the machine was donated to the Rhuestone Museum in Alexandria. It remained on display there until the late 1990's when the new museum curator deemed it "not museum worthy. The machine was stored out back of the museum until 2003 when a snowmobile collector found it and brought it home. The machine was stored in an open field awaiting a new lease on life. The sled was beyond repair. The track was rotted off and the seat was missing. After several months of hard work, and parts hunting, the machine was once again ready for snow or show. The sled was entered in the inaugural Homebuilt Class at Waconia and won first place. This snowmobile is also thought to be the model that the Brut snowmobile engineers modeled their machine after.
The hardest part of the restoration was the engine/clutch combo. Rather than driving the machine from the PTO side of the engine, the flywheel was machined into a bevel and it became one half of the homemade clutch setup. This setup, which caused many headaches trying to figure out, propels the machine perfectly.
Here is the known list of parts for this machine:

1966 Johnson track (shortened) 1948 Plymouth bumpers (skis)

1955 Johnson 25hp outboard engine 1964 Chevy tail light 1950 radiator

Homebuilt suspension (closely resembles Arctic Cat)

1964 Allis Chalmers temperature gauge Seat riser/toolbox is an IH pickup bedside

Homebuilt manifold for exhaust & water cooling

Homebuilt dash, hood and belly pan Motorcycle handlebars Homebuilt tunnel

Homebuilt primary & secondary clutches Gas tank?? Unknown

Homebuilt go-kart style v-belt brake system
Owner: Paul Shearer
Lisbon, ND

On Sept 20, 2019, The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum was awarded a grant of $12,500 for Operational Support from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA – ART WORKS). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 561 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2019 funding. The grant requires a 1:1 match and helped the museum leverage the $12,500 of support from its annual income and the many donations from supporters. In particular the museum has received grants from the Graymont Community Economic Development Fund and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It has also received significant donations from the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, The Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows, Inc., many snowmobile clubs, several recreational and snowmobile shows, the museum’s internal $1,000.00 Challenge, and many museum members. The grant funds will be applied to museum operating costs. Applicable costs include internal operations, marketing, travel to shows within the State of Michigan and cost of employees. The MCACA peer review process allows for each grant applicant to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences. A complete list of grant awards around the state is available by contacting MCACA at (517) 241-4011, or by visiting the MCACA website at
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Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum
P.O. Box 2
W11660 US-2
Naubinway, MI 49762
Hours: 906 477-6298
Appointment: 906 477 6192

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