STOCKHOLM, Maine — Even though its name would suggest otherwise, many people in Aroostook County know all about The Phantom.
The fully enclosed snowmobile, designed and built by Kyle Anderson with parts he found or made, draws stares and gasps of awe as it whips along area trails each winter. The 26-year-old Stockholm resident accomplished one dream after he successfully constructed The Phantom. Now, he is ready to embark on another — taking his invention on a tour across the nation to see if he can attract investors interested in helping him manufacture more of his signature sleds.
“I want to set out and tow the snowmobile behind my vehicle and promote it to investors,” Anderson said on Thursday evening. “I am calling it the Promote My Dream Tour and have started a Facebook page to let people know about it and to generate funding to make it happen.”
A nationwide tour was not something Anderson originally envisioned when he came up with the idea of building his own sled in 2006.
“At the time, I really had nothing to ride and I didn’t have the money to buy my own snowsled,” he said. “So I just looked around and considered different pieces of equipment that I had on hand, did research, experimented, and basically slowly pieced together what is now The Phantom.”
The machine was mainly constructed at Anderson Auto Repair in New Sweden, where Kyle works with his father, Dennis Anderson. Kyle Anderson found an old gutted snowmobile with two tracks that got him started, and took an old satellite dish apart to help him construct the frame. Working on weekends and after work, he thought about different materials he could use for the other necessary parts of the sled.
“When it came time to think of covering for the sled, I did some research online,” he said, adding that it pointed him toward a home improvement store. “I found some bathroom tile that comes in a sheet. It’s lightweight, durable and hard as a rock, so that is what I chose.”
The double tracks on the sled allow it to turn more easily, and The Phantom not only has trail lights, it also has lights that illuminate the tree line for greater visibility.
Additional components of the machine include a seat out of an old Lincoln Continental, a heater and rearview camera, a CD player and an Indy 500 motor. In the end, he spent $1,500 manufacturing The Phantom, which he concedes “isn’t done yet.”
“It is a prototype,” Anderson said. “I am still tinkering with it.”
While The Phantom operates at about 55 mph, Anderson would like to get it up to 100 mph.
“I certainly get a lot of attention in it,” he said. “When I am out on the trail, people will give me the thumbs up or even try to get me to stop. I’ll pull into a gas station and be there about twenty minutes or so answering questions or explaining to little kids how I made it. Kids love it.”
Anderson has generated interest in the sled by entering it in local parades and other events. The Phantom is also featured in “Awesome Aroostook,” a documentary put out this year by Brenda and Alan Jepson of Crown of Maine Productions of New Sweden. It focuses on some of the most unique people and projects in Aroostook County.
The Phantom also was highlighted in the December 2012 issue of Popular Science magazine and has appeared in other publications.
Anderson put together his Facebook page in Sept. 2012 to raise awareness about his invention and begin fundraising for his trip.
“I just plan to tow the sled along behind me through the states to promote my product and hopefully generate the attention of some investors,” he said on Thursday. “I would love to see something I invented be mass produced. It would really be a dream come true.”
For information, find The Phantom Snowmobile Promote My Dream Tour on Facebook. Anderson can be reached by phone at 896-3060 or email at ESKO76@hotmail.com.