Kawasakis Found...
Friday, 31 August 2012 15:05



Kawasakis Found......






"We have 20 Kawasaki snowmobiles from 1978 to 1982 sitting in our Lincoln, Nebraska warehouse and are wondering if the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame is interested in getting them," asked the voice at the other end of the line.

Would we be interested? Of course we would. Especially after hearing that they were still in crates. We envisioned a find akin to the finding of the Titanic.

What would they look like after 30+ years of storage? Would there be the ultra-rare Shark, still in the crate? How would we get them back to Wisconsin? Where would we put 20 crates?

These questions were all answered in subsequent discussion with Kawasaki's Dave Dora who was handling the transition of the sleds to us.

First, the "crates", while being the original crates, had been partially taken apart to allow the sleds to be used as media loaners, SSCC testing units, photo sleds, test units, etc. They all had miles on them ranging from 50-1,100. Some were a bit cannibalized. Some were showing minor damage. All were very dirty and grungy from sitting uncovered for 30+ years in the corner of their warehouse.

Still, the photos they sent showed great promise as a fund raiser project for the ISHOF.

After several months of discussion with their legal department, an agreement was reached and the sleds were on their way to Wisconsin in March of this year. Our Eagle River facility was unable to store them at that time so they were delivered to a warehouse in Madison for temporary storage.

The original crates had been partially taken apart, so new crates were built around the original crates. Stacked three high, they were a bit tippy and tricky to get unloaded.

We are in the process of uncrating and transferring the units to our Eagle River facility as we now have room there to process the sleds. Some will be sold "as-is" while others will be parted out and sold on the internet and at swap meets.

The sled models include the Invader, Intruder and Drifter. Alas....no Shark...so the mystic of the Shark continues .

Persons interested in whole sleds or parts are asked to e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your questions and requests. We are just now starting to get into the project so bear with us as we get set up to handle parts orders.



JLO A GO GO part 1
Written by Steve Pierce   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 05:34


Most early snowmobile manufacturers were progressing rapidly from four to two stroke motors by the mid 1960's. In 1966 the single cylinder heavyweight champ entered the ring.

From 1966 thru 1969, 372cc JLO powered machines racked up an impressive record of wins in cross country and oval events, including the prestigious Winnipeg to St. Paul 500, dominating competitors across the United States and Canada.

Like all JLO motors, the 372 was built in Pinneberg by the largest small engine manufacturer in West Germany. Two models were produced for snowmobile use, the L372L and its successor, the L380L.

Moto Ski, Ski Doo and others offered smaller JLO engine options prior to 1966. Polaris first introduced 15 372's in their 1965 models.


The original L372L was a stationary centrifugal fan-cooled industrial powered

unit suited for generators, pumps, sprayers and conveyors. It was not intended for the varying demands of snow vehicle use.

Early models produced only 13.5 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and came fitted with a Tillotson OM30A float bowl carb with a side mount diaphragm fuel pump.

These carbs were adapted to the rectangular intake and sized to the 2 1/4 inch bolt pattern of the Tillotson HR, larger than the 1 7/8 inch pattern of the HL model, but smaller than the 3 inch HD. Mounting an HD model would gain you an extra horse, and they were used on most later units.


Models were easily identified by the tag on the cooling shroud above the rewind-giving the type, L372L, the displacement, 372cc, the horsepower, 13.5 and the rpm, 4,000. The motor number always begins with 372. A typ­ical 1965 number would be 372,1320, a 1966 3728351.


The six bolt head was flatter than the rounded style of the smaller 252 and 292. A decompressor was shared with some later models. The intake port had an atomizing web that would soon disappear as did the square, protrud­ing impulse block coming off the crankcase.


Crankshafts were threaded to accommodate a variety of utility drive units.

Pistons on industrial models had three 2.5 mm rings. The recoil housing was flat but did not say JLO until 1967, instead having a row of cooling win­dows on the front edge of the face.


The pawl and friction plate assembly was more oblong than round like the latter style and the starter cone was shorter.

The magneto ignition put out 12 volts and 40 watts to power lights and acces­sories. There was no timing advance.

Industrial motors were warranted for one year. Horsepower and features on these models remained nearly identical into the seventies.


Vehicle motors were a different story. Warranties were lowered to 90 days and voided for racing. Snowmobile factories could see the potential for a large dis­placement, high compression engine and the scramble to develop more horsepower was on.

Changes in porting, compression and carburation increased rpm and enabled the 372L to make significant gains in horsepower, explaining why horsepower and rpm ratings were dropped from the identification tag.

(Continued in the next installment.)



Reprinted with permission.
The Yellow and the Black
Written by Steve Pierce   
Thursday, 14 June 2012 05:38

Remember those old yellow Ski-Doo snowmobiles from the 1960s with the black stripe around the hood? You know -like the one Ralph Plaisted rode to the North Pole and Steve Ave won the Eagle River World Championships with? The kind that Grandpa had, or the one you took your very first ride on?

In 2009, the little yellow machine that made winter fun will celebrate an historic milestone. The light and maneuverable snowmobile invented by Joseph Armand Bombardier turns 50 years old.josephbombardier_snowmobile

His patented rubber sprocket, coupled with an endless rubber belt, provided the essential components in an amazing story of success, and became the enduring logo of L'Auto-Neige Bombardier, maker of tracked transport vehicles.

Bombardier's dream of producing a sin­gle person vehicle was held in check by motor size. He built a prototype in 1949. utilizing his own engine design. It was too expensive to produce.

The power problem was solved in the late 1950s with the availability of the Kohler four-stroke single-cylinder engine. More prototypes were constructed, and in 1959 the yellow, tin cab Ski Dog was intro­duced to the world.


The little machines became immensely popular, and production numbers soared to 5,000-plus by 1963, a year of transition.

Tin cabs were replaced by Fiberglass. The twin track, single Ski RD8, forerunner to the Alpine, was introduced. Rotax two-cycle engines became exclusive, and the tiny, 148cc lost Rotax appeared and disap­peared. Kohler engine options remained available by dealer or distributor.

Model names were first used in 1965.

The 165cc chalet had a short run, but the Alpine and Olympic would become stan­dards for years. The Canadian Postal Service even issued a commemorative stamp when the Olympic name was retired in 1979!

The largest selling brand in North America, Ski-Doo became synonymous with snowmobile. Whatever brand you rode, you were "Ski Dooing."

This popularity did not occur by acci­dent. It was the result of an excellent mar­keting scheme. An advertising budget of $32.000 in 1964 expanded to $5 million by 1970. Eighteen North American distribu­tors and 2,000 dealers provided sales and service.

Yellow was the trademark color. The first departure was the Nordic in 1972, with a black hood and yellow side panels. Imagine the chagrin of purists as the 1973 TNT Silver Bullet was introduced, having only a tiny strip of yellow on the side of the hood!

Much was done to keep Bombardier in the public eye. Plaisted's North Pole expe­ditions were sponsored by Ski-Doo. Dollars were pumped into a highly suc­cessful racing campaign, developing TNT, Blizzard, and other performance machines. Ave, Ferland, Duhamel and Karpik were winners on the race track as well as in advertising.

Joseph Armand Bombardier died in 1964, leaving the company to son Germain. While reluctant to remove funds from the industrial side of the corporation to finance the recreational side, his 1966 successor and brother-in-law, Laurent Beaudoin, was not.

1969_ski_doo_olympique_12_3_77_6aIn 1969, Bombardier purchased plastic parts manufacturer Les Plastiques La Salle, and Roski Ltee., a fiberglass compa­ny. Soon was added a foam seat facility, a chrome plating enterprise, and even a tex­tile manufacturer to produce their own clothing!

In 1970, they purchased Lohnerwerke Gmb H of Vienna, Austria, to obtain their subsidiary, Rotax. Another plant was secured by buying Moto Ski in 1971.

Producing 210,000 units and owning nearly 40 percent of the market, 90 percent of the corporation's profits came from Ski-Doo snowmobiles by the early 1970s.

Low snow winters and the 1973 OPEC oil embargo put a death grip on the indus­try. Bombardier, also in financial straits, survived by entering other markets. Diversifying enabled the struggling com­pany to become a global giant in aerospace and rail manufacture.

Bombardier produced their one mil­lionth snowmobile in 1974, a TNT Everest.

They very nearly acquired Polaris Industries in 1980, the sale blocked by U.S. Anti-trust authorities.

A 1994 Summit was then" two millionth snowmobile.

Many years after Outboard Marine Corporation attempted to buy out Bombardier in the 1960s, their Johnson and Evinrude engine division was obtained in 2001.

Elan, 12/3, Alpine, Olympic, TNT and Blizzard are names belonging to a glorious past, and will long be remembered and revered by the Ski-Doo faithful.

The little yellow machine that could become the little yellow machine that did, and in a resounding manner.

Happy 50th birthday, Ski-Doo!


Reprinted with permission from Iron Dogs Tracks, the official newsletter of the Antique Snowmobile Club Of America.

Whetstone Valley Show
Thursday, 31 May 2012 14:26



Here's the official details of the event:

Event Details
Event Date: 2011-06-01
Event Location: Milbank,SD

Event Description
Join us June 1st and 2nd at Lake Farley Park in Milbank, SD for our annual show. We will be judging on Saturday for awards in classes including Antique and Vintage Sleds, Customs, Cutters, Raced Sleds, Mini Bikes Peoples Choice and Longest distance traveled to attend our show. There will be a silent auction Saturday morning with proceeds going towards the show so bring any items you would like to donate. The Swap meet will be going both Friday and Saturday. Camping is available on site Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, the city has added a few full hookup camp sites which will be available. Saturday night we will again be having an awards banquet with a meal. Food Concessions Available Friday and Saturday.



Imagine walking through a park path lined with show sleds and swap items, stopping to chat with old friends and even taking time to make some new ones. This is a family friendly event, so bring the wife, kids and even the dog (on a leash) and you'll be glad you came!


For more information about the event contact:

Derrick Loeschke
Phone: 605-880-3277
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Classic Sled Roundup presented by Arctic Cat
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:51

May 27...The first summer show hits the ground running. Time to dust off the sleds, wander through the swap looking for hidden treasures. The Classic Sled roundup is a great spot to meet friends old and new, and a perfect excuse to ignore the yard work for a weekend.

Here's the official flyer:



For more info check out the officail Saint Germain thread


See you there!!

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