Twin Tracker History
Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:33

Twin trackers gained popularity in the 1900’s


The first twin-tracked snow vehicles gained popularity in the early 1900s. Auto and tractor conversions were almost exclu­sive until the appearance of the single track vehicle pioneered by Eliason in the '920s.

Seeking to maximize floatation, some modern manufacturers returned to the twin track idea.

Hus Ski began production in 1962 in Pointe Claire, Quebec. A West Bend Power Bee engine powered a yellow trac­tor unit with no skis and two wooden cleated tracks, pulling the operator on a sled behind. Acquiring the company in 1965, Bolens produced the more refined Diablo Rouge, or Red Devil, from 1967-'69.

The single ski, rear engine Snow Bug was made by the Original Equipment Manufacturing Company of Sudbury, Ontario. A twin track prototype called the Snowpacker was developed in 1962, along with a five-foot-wide, triple-tracked ver­sion. In 1966, a dual 26-inch track model was introduced.

Bombardier's first dual track, single ski offering was the 1963 RD 8. R stood for Rotax, D signified dual, and 8 was the horsepower of the first year, 247 cc Rotax engine.

In 1965 came the famous Alpine label, which endured until 1995. The Alpine -ame was first issued in 1962 to a much _-,maller. single track model.

 

The Invader, Valmont, and Alpine II and IV were later versions of the classic namesake.

Based on a rear engine concept sled called the Mirage n, Ski-Doo's Elite, fea­turing side-by-side seating and two steering skis, was made from 1973-'75 and 1978-'82. It was re-released in 2004 with a closed cab, independent front sus­pension, and four stroke motor.

Chapparal in 1969 produced a work horse with two 18-inch tracks powered by a 618cc Kohler twin, the Snowgoer.

A host of companies manufactured twin trackers in the late 1960s and 1970s. No ski vehicles such as Ridge Runner, Caribou, Play Cat and Passe Par Tout were regarded more as ASVs than snow­mobiles.

OMC's Cushman Trackster had a float­ing kit as an option. Argo and others provided track conversions for their wheeled vehicles.

Alsport in 1971-'72 made a "sit in" machine with dual tracks and front wheel or ski options.

Bob Bracey introduced the rear engine Raider in 1972, hoping to appeal to the recreational rider. A single seat cockpit, sporty styling and narrow eight-inch twin tracks were indicative of snowmobile trail system development.

In production until 1975, Bracey pro­duced the Manta in 1986 and the Trail Roamer in 2000, a four stroke state-of-the-

art trail machine with independent front suspension and an $8,500 price tag.

Across the pond in Sweden, Scandina­vians were building twin trackers since the 1950s. Aktiv of Ostersund offered several deep snow models with and without skis through the 1980s, the best known U.S. import being the single ski Grizzly, pow­ered by 500cc Spirit engine.

Ockelbo Industri AB made the twin track Model 800.

Russia checked in with the Buran, a single ski machine powered by a 625cc Ribenski fan-cooled twin.

Alpina of Vicenza, Italy, currently imports utility sleds into the U.S.

Not all double trackers were intended for transport or cargo hauling.

Behind closed doors, most major manu­facturers at one time or another were building and testing double track speed machines, concept sleds, and prototype racers.

Gilles Villenueve debuted the Alouette twin track racer at Ironwood, Michigan, in December of 1973.

Manta fielded an oval racer.

Ski-Doo dominated twin track racing through the 1980s and '90s.

Though never enjoying the recreational popularity of their single track cousins, the deep snow and freight hauling capabilities will keep twin trackers in service on ski slopes and in big snow country around the world.

 

Reprinted with permission. More of Steve's work can be found in Iron Dogs Tracks the official newsletter of the Antique Snowmobile Club Of America.

 
Whetstone Valley Antique&Vintage Snowmobile Show & Swap
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 00:00

 

milbank


Here's the official details of the event:

Event Details
Event Date: 2011-06-03
Event Location: Milbank,SD

Event Description
Join us June 3rd and 4th 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.

 

038

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

 

More pictures and stories from past years events can be found in the Vintagesledders forum


 

 
Sledder of the Week May 30- June 5
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 12:07

pam and darvs ride 2010 015small

VintageSledders Screenname: KennyH

Real Name: Kenny Holgate

Location: Wolf Lake, Mn.

Family: Been married for 26 years. We have 3 kids,Kris,Andrea and Amanda and 3 Grandkids with one more on the way.

Current sleds: O.M.G! You want them ALL???? How bout this,Most ridden is a 1971 Scorpion Stinger, 2nd most ridden is a 1973 Polaris Colt 175, Most cherished sled is my wifes 1973 Yamaha GP 292 that her family bought BRAND NEW in 73 and she took her snowmobile safety training on.

Favorite brand: Polaris

Dream sled: 1978 Polaris TX ( I have one, I just have to restore it)

Do you show? Swap? Race? I show Locally (Detroit Lakes area, Gonna try and get out more) Don't really swap, just sell parts online. And have only raced in the Eagle Swamp Championships and local Radar runs.

Favorite vintage snowmobile event: Detroit Lake Vintage Sled Gathering in the fall. No judging just BS'ing and eating!

How long have you been into vintage snowmobiles? Since I was given the Scorpion mentioned above, or about 12 years.

When did you first get bit by the vintage bug? I have always liked the style of the "old sleds" better than the new ones so maybe I'm just stuck in the 70's.

Other hobbies: We have a hobby farm, raise a couple head of beef,chickens and a horse. Hunt deer with bow,rifle and REAL muzzleloaders.

Random fact about you: I like peanut butter on my hot dogs.....

 

 

 


How can you be Sledder of the Week?

 

In an effort to make the vintagesleds world a little easier to navigate, each week we will pick one vintagesledder and put up a short bio submitted by that person.

The information gathered is completely volunteered by the member.

If you would like to participate in Sledder of the Week, just fill complete as many of the questions below as you'd like, then send in your information along with a picture of yourself to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

VintageSledders Screenname:
Real Name:
Location:
Family:
Current sleds:
Favorite brand:
Dream sled:
Do you show? Swap? Race?

Favorite vintage snowmobile event:
How long have you been into vintage snowmobiles?
When did you first get bit by the vintage bug?
Other hobbies:
Random fact about you:

 
The Wankel Rotary
Monday, 16 May 2011 00:00

 

It emitted a sound reminiscent of an old Deere Johnny Popper crossed with a

Harley 74. Resembling something one would find strapped to a washing machine,

its appearance could draw a chortle from even the most somber.

Owners shared a love-hate relationship with the most cantankerous power plant to sit

beneath the hood of a snowmobile,

the Winkle rotary combustion engine.


Engineered for industrial and military applications, these oddballs found their way into autos,

planes, helicopters, boats and motorcy­cles,

lawn mowers and just about everything else requiring a motor to operate.

Sizes varied from teeny air-cooled models to gargantuan, liquid-cooled, multi-rotor units.


Development was slow, due largely to design.

Cooley's rotary piston steam engine of 1901 was converted to internal combustion by 1910.

Millard originated the three-sided rotor concept,

which was modified and improved upon concept, which was modified

and improved upon by Felix Winkle in the 1940's.


The rotating combustion engine has no pistons or valves. A triangular rotor moving in an elongated housing forms the combustion chamber.

The geared rotor revolves on an eccentric once for every three revolutions of the main shaft. Each rotor revolution has three power pulses, with one pulse per shaft revolution.


The result is a compact package with sixty percent fewer moving parts and a huge power to weight ratio over conventional counter­parts.

In 1957, Felix Winkle built a refined dual rotor prototype in operation with NSU Motorenwerke of West Germany who help license to the design. Curtis Wright Corporation of New Jersey reached an    agreementwith NSU-Wankel in 1958 to broaden development.

In the early 1960s NSU introduced the Spider, the first RC pow­ered auto. Soon following were the Citron N35 and the Mazda RX2.

Rolls Royce produced a fuel injected aircraft engine for the British Military.

In 1968, Fichtel and Sachs of West Germany manufactured the Curtiss Wright recreational version of the Wankel, and the RC1-18.5 first appeared in production snowmobiles.

wankell

RC stood for "rotating combustion," 1 indicated the numbers of rotors, and 18.5 were the displacement in cubic inches.

Weight was 56 pounds with recoil, air filter and the muffler installed, lighted than reciprocating motors of equal horsepower.

Carbureted by a tiny, impulse-fed HL Tillotson, the 303cc two strokes produced 20 horsepower at 5,000 rpm. Compression was eight to one.

A Bosch flywheel magneto ignition and 12 volt 40 watt lighting system was used. Timing was set to marks and rotation was reversible.

The RC1-18.5 was used as late as the 1971 model year. Its suc­cessor, the KM914 B, was very similar except it no longer bore the Curtiss Wright name. Later models had an energy transfer ignition and 75-watt lighting system.

Scorpion offered Wankel options in 1968 and 1969 in their MK11 and MK111 models, as did Polaris in the Colt and Mustang, Skiroule in the 300W and SW300 models, and later in 1973-74 in the RTW 300.

Leisure Design's Diplomat 300 had the option in 1973, as did Alouette in the 1974 Silver Cloud MK11. Arctic Cat used the Wankel from 1969 to 1975 in various models.

Early models ran hot. Extremely hot. Touted as an easy starter, this was clearly not the case when the engine heated up, causing the carburetor to vapor lock. Manufacturers attempted to remedy this by adding extra cooling vents to the hood and shrouds.

Flooding was also a problem and the only way to remove excess fuel was through the spark plug hole with the gas line disconnected and vigorous pulling. Seasoned Wankel riders carried a starter cord since they were notorious for rewind failure.

Plug life was short and they were not noted for fuel economy.

Despite its shortcomings, the KM914 B owns a hallowed place in racing history. Coaxing an incredible 40 horsepower out of the little mill, Dieter Klauke, head of the Fichtel and Sachs Wankel division, entered the first snowmobile race held in Germany. In Hirtenteich on January 17, 1970, Klauke piloted a 303cc Wankel-powered Arctic Cat to an astounding victory in the 340 Mod class!

Though multiple rotor RC's were not uncommon, few were installed in snowmobiles. Six double rotor 606s were sent to Thief River Falls for testing by Arctic Cat. At least one model made it into the enemy camp because Polaris was reported to have tested one also.

With the size and weight of the double rotor being a disadvantage, the KM24 was introduced.

Available for the 1972-73 season and downsized to 294cc, this new version enjoyed a boost ta23"hoTsepower at 6,000 rpm.

The improved rewind held a more efficient mechanical fuel pump. Electric start was available. A larger carburetor made the KM24 surprisingly snappy and reduced problems of the earlier models.

Outboard Marine Corporation created their own rotary design in an effort headed by Olav Aaen. From 1973-75 the Evinrude RC Q, Trailblazer and rotary models all utilized the OMC RC. The John­son Phantom and rotary-powered models also featured the 528cc engines in 35 and 45 horsepower configurations.

While experimental models achieved 60 horsepower, these detuned luxury machines were built for comfort and reliability. Even though equipped with an OMC float bowl carburetor, over­heating was still a concern.

Once regarded as the engine of the future, the Wankel has become a ghost of the past, never reaching its anticipated potential.

Problems rising from seal longevity and wear led to inefficient combustion, high emission levels and overheating.

Advances in more powerful, cleaner-burning diesel and gaso­line engines, both on the industrial and recreational stage, effectively closed the curtain on RC engines.

In 1975, OMC and Arctic Cat became the last to offer an RC option in snowmobiles.

 

Reprinted with permission. More of Steve's work can be found in Iron Dogs Tracks the official newsletter of the Antique Snowmobile Club Of America.

 
Sledder of the Week May 2-8
Monday, 02 May 2011 11:49
grassintxl1
VintageSledders Screenname: Grassintxl

Real Name: Jamie Henriksen

Location: Adams, WI

Family: Wife Bonnie, two daughters Sarah (11) Merideth (6)

Current sleds: 81 Polaris TXL Indy, 80 Yamaha Enticer, 72 Evinrude Norseman, 72 Yamaha, 71 skiroule, couple of Rupps, some other beaters and a 78 Kitty Cat 

Favorite brand:I'd have to go with Polaris, Yamaha and Rupp are a close second.

Dream sled: 1975 Polaris PDC

Do you show? Swap? Race? I take some of my riders to the local shows, just because.   Grass drags, and thinkin about doin ovals.

Favorite vintage snowmobile event: Brappfest, then Eagle River Vintage weekend

How long have you been into vintage snowmobiles? About 10 years

When did you first get bit by the vintage bug? Not sure, I guess its all I've ever had. I grew up riding a 73 Chaparral and a 72 Yamaha.

Other hobbies: My kids keep me plenty busy, there are alot of things I'd like to do, but just can't find the time to do them. Vintage snowmobiles have kinda become a year round deal for me.

Random fact about you: I do all my own stunts

 

 

 


How can you be a Sledder of the Week?

 

In an effort to make the vintagesleds world a little easier to navigate, each week we will pick one vintagesledder and put up a short bio submitted by that person.

The information gathered is completely volunteered by the member.

If you would like to participate in Sledder of the Week, just fill complete as many of the questions below as you'd like, then send in your information along with a picture of yourself to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

VintageSledders Screenname:
Real Name:
Location:
Family:
Current sleds:
Favorite brand:
Dream sled:
Do you show? Swap? Race?

Favorite vintage snowmobile event:
How long have you been into vintage snowmobiles?
When did you first get bit by the vintage bug?
Other hobbies:
Random fact about you:

 
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