S’no Foolin’! 1973 AMF Harley-Davidson Y440

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Never seen snow! Just kidding, but it’s not too often that a person sees a snowmobile sitting on gravel. This one is a 1973 AMF Harley-Davidson Y440 and it’s listed on eBay. The current bid price is just under $120 (!!) and there are four more days left to get your shipper lined up. They’ll want to know that it’s located in the remote, northern town of Libby, Montana, where they know a thing or two about snow. Plan on adding a few hundred dollars onto the final price if you’re 2-3-4-5+ states away from Montana. This Y440 should be at least in the mid-to-high-hundreds of dollars by now if not more, this one could be a steal!

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Much like the Harley-Davidson / Aermacchi motorcycle saga, the Milwaukee company’s foray into the snowmobile market was filled with mergers and acquisitions, changes and stagnation, successes and failures, joys and heartaches… jeez, well, maybe it wasn’t that bad. But, after five short few years of producing some very cool and now very sought after sleds, they were out of the snowmobile business.

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AMF Harley-Davidson snowmobiles had a fascinating history and for anyone interested in snowmobiles, a set of books by Mr. Pierre Pellerin called “Snowmobile History“, a three-volume set, is among my most prized possessions. He explains that with a hostile takeover on the horizon in 1969, Harley-Davidson merged with American Machine and Foundry (AMF). AMF had been producing a snowmobile called the Ski-Daddler since 1966 and by 1971 the combined company decided that they could sell more Harley-Davidson branded snowmobiles so they stopped production on the Ski-Daddler and concentrated on the new Harley-Davidson line. Willie G. Davidson designed what would be the new Harley-Davidson snowmobile, although it was built on a 1971 Ski-Daddler frame. By 1975, along with a myriad of other snowmobile manufactures, for a variety of reasons, AMF Harley-Davidson got out of the snowmobile business.

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This is the 433 CC, twin-cylinder model, the Y440, with 37 hp. The company also offered a 398 CC model called the Y400 in 1973 and it had a white cab as opposed to the black cab (both had blue and red accents) on the Y440 model as seen here. These engines were made by Aermacchi in Italy which Harley-Davidson had purchased a large share of back in 1960, and they also made Harley-Davidson’s small motorcycle line in this same era. This Y440 was bought new in Sacramento, California and was with the first owner for 42 years. It has supposedly spent its entire life in the northern mountains of Idaho; I’m jealous! This one has an amazingly-low 131.8 miles on it and, as you can see, it’s not perfect looking but it starts, runs, and rides perfectly. It has a new drive belt, plugs, and battery and it has been meticulously maintained. All the lights and other electrical systems work like new, as well. This will be a great deal if this one stays below $1,500, but then there’s the shipping to think about.  I know that a big portion of Barn Finds fans aren’t in areas that even get snow, let alone have ridden or owned a snowmobile. But, hopefully everyone can appreciate the history, design, and engineering of the AMF Harley-Davidson snowmobiles even if it’s a foreign concept to have fun in the snow!

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Comments

  1. angliagt

    What’s next,an AMF Harley bowling ball?

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    • scooter8

      ew,ew! i’ll buy it ! did steve Mcqueen walk past it? i’ll pay triple what U want!

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  2. geomechs

    How about that? I was through Libby a month ago. If this would have been up for sale then I could’ve looked at it. So HD (AMF) is the one that had Ski-Daddler. There were a few if them around our town. It seems to me that they were 300 cc singles. I had a ’74 Yamaha GP 433 which was a good machine. I had too much 32 overproof rum on one snowmobile trip and allowed myself to sell it (damn near what I paid for it). Then, since I was working for a John Deere/GM dealership, I bought a John Deere JDX8, which I did NOT like. By that time my snowmobile band of buddies had drifted apart and that part of my life has slipped into the pages of the past….

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  3. Glen

    Forgive my ignorance on this , but, do they get snow in Sacramento?
    Back in the 70’s, every company on the planet was making snowmobiles, which can make for an interesting hobby… collecting old snowmobiles.

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    • Cleric

      Sacramento is at the foot of the western slope of the Sierras. No snow in town, but plenty less than 50 miles away. A lot of snowmobilers here.

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    • Oingo

      “It has supposedly spent its entire life in the northern mountains of Idaho”

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  4. erikj

    I did not know that old snow sleads where worth anything. I have a ski-doo I think, anyway its called a 440 drifter. got it for the motor as a spare for a formula indy style racecar I had. Sold the little racecar so I have this slead still. I just moved to Spokane and we get good snow most years so maybe I can get some use out of it. Are these worth much?

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    • Glen

      I believe that is a Kawasaki, not Ski-Doo. From what I’ve read about them, the crank seals are a weak spot. I can’t say if there is much value to them, maybe in top condition it might, but I wouldn’t consider it as a money making endeavor, just enjoy it.

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  5. Howard A Member

    Once again, no question who submitted this gem. I’m a little leery saying anything, especially HD related, after getting chewed out on the last HD thread. Being the “know-it-all” that I am, I didn’t know these were Aermacchi deals, I would have thought they had Kohler motors. Being from Wis. snowmobiles have been a part of my life since I was a kid, with my 1st sled, a ’69 Polaris Charger 1 lunger.(JLO) EVERYBODY got on the bandwagon. I think at one time, there were over 200 makers of snowmobiles. Truth be known, all these vintage sleds were really not the best. Most required pre-mix, they were heavy, loud( a loud Harley??)( sorry, couldn’t resist), handled poorly, (bogie wheels?) a chore to keep running right, and clutch technology wasn’t what it is today, so you better have a spare belt with you. Modern snowmobiling has come a long way, with engines that have more hp than my GMC Sonoma, tons of suspension travel, decent brakes ( not much for brakes on these old gals)and go 100 mph.( if you’re into that) These were from a more simpler time, where you took the KIDS out, and putted along. It was big, huge in fact, and I had a gas ( and still do) We had “man’s” rides ( all out nuts) and the toned down “family” rides. This would be great for a vintage meet, but with lack of snow, and general down turn in these kinds of activities, many county’s are selling their trail groomers, and the trails get rough. Riding this all day, you’ll get the heck slammed out of you, and personally, my old back can’t take that anymore, and I have to have a sled with lots of suspension. Cool find. CLASSIC Barn Find, at least up north.

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  6. Oingo
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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Oingo, cool chart. I might disagree with some of the top speeds. Maybe down wind on ice, but going across the snow, I’ve never had those kinds of results. Besides, going really fast on a sled, is foolhardy. I have access to a Polaris 3 cylinder ( 600?) that I have ridden. It’s the fastest snowmobile I’ve ever ridden. ( matter of fact, I let off at 85, and there was more throttle to go yet) Pure silliness. Unless you are on a lake and even some of these have speed limits, the trails are just not meant to go 100 mph. Aside from alcohol related accidents, speed is the next biggest problem. (plus that really tears up the trails) Don’t get me wrong, few things are exhilarating as flying across the snow, at a reasonably high rate of speed, just not THAT fast. I remember, and didn’t see it on the chart, was a Rupp Nitro, and some of the Mercury sleds were pretty fast.

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  7. gary edlund

    I had one of these – They were Beautiful- But– Gas hog- Heavy-electrical Gremlins-& got stuck easily-Plenty of get up & go- But No top end- Probably the way they were Geared—-I still think about great style & looks- Like a Old girlfriend

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  8. Jay E Member

    It all depends on your perspective. My first sled was a sno-jet. Tired when I got it, yet it was freedom. It had all the problems and topped out at 20. Yet I didnt care, I finally had my own snowmobile. Ive been riding for 50 years and that first sled still beings some of the best memories.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Jay, I’ve been riding for 50 years as well, and I still enjoy it, as long as my back holds out. My situation was a bit different. The 1st sled was the ’69 Polaris Charger, as a kid, a family deal for our cottage. That thing NEVER ran right. Unless you took the hood off. Then, years later, I got a Scorpion Super Stinger 400, another AWFUL sled. Comfortable, but never ran right, and very hard to control. THEN I got my ’77 Yamaha 340 Exciter. FINALLY, a decent sled. Oil injection, handled great ( although rough ride) fast, I put a LOT of miles on that sled. Then got a tired 440 Exciter, then a 1980 SRX. The SRX was pretty fast, kept up with all the others, but handled awful, and puked the water pump twice. It wasn’t Yamaha’s best machine. I hadn’t ridden in many years, and now can ride a sled where I live,( he has 2) and that sure got things hummin’ again. I’d love to get another sled someday.

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  9. Scotty Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Sold, sold, sold; for $1,775!

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