All Season Vehicle: 1971 Ridge Runner ASV

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..” Well, maybe it isn’t cold and snowy where you are, but for millions of us unlucky, or lucky, folks in areas that are cold and snowy at this time of year, here’s one for you. This is a 1971 Ridge Runner ASV. And, actually, this unique machine isn’t just for snow, it can be used in any season. This one is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $1,399.99; an interesting price.

Ridge Runners were made in Minneapolis, Minnesota and this particular Ridge Runner is located in Westcliffe, Colorado. This was the gold rush era for snowmobiles, or snow machines, where almost anyone and everyone was experimenting with ideas on how to get in on the snowmobile craze. This is a second-generation Ridge Runner, the first models weren’t quite as refined, if you can call this one refined. Maybe styled would be a better term. Yes, that’s a 10 cubic-foot baggage compartment under that lift-up panel in the back. It’s also where the 12-gallon gas tank is located and where 17,438 mice have lived and died over the past few decades.

This is the Ridge Runner ASV (All Season Vehicle) model, but the company also made an Aqua-Trac ASTV (All Season Track Vehicle). Although, they’re both tracked so I’m not sure why only the Aqua-Trac is referred to as an ASTV. These things weren’t fast, with a top speed of 25 mph, but they were versatile and were used by farmers and ranchers for chores, including using them in the winter, almost like what an ATV would be used for now: hauling hay bales, firewood, plowing, etc. Also for those of us who have heard of ice-fishing (everyone south of Iowa just fell asleep), they could haul your ice house and any gear that you’d need for a day of sitting on the ice and trying to catch fish through a 12-inch thick hole cut in the ice of a frozen lake. Doesn’t that sound like fun! These vehicles can easily sell for $4,000-$5,000+ in restored condition and this one looks pretty solid and complete.  The Ridge Runner came in red, blue, black, or yellow.

Here’s a YouTube video of a similar Ridge Runner speeding, ok, more like lumbering, across the snow. There are a few rough edges on this one, but you’ve been looking for an excuse to hone your fiberglass skills; here’s your chance. The bench seat is shot but that’s an easy fix. The convertible top is shot, but you can make one using the old one as a pattern. You can see the cracked windshield, and speaking of hard-to-find parts, the tracks will be the most unicorn-like. As with most old, custom snowmobiles, tracks will most likely have to be made from scratch, unless you’re Jay Leno or the Sultan of Brunei and can have a new set of tracks molded. There were a few options that a buyer could order, including electric start, a radio, a compass, bucket seats, a clock, a convertible top or a sliding hard top, and even turn signals! People don’t use turn signals on the roads, I can’t imagine anyone using them on a snowmobile trail!

This is Kohler’s 616 CC, 33 hp two-stroke and unfortunately, it hasn’t run since the 1980s, about the time that I stopped running. And, even more unfortunate, the transmission is out and is in pieces. Apparently, it went kaput and was taken out and, in what is most often the case, life went flying by and it just sat until now. This one is most definitely worth restoring as these are fairly valuable in great condition. And, even if it wasn’t monetarily valuable, it sure would be fun to own one of these things!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    What a great write-up. Scotty delivers yet again. A WHAT now? Scotty and I ( and many others here) live on about the same latitude, and life does slow down when it gets cold, but some folks just can’t sit and comment about oddball vehicles all day ( like me) and ice fishing is huge ( mostly to get wasted and get away from the old lady, neither of which applies to me) As Scotty sez, the 4×4 ATV has pretty much taken over these duties, but what’s the saying, ” necessity is the mother of invention” and this was how you dragged your fishing shack out onto the lake. I like the clear canopy, although, probably not too durable in the woods, and fumes may be an issue. Great find. Modern motor and drive, you’d have a nice unit.

  2. Jeffro

    So who else is thinking small block chevy?

    Just Joking

  3. Van

    How much beer will fit in 10 cubic feet.

    • Jeffro

      In the can/bottle or if you just pour it in and stick a straw in it?

  4. jcs

    Unless the transmission is an off the shelf unit like the engine (Kohler), repairing/replacing it could be a time consuming and expensive proposition.

  5. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Pretty cool rig. I am sure it was fun when new. I did not see a hitch on the back for pulling some type of sled or ice shanty. It would not pull one of the ice fishing condos I see on the hard water so often now. IDK, maybe two bales of hay? 0 bids as of now. Thanks Scotty, never saw one.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi leiniedude, in between the tracks is a pin type hitch. I never thought much of the Kohler motor. I’d think this would have a tough time pulling an inner tube, but I don’t think traction would be a problem.

  6. JW

    I could possibly use this where I’m headed for the holidays with family but I’ve already sent my Christmas list to Santa so I’ll have to pass. Have a Merry and safe Christmas everyone. JW

  7. Steven C

    Love the wood grain dash! Needs a vinyl covered hardtop with opera windows.

  8. J

    Acknowledging the problems with engine and track and transmission….could someone weld up a space frame and mount this ‘body’ over a modern small displacement sled?

  9. Jim Clark

    Nice! Minnesota made too- just like me!

    I remember seeing one of these scooting around in the early 80’s when I was taking my snowmobile safety course so I could use our Pumpkin Orange AMF.

    Cool Find!

  10. erikj

    really makes me want to get my early 80s seadoo going. Just moved to a snowy region and it is the last of things to move. Where I came from -very little if not,snow! Now I just saw green grass yesterday after a month. I only got the sled for the motor as a spare for a formula 440 racecar. sold the car,kept the sled .

  11. Dave Wright

    The transmission is the key to this machine. It has to be able to allow the tracks to move independently so it can steer. The engine and clutch are simple. Today, we would drive each track with hydraulics that are not difficult to control with valves. This appears to use mechanical control. It could be a nightmare.

  12. Howard A Member

    Looks like it has a heater, of sorts. Mmm, 2cycle fumes,,,

  13. G 1

    Not for ditch riding.

  14. Darren

    I wonder if one could adapt regular snow machine treads to work as replacements?

    Hey, wait….just got a flash: find an old golf cart, two wrecked (but mechanically-sound) sleds, ad a little ingenious engineering…who needs a SBC?? ;^)/

    • Dave Wright

      Tracks are not a big problem today, they can be custom made for about any application.

  15. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended. Starting bid of $1,399.99. 0 bids.

    • Dean Crimaldi

      Could I perhaps purchase the damaged transmission from you. There are numerous solutions to rebuilding the vehicle but not without parts and the transmission is pretty much unique. Dcrimaldi7@gmail.com

      • Gary

        I have an extra tranmission…

        Gary

        Like 1
  16. Gady

    Yes Yes at 1700.00 per track…i have been there..

  17. Robert reynolds

    I have one and would like to know where I can get parts

  18. Gary

    I just sold a complete unit… I have a brand now track for 475.00…
    Or you can buy my minty 1972 ridge runner…

    • Robert reynolds

      where are the tracks located , I’m in Colorado

    • Dean Crimaldi

      Did you sell the spare transmission I rebuilt mine but I know someone looking for one

  19. Robert reynolds

    Hi , i’m interested in the tracks you have and any other parts you may have , I live in Colorado , my number is 719-252-9933 , Thanks BOB

    • Gary

      Ok, I live in mn.

      952-217-9727

      Gary

  20. Robert reynolds

    I have a complete machine , I would sell for the right price . or I’d like to restore it ,I’m open for comments, 719-252-9933 BOB

  21. William Zemke

    I have a Blue Ridgerunner which I bought in 1973 It’s in great shape and runs good. I have all the transmission parts that the manufacturer had left. The transmission was built by Reuter in Minneapolis. If you need parts or clutches I have some. great site ! Bill @ 612 325 4098

    Like 1

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