Barn Fresh: 1978 Attex 500 Superchief

I’m betting that quite a few of you grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. Those decades seemed like the golden era for outdoor sports and the related machines that we used in our quest to get as little exercise as possible under our own power, i.e. walking, cross-country skiing, etc. This 1978 Attex 500 Superchief is one of those machines, one that I wish we would have had when I was growing up. This one can be found here on eBay in Millstone Township, New Jersey and the current bid price is just over $3,000 with no reserve.

The Attex 500 Superchief 6×6 has a high-density polypropylene body and it can float and be driven – or maybe driven isn’t the right word – through water. The seller says that this one floats as it should and even after a half-hour on the water it doesn’t take on a drop of water. The 500 Superchief weighs in at 600 pounds and it reportedly went up to 40 mph on land and 4 mph on water.

The seller found this one in a Pennsylvania barn and it’s in near-mint condition. It sure looks great in the photos. Even the tires, which should be Firestones, look perfect. There were a lot of options for these little rigs, including tracks and plows and many other things. Believe it or not, the company toyed with a battery-powered version in 1970 and they were throwing around a possible price of $3,000 for that one. $3,000 is about $20,000 in 2019 dollars, that’s a lot for a tiny, 800-pound ATV.

There aren’t many optional gauges on the dash of this one but buyers could get a windshield, rollbar, and even a fully-enclosed canvas top and clear plastic windows to keep riders dry. The Attex ATV was made from 1968 to around 1983 and they came in Bright Attex Yellow or Army Khaki colors. They were tough enough even for Wonder Woman and the company even made dirt bikes and a pop-up travel trailer.

The seller looked for a couple of years to find a nice example and they found this one and have owned it for three years. Oddly, they say that they’ve only used it twice in that whole time, they can’t bring themself to use it because it’s so nice. I have a car like that but I would love to have an Attex 500 Superchief to actually use. The engine should be a Fuji-Xenoah 484 two-stroke twin-cylinder from Chaparral. Yes, the company that made snowmobiles. A 16-hp four-cycle Tecumseh was optional. This one starts, runs, and operates perfectly, according to the seller. Have any of you owned a vintage 6×6 ATV?

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    LOL! Ya Scotty I had an Amphicat in like the mid 70’s. It was fun, not as fast as this is. My BIL had 2 in his barn, ‘barn find Amphicat’, so I bought one. They ran pretty good but were beat up. I took mine to a small river and I am glad I had a handfull of friends along. Started to sink like a rock. The tires were about bald so no real propulsion against a tricke of current in the small river. My friends jumped in and pushed and pulled her out. Man, we laughed are ash cans off! Cost me a couple of beers but was worth the laugh! Shortly after I moved to Utah. About 2 months later I got a check in the mail from Pop. It was in his shed. He sold it and some of my flathead HD parts. Happy Thanksgiving to all and thanks for the memory Scotty. This Thanksgiving with my turkey tv dinner I will toast one to my Dad and wishing I had that check in my hands today.

    Like 11
  2. Mike

    When I see these, I think Banana Splits.

    Like 23
    • Dave

      One banana, two banana, three banana, four…

      Today’s ear worm!

      Like 9
  3. Howard A Member

    In the pre-ATV days, you had some soggy property to look after, this was it. I read, in 1970, there were dozens of 6×6’s makers. These were slow, heavy, no restraining or roll over devices, crude by most respects. These have a funky drive system made up of long roller chains that drove the wheels, that flew off. I think a modern ATV would be a better bet today.

    Like 3
  4. Grandpa Lou

    Does MAX ATV still make something like this?

  5. angryjonny

    I seem to recall an Amphicat used in a chase scene in an episode of Blake’s 7. Those old BBC sci-fi shows (Blake’s, Who) used a lot of funky tech to portray a “futuristic” sense. Spray painted bubble wrap and toy blasters can go a long way.

    Like 1
  6. Bill Johnson

    I had one growing up. It was sold by sears. Loved that thing single seat up front with bench in back. Had to sell when I was in college. Wish I still had it!

    Like 1
  7. Christopher

    My neighbor Mr. Victor was a welder. In the late 60’s, SoCal Edison came to him wanting a 6x for checking out power lines. He came up with the prototype similar to what you see here, that everyone copied. It was revolutionary and very successful. Brings back a lot of great memories.

    Like 2
  8. Richard Gugenberger

    My Brother Dan bought a Attex new in 1970 it was powered by a single cylinder 2 stroke JLO , He put a snow plow on it a winch raised the plow , and had an canvas enclosure with plastic windows , and a lexan windshield with wipers , it went rather well in mud wet soggy places and also went in water it did a good job plowing snow also, had a lot of fun with it Hunting , camping etc . The big down fall was the tires were bonded to the rims and if you got a flat or torn tire you had to buy a tire and rim . he had it for many years .

    Like 1
  9. Karl

    When I was little I called these machines Jiggers, have no clue where that came from? I got to drive a couple different ones and they went through a heck of a lot of mud very well and I would sure believe the 40 mph speed claim both machines I got to drive had more or less a snowmobile engine clutch setup and I must say they sure seemed to work very well. Neat machines!

    Like 1
  10. Mike

    I am not sure if it is an Attex, but this is one of the better old skool videos of a modified 6x6x6. Craig is the guy that did the mods and was/is quite the mechanic and in the early 1990’s stuck a 550 Polaris engine in the thing. The action kicks into gear at about 1:00 minute into the video where you can hear the thing screaming and then bursting into view. The inevitable chain break occurs and then some extremely low-key but very funny dialogue takes place. https://vimeo.com/35851601

    Like 1

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