Man Cave Cleanout: 1973 Arctic Cat Cheetah

The seller of this 1973 Arctic Cat Cheetah isn’t looking for much scratch for this vintage snow machine, asking a measly $300 for what’s claimed to be a “man cave” find in Pennsylvania. The description notes the elderly owner parked it in his trailer many years ago and hasn’t touched it since. It has the usual running when parked disclaimer on it, which isn’t worth much when it comes to reviving an old snowmobile that’s worth about $800 in mint condition. Still, if you own a 340 or are restoring one currently, there could be a treasure trove of parts up for grabs. Find it here on eBay in Honesdale, PA.

When doing some digging about this particular model, it seems to be fairly well regarded, even if not necessarily collectible. The fact that this example still has its “340” graphics on the side of the body is a hard-to-find feature on rough examples like this, but that’s one of the few superlatives I can find about the cosmetic condition. The pictures don’t tell a great story, but if the hood is cracked, it will turn any snowmobile collectors watching right off. The other issues usually stem from damaged belly pans, missing components, and seats needing upholstery work – not to mention non-running engines.

I believe the 340s came with a fan-cooled Kawasaki motor, which is generally regarded as a decent mill with good parts availability. The seller doesn’t mention if any attempt has been made to start it up, but based on the photos and the description, it seems unlikely. What does seem likely, however, is that the gas tank will need to be dropped and cleaned out. The general consensus is that the Cheetah was a reasonably quick sled for the era, and handled well. There’s a large community of vintage snowmobile enthusiasts in the northern reaches of New York State and throughout New England, and these collectors and riders hold regular events that I’m sure a sled like this would be welcomed at.

Now, here’s the cool thing: whenever you research one of these, there’s always a few posters who mention how hard it is to find an example with its cheetah-themed seat upholstery still intact. This is a shocker to me, as considering the rest of the state of the sled, seeing that nicely preserved upholstery pattern blew my mind. Perhaps there’s more potential here than initially thought, but as someone who has never restored a snowmobile let alone ridden one, I’ll leave that to our experts to sort out. Is this man cave find Cheetah 340 a good deal at $300? Is it worth restoring or just a parts sled?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Friend of mine had a 440 Cheetah like this, dang, we had a lot of fun. This is a Kawasaki motor. Earlier Arctic Cats used Kohler motors, but in the 70’s( and beyond) it was Kawasaki. Like the cabover trucks, a step back in history, as today, modern snowmobiles have GPS, power ports, long travel suspensions, go 100 mph and cost upwards of $12,000 DOLLARS!! This was for a time, when this was as good as it got. We had family fun for $500 bucks ( with a trailer) and you know, it really was good enough. My kids loved it. I sure miss the fun we had on snowmobiles, btw, I realize the irony of that statement with me living in the Rocky Mountains, but 50 feet of snow, and every rental sled( $50/hr) comes with “avalanche poles”,,,,um,,no thanks. I think this is a great find as many were scrapped.

    Like 4
    • Brian

      Arctic Cat hooked up with Suzuki in the mid ’70’s and all Cats were Suzuki powered right up until just a few years ago. The Kawasaki engines used by Cat in the early ’70’s was dropped in part due to many reliability issues and that Kawi wanted to build their own sleds.

      Like 1
  2. Steve R

    There is generally a big difference, condition wise, between something stored in a man cave and something abandoned in a trailer. This fits what the latter would look like. If nice examples sell for $800, then holding out for a better one than this would be wise based on the asking price. This is a reminder that “cheap” does not equal “value”.

    Steve R

  3. Mr Exotherm

    This will fetch the $300 ask any day of the week. Also, the value of a mint condition example is far above $800 even if the Cheetah isn’t terribly collectible. Worth restoring? Depends on the overall condition but the parts are likely worth far more than the ask here.

    Like 3
  4. On and On On and On Member

    I think this unit would clean up nicely…….if you look close, nothing looks tattered or worn, just ugly dirty…..3200mi is actually not bad for these if they used proper fuel mix, and a Kawasaki engine is a plus in my world……

    Like 4
  5. Vance

    Artic Cat was the cream of the crop in the 1970’s, very fast, good handling, and really pushed the idea of a snow machine for every member of the family. My friends El Tigre 440 was really fast for the time. The only machine faster was the Kawasaki Invader which another friend’s brother owned. That machine was liquid cooled, and changed the look of machines forever. It was very sad when he was killed on it. 90mph + on a snow machine is too fast. If you have never rode one, put it on your bucket list.

    Like 3
  6. Jim

    I had this same exact sled. It was fun, you could throw it around real easy. Actually you had to just to stay right side up. After riding a polaris indy I just couldn’t go back to it at the time.

  7. PaulG

    Grew up with these in far north NYS and in the late 60’s through the 70’s we had a blast on all manner or snowmobiles. Living in AZ for 45 years I hadn’t been one one and when I did it was totally different, but still a blast!
    BTW Jeff, its a cowl, not a hood…

    Like 4
  8. Grid Member

    We moved back to VA from ME for VA’s last good snow 12/79.For a couple of weeks we were the only form of rapid transit on a pair of MotoSkis (440JLO), even picking up and delivering nurses to the hospital.The kids went headlong into a tree with one, and didn’t see a ditch with the other. Both totaled, but everybody survived. At my age and worn out body now I’d have to pay somebody to ride mine if I had one, and let me know if it were still fun!

    Like 5
  9. 433jeff

    I’m with Vance when the Invader hit the centerfold of snow goer magazine ( or whichever One it was) The picture of the cowl with the big lake drop back will be forever engrained in my mind, I had an interceptor ( even more spectacular) even today the invader is a great looking sled. Sleds were different back then. Simple, my favorite is the 73 sno jet SST with 433 Yamaha, light nimble, would stay in a wheelie like no other sled, and I could more it around a lot easier on a trail than my now old Polaris ultra

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