Never Ridden on Trails! 1974 Raider Eagle 400

This 1974 Raider Eagle 400 snowmobile is described as a lightly-used example, with the seller explaining that it was never used on trails but just across open fields on their family farm. The Raiders featured a unique design comprised of a rear-mounted engine, cockpit-style seating, and a dual-track design. With just 433 miles, it remains in excellent condition with no obvious cosmetic flaws to report. With just a weak battery listed as its primary mechanical fault, the Raider seems like it should be ready to give its next owner years of trail-happy touring. Find it here on eBay with bidding over $2,300 and the reserve unmet.

While I am by no means a snowmobile expert, it took me a minute to realize what was so different about the Raider’s design. Sure enough, it was the engine mounted in the rear and the driver’s seat nestled down below the sides of the machine. With most riders sitting atop their snowmobile, the Raider provides a much more cosseted experience. These were not produced for a particularly long period of time, with Raider snowmobiles manufactured from 1971 to 1975. The company was the brainchild of one Bob Bracey, who was involved in the development of the Ford Mark IV Le Mans race cars, according to this excellent article on SnoRidersWest.com.

That is not the kind of seat you’d expect to see in a snowmobile of any era, and it looks downright luxurious compared to how most snow machines are equipped. From the limited information available about the company’s history, it seems the Raider was challenged by sales volume and the changing landscape of emissions requirements, which led to many “new” models simply being a rehash of unsold examples from the previous year. There seems to be a limited following today that proclaims Raider snowmobiles to be thoroughly capable machines that can reach decent speeds, despite the fact they look heavier and more ponderous that other snowmobiles with a more traditional cockpit design (just this author’s opinion).

Engine options seemed to range from Briggs & Stratton 4-cycle engines to Kohler AS/2 fan cooled twin cylinder engines. The seller doesn’t specify which one his 400 has, but I’m sure one of our readers can identify what mill is powering this oddball snowmobile. While there is demand for vintage equipment like this, especially among circles of racers that still prefer old-school snowmobiles, I’ve heard parts sourcing can be a challenge, especially considering how many manufacturers are no longer in business. For a collector, I can see this vintage Raider being of interest given its clean condition and the fact that the original graphics are still intact – but is it too obscure for casual snowmobile enthusiasts?

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Comments

  1. Ruede Mcgriff

    You lose the heat from the engine to keep you warm

    4
    • Jerry Schmitt

      Not true, You are completely out of the wind, and the engine heats up the seat!

      3
  2. daniel

    its a 400 CCW ,it was a good engine the Raider was a fun machine ,it would go anywhere just to be careful not to roll it over you were trapped in it,which if I remember help lead to its end

    • Jerry Schmitt

      Also not true. And these were and are nearly impossible to tip over.

  3. Daren

    Looks like two stroke fan with the fan on the right and the hot air exit on the left by the muffler.

    • Matt Haufe

      It’s a two stroke CCW.

      1
  4. Jerry Schmitt

    The engine is a CCW/Kiortz 32hp 400cc two stroke engine, made in Japan. Parts availability is actually pretty good. I manufacture drive sprockets and windshields for them. The survival rate for them was pretty good, so there are lots of parts sleds out there. Yes, they are a blast to ride. I’ve been a fan of them since they were new. At 45 mph, you feel like you are in an Indy race car. The rear engine and weight bias make them handle like a Porsche 911.

    3
  5. Mr. Bond

    I would think the conventional design won out because you can easily use your body to lean and rock the machine when it gets’ stuck, Also easier to get on/off, rather than in/out. And I imagine the snow would collect in that seat, and turn into a puddle.

    However, nice to see people try to make a go of a different design.

    3
  6. Howard A Member

    It was a novel idea, and I believe this guy did well racing one of these, but for just riding, there’s a reason it has only 400 miles, which by the looks of the tracks and general condition, I don’t believe because A), they were miserable to ride in deeper snow,B) the speedo quit long ago, or C) the motor never ran right to put any miles on. I had a CCW in a Scorpion sled, plenty of power, but never ran right. Ran too hot, I believe, and with the fan exit pointed straight at the muffler, this will run like crxx too. Snowmobiles need to be agile, and be able to be thrown around. It’s why snowmobiles have evolved into the “praying mantis” of today, these were slugs, requiring 3 stout friends if it got stuck. Great for a collector that likes “swings and misses”, otherwise, no thanks.

    2
    • On and On On and On Member

      True about the engine Howard, I too had a Scorpion with a CCW 400 engine. It was called a ‘Super Whip’ if I remember correctly. Had a ‘Walbro’ carburetor, a POS. Would never start when hot and fouled the plugs in no time. Repeatedly blew head gaskets. This Raider is definitely cool, would be fun at vintage rallys and bar hopping on frozen lakes, but thats it. Plus no room for Sweetie Pie to hang on in back of you!

      3
  7. rustylink

    the biggest draw back I see design wise is the limited sight line – sitting low vs, sitting up – and being able to see down a trail a little longer.

  8. d

    Trails are groomed. Farm fields have corn rows that unless there is a lot of snow are rough as Hell.

    2

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