One Lunger Approved: 1967 Yukon King

In my neck of the woods in coastal Rhode Island, we’re experiencing a fierce winter storm already resulting in whiteout conditions. It seems fitting, then, that this barn find Yukon King snowmobile pops up on eBay, as that’s the the only vehicle I’d feel comfortable venturing out in on a day like today (OK, a vintage FJ40 would work as well). This vintage snow machine has a short, but colorful, history in the world of snowmobiles. Find it here on eBay for $800 and located in Gardiner, Maine.

It’s also appropriate that this Yukon King is located in Maine, another area soon-to-be-whacked by the mother of a winter storm. Of course, to be out in 50+ m.p.h. blizzard gusts on a snowmobile would likely require more weather protection than this model currently offers, but it at least had a windscreen. Yukon King gained notoriety for its highly competitive Grizzly sleds, which was the first major launch from the fledgling company. It went on to win multiple races at sanctioned races around the country in the ’67-’68 season.

Based on the less-than-helpful photos, I don’t believe this is the Grizzly but rather an earlier “Husky” model. The Grizzly had some fairly high-performance features for the era in which it was made, including a 20 b.h.p. twin. From the scant resources I can find online, I believe the Husky models made do with about 8-10 b.h.p. If anyone has better intel than I do, feel free to respond below. I am digging the period registration stickers still affixed, and wonder if this Husky has a sporting past.

Why, you may ask? The seller mentions that he pulled this Yukon King out of a barn being torn down years ago. The town of Gardiner is known for its historic architecture and buildings, and Maine is famous for its competitive vintage snowmobile scene. The seller mentions wanting to use this in Maine’s legendary “One Lunger” races, which looks like a hoot to me. Read about the races here in Downeast magazine, and you may want to buy this one for yourself.

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Comments

  1. Mark S.

    Ahhhh, I remember those days, when you rode for 3 hrs and then wrenched on your sled for 8.

  2. CoolHluke

    Hey, What happens behinds the woodshed stays behind the woodshed. That race sounds sadisticly fun can’t be that bad with pretty ones like her there

  3. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice find! Ha, Mark S. nailed it! Smelling like gas all day, having to carry, and use, several spare spark plugs, etc.. Ahhhh.. the romance of a simpler (?) time..

  4. XMA0891

    (Still) have a ‘69 “One-Lung” Panther quietly mothballed in my barn, just waiting for me to wake it from its thirty-plus year nap. I’d forgotten that I used to have to carry spare plugs, a drive belt, and wrenches in the front toolbox! I am confident they’re still in there. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Frank

    Thanks for posting this. My first sled was a 1971 Ski-Doo Elan when I was a kid. Rode for hours and hours on that thing. Broke the recoil and used a rope to start it. It back fired, fouled plugs, had a missing bogie wheel and I stuck of gas. The seat rotted away and I put a Dodge Tradesman van seat on it. Still miss that sled.

    Like 1
  6. Dave Mc

    Sachs, JLO, Rotax. Can’t remember the rest. All of the old ones I had were either one motor or the other.

    • Dave Mc

      Hirth and Kohler.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I believe these came with a twin cylinder Lloyd engine as well.

  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    Never heard of Yukon King, but there were over 200 makes of snowmobiles at this time. Might be worth saving if it was in nice shape. Anybody that’s old enough to have actually ridden these things, knows, snowmobiling has come a long way. One never ventured too far with these, and really, at that time, it was a different sport. One didn’t go barreling through the woods at breakneck speeds, covering 200 miles in a day on these new “Star Wars” type sleds. It was a slow family sport, and you putt-putted around the bay at 10 mph dragging a kid on an inner tube or on ski’s, and still having fun.( despite the smoke screen) My 1st sled was a 1969 Polaris Charger. It also had a single, a 16hp JLO, which I believe is what this is. It never ran right with the cowl on, and the drive system was horribly under-engineered. And bogey wheels, we rolled that sled many times. And remember how they screwed up TV reception, when they ran? That wasn’t well received either.Yep, we’ve come a long way.

    • mike

      We had a ’69 Skidoo Olympic 320. 18hp one lunger. We rode that old sled, on the trails, all winter. It would do 50 or so….At the crisp age of 11, I never thought about getting hurt. LOL!

  8. On and On On and On Member

    My first sled was a Scorpion Stinger. OMG Mark S. is right, Ride and then fix em that night. We were lucky and had a heated garage up in Hayward Wisconsin. How goofy were we? God we had fun. Never go out alone or without a tow strap. We still sled but now we have awesome, powerful, comfortable, and dependable machines. If you like cars and powerful machinery better give it a try. Good times.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      My 2nd sled was a ’73 Scorpion Super Stinger 400. http://www.vintagesnowmobiles.50megs.com/1973_Scorpion_Super_Stinger_400_RV.jpg
      It was a neat design, had a CCW 400 twin, that wouldn’t run once it got hot. Also, it would not go in a straight line, for some reason. It also had what was called “para-rail” suspension. It wasn’t quite bogey suspension, not quite slide. All the bogey wheels were on a rail, and moved in unison. It was a poor setup. My next sled was a ’77 Yamaha Exciter,,,that changed everything.

      • On and On On and On Member

        Same sled I had. Did yours have the famous and worthless ‘Walbro” carburetor?

      • On and On On and On Member

        You’re lucky to have gotten into Yamaha sleds early. I had a couple Ski-Doos, Several Polaris sleds which I thought were the best till I bought a !998 Yamaha V-Max 600. Still have it and still ride it. No reason to buy a new one till this one dies. Dependable, sturdy, and well engineered. I’d really like to move up to a four-stroke, but at 67 don’t ride that much but still don’t want to give it up. Who knows what’s next in life anyhow. Maybe a 4-wheeler!!!!

  9. craig

    A friend of mine had one of these for a few seasons, used it as a mule to haul a sled full of gear to his remote Maine cabin in the winter. He also would haul a sled full of friends, food and alcohol once the gear was in. That thing was a brute to handle, drove it many times. This was in the late 90’s, that sled was a relic even then.

    And i’ve attended the one-lunger races, what a great time.

  10. Grid Michal Member

    When I moved to Maine I was invited by a friend in Presque Isle to go sledding one weekend. I got up there Friday night (from Portland) got up dressed in my jeans and wool jacket. Whre’s your snowmobile suit? My Waht? (Repeat).Hey–I’m tough, let’s go. We went. About a mile later they noticed I wasn’t there. They came back, put me on somebody’s sled back to the house where they poured a bottle of peach brandy in me, measured me for a suit, took my Amex and did me up right. That was the last time I went sledding cold or inebriated. The following weekend I bought a 70 MotoSki with a 440JLO that was misdiagnosed as having a bad piston. Bad plug, yes. Gawd that thing flew! 6 years later we moved to VA, enjoying the last great snow (1980) where my daughter t-boned it against an immovable oak.I know I’m too old for memories like that, but I’d like to drive one just one more time and get it outta my system!

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Great story! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Dave Mc

    My uncle had a sno jet, Evinrude Skeeter, and the unique Bolens Diablo Rouge. A little more work to drive than your average machine.
    For a kid anyway.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=juGHAo1my9U
    My dad bought me a ’67 Rupp Sno Sport and the crank broke the first time I took it out in the field so I was assigned the Skeeter.

  12. Jack

    @Jeff Lavery
    I live in Newport, RI.
    My snow blower looks to be in better condition than this thing. I hope you were not planning on buying it and driving it home…
    Took me a few hours to clear out the driveway this morning though.
    I did see some snow mobiles flying down the street last night, so you were not the only one with that vision.
    Jack

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Jack, sorry for the delay. Hope you’re shoveled out. I’m grateful for the neighborhood kid with a snowblower. -Jeff

  13. Ben

    My first sled’s were 2 1969 Yamaha SL-351 twin cyl Like every body above said ride fix ride fix smell like fuel they were actually quite smooth and fast for the era . I widend the ski mount’s on one of them and added shock’s Also added vent’s in the hood’s as they actually ran s a bit hot put many many mile’s on them
    I was the best part’s customer at the dealer ran them 8 season’s Both ran great when I sold them. Live in Florida now but have some great memory’s

  14. Del

    Put it back in de Barn

  15. KKW

    I learned to ride on a 66 Ski-Doo Alpine, after that, a 68 Chaparral. Have owned many Ski-Doos and Scorpions, still an avid rider to this day. Never heard of a Yukon.

  16. Tim W

    I had a mid 70s’ Allis-Chalmers Terra-Tiger 6 wheeler with a single cylinder JLO 2-stroke. After a cylinder bore and a new piston, that thing ran like a scalded cat! Never had a sled, though….

  17. Alford Pouse Member

    After reading some of these replys I wonder about some of the planes flying now days with the Rotax and similar engines! LOL

    Like 1
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      You know, Alford, I’ve always been intrigued by ultralights. Think of the classics you’d find. However, trusting my life to a snowmobile motor is not for me.

  18. Mountainwoodie

    Man when I read these accounts of the weather on the East Coast, vintage snowmobile or no snowmobile, my decision to decamp to the West Coast back in ’78 seems to have been the right move!

    Stay warm folks!

  19. Lane B Sonnenberg

    My arm and shoulder arthritis i am sure is due to pulling the start rope on a EL Tigre 500.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Tell me about it. As recently as last winter, the farm I lived at, the guy had one of those 3 cylinder Polaris sleds.(600?) Wicked fast, but a bear to start. I pulled that stupid rope for a half an hour, went through every plug he had on the farm. Finally, on the last set of plugs, it fired ( but only on 2) Electric start is a must have for me.

  20. Bob

    I’m curious what this will go for?

    I bought a piece of property and there was one on it. I let a guy take it just to get it off the property.

  21. jackthemailman

    Coastal Rhode Island? Is there anyplace in RI that’s NOT within 25 miles of the ocean?

    • Jack

      Lol, actually everybody in RI jokes that it only takes an hour to get from one corner to the other, but in miles Burrillville is actually 50 miles from the Ocean Coast. There is actually 400+ miles of coastline in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Yeah – the small scale makes a big difference. When I lived in Providence, I considered myself inland. Now I live next to Greenwich Bay and it feels “coastal.”

  22. Mike READING

    back in high school i bought a new 71 sno jet 19 hp hirth motor. i think i paid $800 for it. my girl friends father co signed a loan for me to buy it. my girl friend then now my wife of 45 years and together 49 years had many good memories and a few bad ones till we sold in 1999 when we moved from western new york to east tn. the guy that bought it couldn’t believe it still started and moved under it’s own power. dad passed away. 8 years ago my mother in law about 5 years ago they were great in laws i miss them dearly. they lived wth us till thier passing.

  23. Grid Michal Member

    http://www.radass.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Radass-Daily-Pic-Dump-041.jpg

    Not certain how to post this link, but this is what I REALLY want!!

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