Snow-Cycle: 1979 Chrysler Sno Runner

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What do you get when you cross a motorcycle with a snowmobile? You get a Chrysler Sno Runner, which I had never heard of or seen before tonight. Thanks to reader Jim S. for sending in this great find–Jim commented that this vehicle must not be for the faint of heart! I’d have to agree! It’s located in Cincinnati, Ohio and is listed here on eBay, with bidding currently below $500.

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As best as I can tell after some research, Chrysler Marine may have originally developed these for the armed services, but they decided not to purchase the design. Chrysler detuned the machine for mass consumption and first offered them for sale to the public in 1979. Apparently there are a lot of different stories about the development of the Sno Runner–if you’re interested, you can read more here.

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The seller tells us that it’s been sitting for about two years, and that the air cooled 2 cycle engine probably needs a new air cleaner. I’m guessing there will be some fuel system work needed as well. Surprisingly, parts are available at snorunner.com, along with both new and refurbished Sno Runners. Based on their pricing of the complete vehicles, if this one stays under $1,000 it will be surprising.

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The seller tells us that some of the cleats are missing on the single track. I didn’t find a track at the snorunner.com store, but the air cleaner is there for $29.00. Perhaps the owners of the site could help you track down a used or new part.

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When I first saw this, I asked myself if I’d ride it, and the answer came back a resounding “Yes!” I can see it being a lot of fun, although having a second one and a friend to race with would be even better.

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Would you ride one, and if so, do you think you’d have as much fun as the girl in the ad above apparently is? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. MH

    I know of these. Never rode one but always wanted to. Could be alot of fun.

  2. grant

    OH HELL YES!!!! Never heard of or seen one before now, but I know what my next dangerous toy is.

    Like 2
    • Kelly

      I happen to have one that runs. I’ll sell it to you. Mine is valued over $4500

  3. Glenn from Wisconsin

    Another trip to the ER

  4. Healeydays

    Common stuff in NH. Here’s one for sale.

    http://nh.craigslist.org/snw/5417727500.html

  5. AMC STEVE

    Portable snow mobile. Looks like something out of my GI JOE collection!

    • ydnar

      Hmmmm.

  6. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow super cool. Thanks for including this one it’s new to me. I’d love to drag it out to this year’s CEMA car show.

    Like 1
  7. `11

    How cool, never knew these existed

  8. MountainMan

    Dont know how my name got changed but call me ’11 i guess

  9. Howard A Member

    Now here’s a blast from the past. The “Sno-Runner” was made in Hartford, Wis., apparently, not as a military item, but a last ditch effort to ward off bankruptcy for the failing Chrysler Marine. Chrysler bought the old West Bend outboard plant in the 60’s ( which was the old Kissel Car factory). It was then sold to Force outboards, which became part of the Mercury Marine company. The Sno-Runner was a colossal failure. While the concept was good, it had an under powered motor,( the restrictive muffler cut power by 30% some claim) and anything over 3 or 4″ of snow, it was useless. They had high hopes of selling millions, but estimates say less than 25,000 were made. I tell ya’, what a great site, you never know what is going to show up here. Great piece of Wisconsin history here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdJLSEJ-LeU

    Like 1
  10. Sofst1

    Thanks for including this crazy machine on the site , I’ve owned it for a couple of years and used it twice( lack of snow around these parts) and was a blast to drive. Bought it from an old closed Honda motorcycle store, hope the next owner is in the snow belt so they can enjoy it to the maximum .

    Like 1
  11. jim s

    sold for $ 1065.

  12. Marcus

    I had one years ago. Cute novelty, fun to ride, but more of a “sno-ped” than anything else.
    Upgraded to a Snow Hawk in 2008 and never looked back!

    • Gary A Puckett

      man flashback to my childhood!! yes my family owned 2 of them 1 was mine and other was my fathers and it was alot faster than mine. but a awesome experience. just like a lil dirt bike on snow! boy did the golf course hate us on them but couldn’t help it!!

  13. Rick

    I owned one yrs ago.I purchased it for $288.00 from a warehouse consolidator C.O.M.B saw the ad in a PM magazine. It was ok in light snow,but not good in anything deep. I gave it to a buddy whem I moved to Fl yrs ago,I should have kept it they are selling on Ebay for $1000.00

  14. Roger

    Ha, my dad worked for Chrysler during that time and had the privilege of riding one as a kid. Fun and scary at the same time. I would.love to ride one again though. Good memories!

  15. Gary Ilminen

    I restored a ’79 Sno-Runner that I got in July ’16. The thing is a blast to ride and it’s probably good that it won’t go over 35 mph. On icy, rutted trails, it is pretty twitchy–makes me wish I was a regular off-road motorcycle rider in the summer so I’d be better on that kind of surface. On good, groomed trails or new snow with a good base, it is a dream to ride. Here are my articles about it: “Chrysler Sno-Runner Cryotherapy-hope for Motorcyclist Winter Doldrums,” Ultimate Motorcycling, Aug. 2016.
    https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2016/08/10/chrysler-sno-runner-cryotherapy-hope-motorcyclist-winter-doldrums/

    “Chrysler Sno-Runner Restoration Complete,” Ultimate Motorcycling, Dec. 2016.
    https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2016/12/28/chrysler-sno-runner-restoration-complete-motorcyclist/

    Like 2
    • Bobsmyuncle

      Cool project, and great article!

  16. Dale

    I presently have 4 of these unique machines but have not ridden any for a couple years do to lack of snow in northern Ohio. Some neighbors had a couple so we would have the “Sno Rabbitt races at our house with a ‘Powder Puff” race, trophies and all. Some of the trophies had actual Rabbitt feet attached. I have a wood burner heated garage with overhead doors front and back that we used for the “Bunny Pits”. These machine have a nylon rope starter that if you didn’t park them in a heated area, the rope would freeze from all the melted snow on the hot engine if it was cold out. I found a brand new F/M mini bike kick starter that matched up perfectly to the West Bend engine. Only problem, the Bunny starter iis mounted on the right side so when I went to test it the gearing reversed the motor rotation and the 2 stroke ran backwards! They don’t want to go in reverse. Thought I was really on to something.

    Great site. Dale Kurzen, Massillon, Ohio

  17. LuAnn

    I worked for Chrysler and won one years ago in a giveaway that they had. We used it a lot when we first got it. It was a pretty fast, dangerous little machine! My mother-in-law had a rather large lot and my husband built an obstacle course with little mounds of snow and trails. We also used it in the large field down the street from us. It sat in my basement for several years, not sure what was wrong with it, gave it to my brother who expressed an interest in it a few years back. Good news, my brother called to tell me that he got it running after rebuilding the carb. He wants to take it to the 50th anniversary of the International 500 in Sault Sainte Marie later this month.

  18. CC In NH

    I have one that is brand new – never even been started. Found it in an old warehouse that was owned by a deceased family member and was given it. It needs a new track, but otherwise it is complete. What’s it worth?

    Like 3
  19. Glenn from Wisconsin

    It is good for one trip to the Emergency Room!

    Like 1
  20. CC from NH

    Only one?

  21. John Bastan

    I have owned one for years and was a blast to ride especially when my son was young. It is now totally restored to like new condition with heavy engine mods and dual carbs. Can be seen by google snorunner modified restoration completed and am presently building a dual rear track with 25 hp 460cc monster from NRRACING with much thanks to snorunner.com for parts. Pics and video to follow.

    Like 2
  22. James Wahl

    I have one that was rebuilt 4 years ago. It’s been in storage for 3.
    Looking to trade for a ” hot rod” golf cart, or a 2 seater atv.

  23. Raftafarian

    I have owned one for three years and love it. It is a bit underpowered at 6500 feet, but I haven’t tried adjusting the tillotson carb yet. Easy to load in my truck and fun to ride. Do yourself a favor and buy one of these units, if you see one for sale, but the $1000 price for a unit at snorunner.com seems a bit high.

  24. Lawrence Janulis

    i have 2, ln the shed about 10 years.one has thin head gasket and different drive gear will do 45 plus.

    • Mike

      Interested in selling one or bartering?

      • James Wahl

        What would you offer for it?
        Runs, but needs the carb cleaned, (old fuel-not rust), and it will run.
        I used it…

  25. Jim

    Nice!
    Does it have the same torque as a stock one?

  26. Lawrence Janulis

    i could not say.

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