Twin-Track Treat: 1974 Raider Double Eagle

As we’re on track (no pun intended) to get yet another foot of snow over the next day or so in the upper-Midwest, my thoughts always turn to Tucson. And after that, they turn to vintage snowmobiles, such as this 1974 Raider Double Eagle. The seller has it listed here on eBay in a city that knows a thing or two about snow: Waukesha, Wisconsin. There is a single bid of $3,500 and no reserve so it’s going to a new home.

A person can’t describe a snowmobile as being elegant too often but in this case, it fits. The Raider was really unique in that a rider sat down in them rather than on them such as with most other snowmobiles. It’s hard to believe that this Raider is almost five decades old. And, that I’m over five decades old, but that’s for another website dealing with vintage humans rather than vintage vehicles.

The condition is incredible on this twin-track posh ride. The seller has restored this one and they made a couple of slight modifications, such as the passenger “seat” – the pad on top of the rear engine compartment – wasn’t reinstalled. I’m guessing that it would be easy enough for the next owner to do that if they wanted to bring it back to more of what it would have looked like from the factory.

We never had anything as nice or fancy as a Raider when I was growing up in snow country. Ours were mainly old Ski-Doos or Moto-Skis, or a really old Arctic Cat 140D, but nothing even remotely as posh as a Raider. The Raider was only made for a handful of years really, from 1971 until sometime in 1975. There was a 1976 prototype but it never made it to production. I would want a little roll bar behind the seat but that’s just me. I’d be paranoid about tipping it over and you don’t fall off of one of these since you’re tucked down into it.

This is a beautiful restoration, wow. The seller has done many of these sleds it sounds like and they make and sell the drive sprockets which is pretty cool. The engine in the Double Eagle is an original Canadian Curtiss Wright (CCW) 438cc twin and the seller hasn’t used it that much but they say that it works fine. The brake lights don’t seem to be working but everything else is. Are there any vintage snowmobile fans out there?

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Comments

  1. MattR Member

    Count me as a fan after this find Scotty. I’ve never seen a sit-down sled like this. That must be fun as hell. Step up because you won’t see another one.

    Like 3
  2. Howard A Member

    Okay, same thing, someone totally unfamiliar with these,,and it’s entirely possible,,WOW,,,lookey there,,,,but in reality, this was probably the poorest rendition of a snow vehicle ever made. And where is the passenger supposed to sit? On topda motor? Good heavens, anyway, the CCW was a good motor, I had VERY poor luck with, these are heavy, unstable, and cold. Sitting behind a snowmobile motor provided at least some warmth. I knew a guy that had one, rode it once, and was so unstable, he never rode it again, plus they have a tendency to get stuck and a bear to get out. You want something to hang on your wall, here you go, but a poorer sled, I don’t think was ever built.

    Like 9
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Never saw one of these but I heard about them. They weren’t something to take to the mountains. John Deere used CCW engines in the first couple waves of snowmobiles. They were Okay, but some of the performance machines didn’t do well. The JDX8 was NOT good in sustained high speed operation. Of course, the engines made by Kawasaki weren’t much better…

      • PJH

        geomechs:
        Why do you say that about Kawasaki?
        They were pretty highly rated at the time (early 70’s) and still preferred by collectors today.
        Our 72 Arctic Cats (Panther and Lynx) had Kawi’s and never had a problem with them. Cat switched to Suzuki in 76 or 77 because of contractual issues last I remember, but the brand went on to build their own sleds till the end in 79 or so. Those Kawi’s were fast and pretty smooth all the time I rode them in our Cats.

        Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi PJH. In the last years that JD built snowmobiles, JD actually re-invented them. They were lighter, stronger and a lot more maneuverable. I cannot remember who supplied the engines for the Trailfire and Sportfire (they performed OK) but the Liquifire had the 440 engine made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Those were bogging, slobbering, pieces of junk that were extremely difficult to dial in. If you were going to the mountains you had to lean them right out but you would cook a piston back at home. Deere came out with no less than three mods to the carbs with the third one being new carburetors. I sometimes wonder if Kawasaki was trying to persuade JD to get out of the snowmobile business. Then Sno Jet started using Kawasaki engines in their liquid-cooled snowmobiles with almost ZERO problems. But then, there were likely some politics because Kawasaki was in the process of buying Sno-Jet. Deere eventually sold its snowmobile division to Polaris who promptly took those Tokyo Trash Cans “to the train.”

  3. On and On On and On Member

    Although I never rode one, I cant imagine how dangerous it would be in real world conditions. My feet stuck inside so I couldn’t lean or balance and shift my weight would seem dangerous in any but the best flat conditions. You still see them at sled races and gatherings as they are a novel item. These are for collectors and museums. IMO.

    Like 6
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Gregg, I think the creator of these had some success with flat track racing. The guy I knew that had one, tipped it over and was somewhat pinned. He was probably loaded at the time, we had a good laugh, but it could be serious.

      Like 3
      • MattR Member

        You know, you guys are right, I hadn’t thought of the handling here, just the rarity. I can’t imagine trying to drive a snowmobile where you can’t slide your butt around in the turn. This could be a death-trap.

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Matt, I did a LOT of snowmobiling, and more than once, I “survived”, because I flew off the machine. Just a swing and a miss here, is all.

        Like 2
  4. Kebbiker

    back in the day i did own one of the twin track “Raiders” and it was a blast to ride with its low go cart slide in position and manuverabliity until i learned the hard way not to drink an ride which seems to be the common thing among alot of snowmobilers when one track dug in and spun me sideways and flipped the machine landing on top of me body slamming me into the ground. if i recall correctly, i never rode it again and sold it. now in my wise old years i think it would be a slower more enjoyeable time for me to slide down in there and just kinda go a bit slower and more cautiously than back then. very unique sled.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      That’s a good point, when these came out, most of us were young and stupid, with nuts of steel, if we didn’t wipe out, we weren’t going fast enough. I had Yamahas that went FAST and handled like a go-kart, that pretty much took whatever I did to it. For slo-mo, which, as an old man is more attractive to me today, or in a working situation, It could work.

  5. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Nope, never seen one of these before either. Gimme a TNT or Cat any day of the week, but not something I sit inside of.

    Like 1
  6. Steve

    We had a twin track in the early 80’s it was called a Manta, with a roll bar and single light. It looked neat however it proved not that much fun when you got stuck in tight places, no reverse and no way one guy could lift it around. Looked mean, was excited when the new owner drove off with it

    Like 1
  7. Mark-A

    For some reason I can see it on Dennis Collins’ trailer behind a Golden Eagle Jeep, it’d b a pretty sweet rig

    Like 2
  8. michael h streuly

    Have never driven a snowmobile. Looks very cool. I think that if you drove this machine at a decent speed there would be no tommy tip overs. The ad says that it has 40HP is that correct.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      440’s fans, no matter who made them, generally ranged in the 40hp. dept. Liquid cooling bumped that up a bit, but for me, the added hassle of liquid cooled simply isn’t worth it. No tip overs,,,always great to enlighten someone. Snowmobile trails are pretty rough, caused mostly by these hooligans and their $12,000 Ski-doos( with GPS), tearing them up. Groomers used to smooth them out, for a while, but I’m sure with all the budget cuts, and groomers costing upwards of a quarter mil, in a rapidly waning sport, many places simply can’t afford them.
      See how screwed up everything is? When these came out, sledding was a family sport, $1,000 bucks got you 2 nice sleds AND a trailer. It’s why I’m so bitter about costs today. Back from a time when not everybody had to be a millionaire.

      Like 2
  9. vintagehotrods

    In 1975 and 1976 I was working at Stich’s Honda Kawasaki Skidoo dealership in Tea, SD. In the winters I was shipped out to Tea work on snowmobiles from the motorcycle dealership in Sioux Falls. We worked on everything, including Raiders. They were my favorites, unique and cool, a whole different experience from the Skidoos of that time. They were best for the groomed trails, as with all snowmobiles of that era, there wasn’t much suspension. With a Raider your butt absorbed those bumps instead of your legs, so you’d best avoid the bumps. I only tipped one over once, and it wasn’t a big deal, but then I took it pretty easy on the customers machines. They didn’t like it when you gave them back in worse shape!

    This one is an absolute gem, probably the nicest one I’ve ever seen and I don’t think you would never find a better one. Old snowmobiles of any type aren’t for riding, except to show them off, and this one would draw a crowd wherever it went.

    Like 1
  10. Brian

    As an avid snowmobiler, a former president of a state snowmobile association, and a guy who repairs, rebuilds, and restores vintage and antique snowmobiles, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll just say that I have owned and worked on many Raiders and I still own a ’74 Double Eagle like this one but in original condition. I know the person who restored this one and while it is too far from being a stock appearing restoration for my taste he does very nice work. Please don’t take this as an insult but the comments here are falling off my chair hilarious as just about all of them are so far away from being factual! Thank you for the laughs!

    Like 1
    • vintagehotrods

      Brian, what did you think of the $4000 selling price? High, low or about right?

      Like 1
      • Brian

        I think that was pretty darn high. Especially considering how far away from original it was. But like many things, the value is what someone is willing to pay for it. Congrats to Jerry and the new owner.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $4,000.

    Like 3
    • PJH

      That sold pretty high.
      I also bought a 74 dbl. eagle and from the same guy!
      I also found it on ebay and won the bidding at $1200.
      This one is a bit nicer but not all original (if that really matters or not, but to some it will).
      The paint isn’t original, but still looks good. ( I saw one of his before with a gold metal flake on it, which I liked. The original color is a harvest gold (popular in the 70’s) like in the last magazine ad picture) Haven’t ridden mine yet since I bought it but hope to customize it a bit first, then bring it out to the vintage shows when ready.
      BTW- The later ones were called Manta’s after the original Leisure Industries folded after 75 or so. Came back with a totally different design but still had the trademark twin tracks. All in all a cool ride. But at safe speeds!
      Would post a few pics, but don’t see a link for photo’s??

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