Vintage Snowmobile: 1965 Arctic Cat 100D

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Arctic Cat is a brand of snowmobile (and other off-terrain products) that has been around since 1960. The company was started by one of the founders of Polaris, which would become one of its main competitors. The 100 was the first model offered with a front-mounted engine and this 1965 edition doesn’t run and needs a cosmetic restoration. Located in the heart of snow country, Brainerd, Minnesota (remember the movie Fargo?), this little project is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $1,650. Thanks for the nifty tip, NW Iowa!

In the 1960s, the snowmobile was Arctic Cat’s primary product, but since then they have branched off into other off-road products like watercraft and related gear. In recent years, the company was acquired by Textron which provided additional capital for the company to continue to grow. As product lines expanded, the 100 was added to the lineup in 1964, which had a front-mounted engine (not unlike a lawn mower motor) that produced seven horsepower which could propel the snowmobile up to 30 mph.

This 1965 100D looks to have been off the road for a while, so it’s likely been some time since it scaled its last snowdrift. The treads/tracks look to be the most worn and may take the most amount of work. We’re told the engine has compression, so it may be a matter of getting an adequate fuel flow to get the vehicle going again. The seat bottom is not pictured but the seller has it (it would go where the collection of leaves resides today).

The seller is willing to trade for another pre-1966 snowmobile, so perhaps he/she is already flush with 100s and wants something different. Said seller can also deliver it to the Princeton Swap, but we can’t find online when or where that is. If you’ve been wanting a cool old snowmobile, this one is offered at about 10% of the starting price for a new Arctic Cat.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Scotty GilbertsonStaff

    Fantastic find, NW Iowa, and great write-up as always, Russ! I have a 1966 Arctic Cat 140D, a somewhat smaller, more “modern” version but with the same 8hp Kohler engine. Vintage snowmobiles are huge here in Minnesota, thanks for showing this one!

    Like 11
    • HoA Howard AMember

      :),,,you know, my friend, what I miss the absolute most about the upper midwest, is the snowmobiling. BTW I realize the irony of that statement living in the Rocky Mtns. While the scenery would be the ultimate, 600 foot drop offs and “avalanche poles” included with every sled, aren’t for a flatlander like me,( @ $300/ afternoon) I’ll take my( our) northwoods trails, thank you.
      I suppose we can go right down the list of machines humble beginnings, and what they’ve evolved into today. As corny as it looks, this was actually quite an advanced machine for its day. It appears to have a conventional infinite ratio clutch and belt setup, still used today. Okay, a bit lean on the suspension, but for a putt-putt across a frozen lake, pulling a sled, this was the epitome of motorized winter entertainment. And affordable too. I mean, plumbing pipes for an exhaust!!! For under a grand, just about everyone could afford 2 of these AND a trailer.
      My 1st sled was a Polaris Charger of this vintage, and while it rarely ran long enough to enjoy, it, like motorcycling, cemented a life long love for the sport. I’m flabbergasted at the wizardry machines of today costing 5 figures,,with GPS and all,,
      After the Polaris, my sleds included:
      1974(ish) Scorpion Super Stinger 400. Nice design, very poorly engineered. Pararail( bogie wheels and slide rails) was a poor design.
      Some homemade job, weighed a ton, had a foot clutch, a 4 speed, never got it out of 1st gear.
      1977 Yamaha 340 Exciter, the absolute BEST sled. Put a TON of miles on it. Never let me down.
      A 70s Johnson rotary, I got for free, had like 50 miles on it, never did get that running either,
      Then a very tired 1976 Yamaha 440 Exciter
      A 1978 Yamaha SRX, THAT sled scared me. 1st liquid cooled Yam, and another very poor design. It was fast, handled poorly, ate water pumps, it was a POS, and vowed to never have another liquid cooled ANYTHING, in power sports, that is. A fan cooled did just fine with HALF the mechanics.
      If a move back to the northwoods is in the cards, ( and there’s every indication it might), the 1st thing I’m buying is a cushy snowmobile. Thanks, Russ, great times,,,

      Like 5
    • NW Iowa

      Thanks Scotty. The man selling it has tons of early ‘sleds’, as they’re fondly called up here in the cold. And, as we can see in the background, he has many vintage cars, trucks and pickups. He’s a member of a vintage snowmobile club, I think limited to 1965 and older. I’ve watched some of his videos on his Facebook page. Very interesting stuff!

      I’ve owned over a hundred old sleds, not because I collect them but because they come with the territory of collecting old motorcycles. I flip the sleds to a buyer in South Dakota. The oldest I’ve owned so far was a Skidoo from the late 1960s. I only have 3 sleds currently, working out a deal with the SD buyer for his 1981 Chevy school bus, runs & drives but I’ll use it for dry storage.

      Like 2
  2. PaulG

    It’s pretty obvious that the Polaris colors were on this product also. I grew up in northern NY state and in the late 60’s early 70’s all manner of makes and models were everywhere.
    My favorite was a 292 sno-jet that was just a blast.
    This one’s gonna need some love…

    Like 4
  3. TomP

    Funny, I was just looking to buy a rare ’73 Skidoo Silver Bullet project sled today.. Classic snowmobile projects are fun. They’re cheap and simple to work on. The seller of this Silver Bullet wanted $5 for it..

    Like 5
  4. Rickirick

    Hey Russ, ya got anything on the Buick & Pontiac (?) in the background?

    Like 1
    • Dave

      I believe the two cars in the background are a Buick and a chevrolet

      Like 0
      • CCFisher

        No, the “Silver Streaks” identify the car on the right as a Pontiac.

        Like 1
  5. Stan

    Good for the trapline 🐇

    Like 1
  6. Yblocker

    I see high prices have entered the vintage snowmobile world. The price may not seem like much, but you’re not getting much, there isn’t much to these old machines. I’ve owned numerous snowmobiles since the mid 60s, mostly Ski-Doos, and a few Scorpions. This would be a neat project, not sure about parts availability, especially the track, but who knows, there’s probably a new one laying on a shelf somewhere.

    Like 1
    • TomP

      Yblocker my 1968 Polaris Charger that I found in a field had a similar track as this sled. I was able to rebuild the track with almost correct looking parts from the local hardware store.

      Like 2
      • Yblocker

        I agree, a person could build that type of track, the “endless” rubber tracks would be a different story

        Like 0
  7. Brad

    That looks a lot older than 65…

    Like 0
  8. PRA4SNW

    Sadly, more yard art to go with the train cab from yesterday.

    Like 0
  9. David A Sanford

    I used to ride a new 65 Polaris, back in the day. Similar color scheme and 8 horse 4-stroke Kohler, which was more of a tractor engine than a “skidoo” power plant. The old kohlers were not a speed demon but more reliable than the two strokes of the day. Didn’t need to carry a handful of plugs on a ride.

    Like 1

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