Work Horse: 1970 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640/ER

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You knew that the first snowmobile post would be coming soon! This one was too good to pass up. This is a rare beast, it’s a 1970 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640/ER and it’s on eBay in New Windsor, New York. The current bid is $710, but the reserve isn’t met. The Invader is thee one to have so if you’ve been looking for a winter work horse, look no further. There are just over two days left to get your bids in and line up a shipper for this beast.

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These Alpine models always seemed so exotic to me, having twin tracks and just a single ski in the front. Almost like a Bond Bug for the snow. The idea behind the single ski is that the Alpine could break a trail through heavy brush without getting caught up on the shrubs and trees like a twin-ski snowmobile would do. This is a rare 640/ER version with electric start and reverse (the E and R) and this is the one to have; they’re hard to find now. Bombardier also made a 399 CC version with 24 hp. You can see that there’s some yellow tape on the vents in the cowling, The seller mentions that some “easy” fiberglass repairs are in order for the new owner. But, it looks pretty solid apart from that.

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These were working sleds and they were made for hauling things, grooming trails, pulling an ice fishing shack out onto the lake, etc. (I just lost half of the audience!) They were tough winter work horses and they can get beat up doing those jobs out in the cold. Every mechanical machine needs proper and regular maintenance, hopefully this one has had that. Even though this model has a 640 CC twin-cylinder Rotax engine with 35 hp, they weren’t speed demons. Those looking for an oval track monster or even one to ride on the trails all day, this isn’t it. Those twin 15-inch tracks and just the general heavy-duty (i.e., heavy) nature of the Alpine made it not exactly a speed demon.

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The seat and backrest both look like new and you can see the classic 1970s woodgrain tape on the “dash“. That perfect seat is original as is the engine and the paint. This would be a great, unusual snowmobile to restore back to original condition. It would be a show-stopper with not that much work in store for the next owner. Depending on what the seller’s reserve is, and the shipping fees, which for any of us in the upper-Midwest would probably be $600-$800, this could be one worth watching if you’re a vintage snowmobile fan. Shipping charges are always the elephant in the room that nobody talks about or figures into their bids until it’s too late. With that being said, this will be a good deal if the reserve isn’t set much over $1,000. I grew up with this era of snowmobiles and they’re ingrained into my soul. Is anyone else into these vintage sleds?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I am, I am, Me, me, me. I’m partially responsible for this. I told Scotty to maybe feature some snowmobiles, and here we go. Before ATV’s became all the rage, if you wanted something to haul something or out in the woods, this was it. They really did go through just about anything. Kind of funny, today, a 640 cc snowmobile motor puts out more hp than my GMC Sonoma, but back then, it was all about low end grunt, and the 640 did just that. Nothing to go flying down the trails at breakneck speeds ( like a certain 3 cyl. Polaris I can use, that goes 100 mph, if you can get it started, that is) Snowmobiling is right around the corner for us “Nordern” folks, and I love it, even though, we haven’t really had a decent winter, snow wise ’round here for a while, so little, in fact, the county here is selling their groomer.( Booo, looks like bumpy trails for us) I’ve had several different brands over the years, Polaris, Yamaha, Scorpion ( even a rotary powered Evinrude, I got for nothing, and never did get it running). Great find, can’t go wrong here. So, since we’re here, what are some of your favorite vintage sleds? For me, I’d love to find a vintage Mercury Sno-Twister, or maybe a Coleman Ski-Roule, remember those? Thanks, Scotty. http://www.snowmobile.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/Coleman-667×380.jpg

    • Howard A Member

      Oh, for crying out loud, what could possibly be a thumbs down on this post? There’s your internet basher for ya’.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. Back in the good ol’ days (early 70s anyways) a bunch of friends and I used to go to the mountains west of here. I had a Yamaha GP 433 and my friends ran everything from Ski Doo, to Arctic Cat, to Scorpion, and my Yamaha. It was a good time although we tended to consume a little too much antifreeze (usually 32 O/P rum) on the trips. Then guys got married off and started raising families; then the regulations got out of hand. I can see them chasing the booze away because that was plain foolhardy but you could no longer go out into an open space and enjoy the deep moderately packed snow; you were now forced to use the trails–ONLY! It just didn’t seem like a good time anymore. But it was sure fun while it lasted…..

    • Mark S Member

      Hi Geomechs I wasn’t much into snowmobiles, but I was into bikes trials bikes not trail bikes we were using Ossa’s Montesa’s Bultaco’s and later on Yamaha’s Suzuki’s and Honda’s it was also back in the 70’s. Up here in Alberta Canada there was an unlimited amount of places to go and very much a group family outing almost every weekend all summer. We often used the cut lines that the oil company’s made while doing exploration. Then the tall foreheads up in Edmonton noticed that we were having to much fun so the started legislating us into smaller and smaller areas on the pretence that we were doing to much damage. ( as if a D8 cat doesn’t do any damage while cutting a line through the forest. ) the areas they left to us were called sacrifice zones and soon looked it, which is exactly what happens when you corral animals or humans on bikes into a small area. This would give the tall foreheads further fuel to continue to ban our activities. For me it reached a point where it was no longer fun and I stopped going. These restrictions were also imposed on the snow mobile crowd and they too stopped going. Now it is just to over regulated to even consider getting back into it. End of rant thanks.

    • Glen

      So, is this county giving up on grooming? I do believe in climate change, but I don’t think snow is gone for good yet. If they sell the groomer, will they be looking for another one when snow does happen? Seems smarter to hold on to what they have. Here in Central Ontario, we’ve had a couple of lame Winters, but I don’t think it’s time to give up just yet.

  2. Glen

    I guy I know collected vintage sleds for years. He had 40 to 50 of them and they all ran. He recently sold them and got in to snowmobile dragracing. grass or snow, I don’t know. I have a customer who has an old Skidoo around 63-65, in his cottage shed. He won’t say if he will sell it.
    This Alpine for sale would be great to get to a fish hut.

  3. Dave Wright

    We had some early machines like this when I was at the University of Idaho. We used them to do track counts in the winter and plot them against weather readings to learn when animals were active. Miserable machines for our work. We wanted to go slow and get the best count we could…….would be stuck maby a dozen times a day. If you were just playing and going fast they were ok. There are people that collect most anything these days, probably illustrates an affluent society. I suppose these would be better than collecting beanie bears………

  4. Biggles21

    I road a 1970 Ski Doo Elan back then and I sure as heck don’t remember any groomers on the trails we ran (Coldwater Ontario area). I’m not sure there were even any official trails back then.

    • Glen

      I’ve seen the old bridge in Coldwater. It’s fenced off, looks like a railway bridge. Is there any trails leading off from it? I’m over in the Haliburton area.

      • Biggles21

        Sorry, its been years since I sledded. Online maps are available I believe.

  5. RicK

    Ought to be in a museum

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    I remember another single ski machine called the Valmont. I think it might have been just a size up from the Alpine but still not very common. You’d see the odd rancher with one, or the forestry service with them. They were work machines and wouldn’t have survived on some of the trails we rode down. Of course it’s amazing WE survived some of the trails we rode down….

  7. Another Bob

    Remember seeing a few of these at Mont Tremblant as a youth. Workhorses for sure, but I doubt there is any joy in it’s operation. The new snowmobiles that are blowing me away aren’t even based on snowmobiles. They are big bore dirt bikes with tracks and ski adapter kits made by Timbersled and Yetti. Totally redefining handling on snow.

  8. CarNut from Winnipeg Member

    My wife’s cousin has a shed against his barn with probably 40+ old snow machines. Most are restored and running. He brings some out every year for the Poker Run on the river north of Brandon MB. Mostly 50’s and 60’s machines.

  9. guggie

    work horse for sure and it makes you work as hard as it does , no joy ride , with a groomer on it steers by bouncing off trees , not all that dependable either . Being that said a rare machine and not in bad shape ,most of these were worked to death . Would make a nice retro sled for vintage rides !!

  10. Tim W

    Love the vintage sleds from the late 60’s early 70’s. Had a 1972 Artic Cat EXT, 290 cc free air (former racing sled) that was exceptionally fast for the time period
    Also had a (1969?) Ski-Doo with the horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine, I think it was 370cc. Wish I still had those sleds.-Tim

  11. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Alpine bidding ended at $1,325 with no sale.

  12. Ian Gilmore

    I’m in the process of building a 1969 and stumbled on this article. Thanks for the good read. I like the rear tool box/back rest. I have a spare off a 71 Olympic I may just add to my build. Instead of the big 640, I’ll be installing a 377 twin carb rotax with CDI. Lighter, more powerful and more reliable.

  13. Norm Mc Knight

    By any chance is this still available??

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