Riding into history. H.C. Paul and Autoboggan

Earnhardtnorth aka Ryan Koenig sends us this photo of H.C. Paul and a very early version of the Autoboggan.

Posted in Vintage Living, Vintage Photos | Comments Off

New Piece of Snowmobile History Discovered

Recoil has shared a story that is just too good to miss. Check out this thread in the VS forum and learn about his discovery of a Smith-Roles prototype. He shares the story behind it, including finding someone that was there at the beginning of Smith-Roles history. Not only was this gentleman willing to share his knowledge, he decided to let Recoil become the next person to love and share an actual prototype. Check it out!



Posted in RareBirds, Treasure Hunts | Comments Off

NEWS: New Vintage Sled Insurance Company Enters the Market.

FINALLY – Insurance for Classic Snowmobile Collectors
By Valdi Stefanson, President, Antique Snowmobile Club of America

I spoke with a vintage snowmobile guy from Michigan yesterday. He told me of three instances where entire collections of vintage snowmobiles were ruined. One when the shed burned and two where the barn roof caved in.
Ask yourself — Could I stand this loss? If the answer is NO, I bring good news! Recently, the Empire Company had a program that insured a collection of old snowmobiles. Unfortunately, two years ago they quit insuring classic snowmobiles. Since then, we worked on all the other “collector vehicle” insurers to take on snowmobiles, to no avail.

A new company has stepped up and has developed a great program — agreed value; bundling of all your machines; demonstration/trail ride coverage; different deductible & limit options; show, event and museum coverage; loading –transit-unloading coverage. The policy protects you from collision, fire, theft, wind, and hail as well as liability for bodily injury, property damage and medical payments.
This policy was developed by an insurance broker that is a great asset to all of us snowmobilers. In fact, Dale Vagts is an International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF) inductee from Iowa. Contact: Robin Schultz, V & V Insurance @ 563 382 4720.

- Will insure all your classic snowmobiles in one policy.
- Valuation is “agreed value”. You supply a picture and fair estimate of value. (Appraisals required on sleds with values over $ 15,000).
- Liability, medical payments and physical damage coverage with many different deductible and limit options.
- Snowmobiles must be over 30 years of age.
- Insured sleds must be garaged in a locked enclosed facility.
- Coverage is restricted to non-racing exhibitions & shows. Occasional pleasure drives are permitted.
- Coverage available in CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, MO, MT, NE, ND, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI. Coming soon in MI.
- Off premise coverage for sled while at a show, exhibition or museum.
- Coverage applies while in transit, while loading or unloading.
- Policy provides up to $ 500 in coverage for spare parts.
- Minimum premium is $ 100/year.

There will be other particulars that you need to understand. Call the agent for full details.

Posted in Collections, New Products for Vintage Sled Owners, Vintage Living | Comments Off

OMC brings us Red, White and Blue for July

Mike Mineau aka JXer hooked us up this month with a cool tip.
He turned us on to the Brook Stevens Collection at the
Milwaukee Art Museum. Brook Stevens was a premier industrial
designer that worked for the likes of Miller Brewing, the
Milwaukee Road RR, Studebaker, Jeep, Harley Davidson, Oscar
Mayer and OMC. His association with OMC was a long one, and
he influenced a wide variety of the company’s products from
LawnBoy lawn mowers to Evinrude boats to Cushman vehicles.

The collection includes many reference photos of Johnson, OMC
and Evinrude snowmobiles. Of interest today, this Red White and
Blue beauty. As many will remember, 1976 was America’s
Bicentennial year and consumer products of all sorts appeared in
the nation’s colors. This theme extended to OMC’s production
snowmobiles that year, but I know there will be interest in this
prototype that never hit the snow.

The Brooks Stevens collection is available at:


Please note that the collection will be withdrawn from veiwing some
time this month for restoration and conservation and will return in
2015. ‘Til then, you can find quite a lot of Brook’s work on the

One more interesting fact, Brooks also designed the Wienermobile
for Oscar Mayer. Red, White and Blue sleds, Miller Beer, and Hot
Dogs. Can’t get much more American than that!

Photos courtesy of The Milwaukee Art Museum.


Brooks Stevens Collection ~ Milwaukee Art Museum


Posted in Collections, RareBirds, Vintage Photos | Comments Off

The Last New Liquidator?

By “John Deere Joe” Rainville.

Finding a “new” vintage left over sled from the mid-70′s is a rare treat. Finding one that was never sold new, but still at the original dealer is even more rare. Discovering a limited build cross country racer at it’s original dealer is a very rare treat indeed.

Nick Thallas may have found the last “new” Liquidator at a mid-west John Deere dealer. The story goes that sled never sold when it was new, as folks were “afraid of it”. While I admit Liquidators are at least a bit evil, they are nothing to outright fear…

So the dealer used it for demo rides, accumulating 557 miles on her, but never sent her to a new home until earlier this year when Nick lucked into it.

Awakening from a 37 year old sumber.

The deal is made. Congrats all around.

Since the sled was stored in a dark shed for 37 or so years, all the plastic and rubber parts are like new, including the original molded seat cover, kill and dimmer switch boots, the track ect. Even the original paint shines.

All cleaned up and ready to show.

Nick did have the original motor rebuilt ,as she scuffed a piston back in the day. Luckily for him, the sled came with a NOS (new old stock) jug and piston set. Nick also wisely chose not to paint anything on the sled, even though it was tempting to redo the motor and pipes while she was out for a rebuild.

What makes a Liquidator go…..

And what makes her sing…..

Now that she is back in top running condition, Nick plans to enjoy the sled and bring her out for a few shows and vintage rides. It was a dream come true for him to find the Liquidator, much as less one that was never sold from it’s original dealer. Congrats Nick on finding what just might be the “last new Liquidator” sold and thanks for letting me share the story.

“John Deere Joe” Rainville

Posted in Racing, RareBirds, Treasure Hunts | Comments Off