A good guy up in the far North has had this 1974 Polaris SnoPro in his possession for many years. He is quiet, private man who spends the
Don Omdahl’s 74 440cc SnoPro
majority of his time with his family. When he does get a couple of minutes, he’s out in the shop restoring old sleds. I met him via phone way back in about 2001. At the time, he was not quite sure what this sled was, so we started digging into it. Of course, I was pestering him to sell it to me from day one. He’d just laugh and politely say no.
Is it a 74 SnoPro? Absolutely. It is completely magnesium. Serial number starts with a ‘9’, the model year number for 74. The tag on the sled looks exactly like a 73 tag, but it says ‘manufactured in Nov 73’.
Over the years we discovered one huge clue: Looking at photos from 1974 SnoPro sleds from races in Ironwood, Eagle River and West Yellowstone shows, the middle and the end of that historic race season. Of the approximately nine 1974 Polaris SnoPro machines made, only one shows up in all the photos with a white stripe on the tunnel and around the back of the sled.
That was Don Omdahl’s 440cc Machine. That white stripe is still on the sled, although someone took a bomb can and sprayed over it. On the Polaris 50th Anniversary DVD, one shot shows Don going around the corner on the 440 and gives a stunningly clear shot of the sled. No question this is the same sled – including the gas tank.
What kind of shape is it in? Completely restorable. The original 4 band titanium cleated track is there, complete with track guides that are welded on. Chaincase is great, both clutches are fixable. Seat foam is there. Clutch guard is okay. The motor that came with it is a 74 340cc SnoPro motor. The former owner had already purchased a new hood and pan. So what is it missing? The skis (unique to the 74 SnoPro), the handlebars and the suspension, but I have one of those.
Many thanks to the former owner ( he likes to stay kind of low-key, so we’ll leave his name out for now) for allowing me the privilege to restore such a classic, and to the many people who have (in person or over the Internet) assisted in identifying its origins.