73 StarfireFor about the past ten years, I’ve been slowly getting involved with the vintage snowmobile community. It started out by going to some basic vintage shows where I would walk around and simply comment on sleds that caught my eye. There were really only two ways a sled would catch my eye; either it had to look cool or sound cool! Of course some of the Arctic Cats and Ski-Doos caught my eye, but not like a Polaris. For as long as I can remember, our family has only ever had Polaris sleds, so naturally I took to them—plus they looked so good! So with my basic, non-educated, criteria I quickly found a sled that caused my eyes to widen, and mouth to drop:

The 1973 Polaris Starfire.

I can’t remember exactly when that moment came, but ask my family and they’ll quickly tell you out of all the sleds we’ve talked about, the ’73 Starfire is the only one I remembered. I can’t tell you why I couldn’t remember any of the dozens of sleds we’ve talked about as a family, but I always remembered the good-looking Polaris. After ten years of obsession, the quest for my own ’73 Starfire began.

We were lucky to find an old chassis from a ’73, which could be salvaged and brought back to life with a fresh coat of paint. With a lot of help from people, we found an NOS (New Old Stock) seat, a barely used gas tank, a barely used set of handlebars, an almost new suspension, some skis, the spindles, and original secondary and more. In the span of an afternoon, we had most of the sled put together, even if we didn’t have a motor for it. We ran into one big snag: We had a new mold for the belly pan, and quickly discovered that the new pans were 1 inch too short in the back! Getting the mold fixed would not be a huge deal, but it would take some time – and I wanted this to be my Live on Skis 2010 rider. While my dream of riding a ’73 Starfire for Live on Skis was quickly coming to hault, a miracle happened.

73-79Mike Kollman had a rolling 79 TXL chassis with the 73 hood and pan was for sale. it also had a 73 Starfire steering post and rear suspension. With a great deal in the works, this quickly become the choice for this year’s rider. After pulling it apart in the garage, this was for sure set up for drag-racing, we had a lovely time pulling the studs out of the track and discovering some other minor issues.

But I am excited to say this machine will be ready for LOS ’10 and will definitely turn some heads! Did you know Polaris made a liquid 340 ’73? Just kidding. We stuck a 340 TXL motor in it and got it running in now time!

Last weekend over Christmas break, we got to take the new sled for a "break-in" ride. I can tell you this thing is fast – but a little on the tippy side. We went through a recoil and I broke the steering post on the last ride of the weekend, but once that is fixed, we will be ready for LOS!

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