One of highlights of any snowmobile show is always their display of vintage snowmobiles. The recent Edmonton Snowmobile Show did not disappoint. Old Sled Zone had a photographer onsite (Thank you Murray and Spencer) and they snapped some great pictures of the shiny old sleds.
Over the next few weeks we will be featuring a variety of these vintage beauties. Here is the first one:
Make: 1970 Sno-Jet with matching cutter
Model: Super Sport
Engine: Hirth 399
Owner: Calvin Robinson
According to one Sno-Jet enthusiast, Blake Read, here is a bit of Sno-Jet history: “Sno-Jet will always be remembered as a good looking, reliable, easy-to-love machine. In 1964, Paul-Emile Roy and a Mr. Fillion had a small Fiberglass company in their basement, in Thetford Mines, Quebec. They seeked financial aid from the Economic Development Society to start up a fiberglass company. While there, the E.D.S. representative became quite interested in a small vehicle designed to travel over the snow (built by Roy himself.) After carefully considering the building of snowmobiles instead of boats, Mr. Théberge (an accountant) and Mr. Pelchat (a plumbing contractor) formed a partnership with Roy and Mr. Fillion. In October of 1964, the E.D.S. arranged a small business with three employees and a general manager—Sno-Jet was born.
The first year consisted of 25 units total. In April of 1965 the first engineer was hired. The following season, 100 more employees were hired and production increased to 1150 snowmobiles. 1966 was the first year that Sno-Jet was sold in the USA. 300 of the 1150 units produced were going to the U.S. The third year saw 4400 snowmobiles. Due to the sudden increase in the popularity of the sport, Sno-Jet would have to rapidly expand. In June of 1968, Conroy of Texas became the new owner of Sno-Jet. They were now under the guidance of a fiberglass boat manufacturer, Glastron Boat Company, a subsidiary of Conroy. For the 68/69 season Sno-Jet snowmobiles reached 25,000 units. By 1972 sales, for the first time ever, were starting to dwindle. As the years went by, the sales dropped lower and lower. The Sno-Jet company took a large blow when the oil crisis happened in 1974, causing gas prices to rise and small snowmobile companies to collapse.
The final year of Sno-Jet was 1976 with only three models made. Conroy, the builder of Sno-Jet, wanted to get out of the snowmobile market. Kawasaki wanted to get into the market and they bought out Sno-Jet; thereby they didn't have to sell themselves to set up new dealerships...by doing it this way they had their dealerships established. Most of the Sno-Jet dealers did sell Kawasaki. The snowmobile market was so competitive they didn't last either.”
The vintage and antique snowmobile display at the Edmonton Snowmobile Show was jointly presented by the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) and the Alberta Relic Riders.
Got a vintage snowmobile story or photos? Share them with us [email protected]