Old Sled Sighting: 1974 “Big Blue” Sno-Jet

Sno-Jet's peak year was 1970 with over 30,000 units produced, in over 20 separate models with various engine makes and models.

The original power machine, this all-Canadian Sno-Jet sled still looks ready to roll.
The original power machine, this all-Canadian Sno-Jet sled still looks ready to roll. Photo courtesy Keith Powell

The all-Canadian Sno-Jet, an iconic power machine! Big Blue, they called it! We stumbled across this Big Blue 1974 Sno-Jet literally sitting in front of someone’s front steps this week.

The owner Bob tells us, “This Sno-Jet had power to burn. We’d take it out on a frozen lake and hit 100 mph in no time flat, it had so much power. Still runs but my kids stole the carburetor off it.”

Sno-Jet’s brochures of the day touted, “Everything you need for safety, performance and dependability. An exciting machine at a practical price…Big Blue..Hot on the Trail.”

According to Wikipedia, “Sno-Jet's peak year was 1970 with over 30,000 units produced, in over 20 separate models with various engine makes and models. The company continued to experience good sales, although they were beginning to lag due to the competition of nearly a hundred other snowmobile manufacturing companies which had been formed in North America during the snowmobiling boom of the early-1970s. Nonetheless Sno-Jets remained a popular choice due to their reliability and price.

Continues Wikipedia: "Kawasaki wanted to enter the snowmobiling market, hoping to expand beyond just producing motorcycles as Yamaha had years before, but Kawasaki just wanted to use the Sno-Jet name and established dealerships; they didn't want the Sno-Jet snowmobiles or manufacturing facilities, and as a result shut down everything Sno-Jet had produced up until that point. All assets were liquidated and hundreds of employees were put out of work, as many were not willing to move to Kawasaki's headquarters located in Nebraska. Only a few design engineers were kept hired onto the Kawasaki snowmobiling branch. Kawasaki used the Sno-Jet name until 1977 after only seeing limited success, and was unable to sustain their snowmobile manufacturing arm for much longer than that. Under massive debt, the last year Kawasaki produced and sold sleds was 1982.”

Got a “Big Blue” story or a vintage snowmobile tale to share?  Email us at [email protected]

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