Old Sled Sighting: 1970’s Arctic Cat Pantera—a ‘Rat Sled’

Once known as the "Cadillac" of sleds, this vintage Arctic Cat Pantera snowmobile has seen better days.

Picture of vintage Arctic Cat Pantera snowmobile.
A rusting, forgotten Arctic Cat Pantera snowmobile. Photo courtesy Keith Powell

So what’s a “rat sled?” It’s sort of my own definition of an old snowmobile you might find abandoned in a field, stashed behind a barn, tucked away against a wooden fence or languishing in some other unprotected environment—left to rust away and exposed to the elements.

This old 1970’s (possibly 1980’s) Arctic Cat Pantera definitely falls into the "rat sled" category. I discovered it sitting outside in the rain and snow behind a rural shop (along with a half dozen other rusting snowmobiles).

Picture of vintage Arctic Cat Pantera snowmobile.
Photo courtesy Keith Powell

The Arctic Cat Pantera was produced starting in the early 1970’s and was often called the “Cadillac” of snowmobiles. This was for its smooth ride, distinctive profile and powerful engine. As one reviewer stated, “No one could mistake the Pantera profile for any other brand. It was a fashion statement with sloping hood, chromed bumpers front and rear, high headlight and ample wind-deflecting windshield.”

This old Arctic Cat “rat” sled retains little of the machine’s past glory but Arctic Cat enthusiasts are sure to remember the grand old days of these early Panteras.

Got an old sled story or photos to share? Send them to: [email protected]

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