Old Sled Zone—1970’s Johnson model 21

This snub-nosed little snowmobile harkens back to the golden days of snowmobile manufacturing when there were dozens of companies making snowmobiles

A classic Johnson snowmobile, Model 21, with view of mountains in background.
A classic Johnson snowmobile, Model 21. Photo courtesy Keith Powell

It always tickles me when I come across an unexpected old sled find. Last weekend, while traveling busy Highway #3 in southern British Columbia, I saw bordering the roadside a couple of vintage snowmobiles — looks like they were being offered for sale. (We will profile the first one this week.)

So here’s another baby-blue classic Johnson snowmobile—model 21—produced by the Outboard Marine Corporation back in the 1970’s. This snub-nosed little snowmobile harkens back to the golden days of snowmobile manufacturing when there were dozens of companies making snowmobiles and injecting snowmobile innovation in the industry and it was all happening fast and furiously. This model 21 stands out with its unique single headlight configuration.

In the fall of 1964, Outboard Marine Corp. (OMC) of Waukegan, Ill., jumped into the fast-growing sport of snowmobiling. With several years of testing under its belt, OMC was ready to tackle the rapidly expanding snowmobile market. The company produced three variations out of their Peterborough, Ontario, facility: the Johnson Skee-Horse, the Evinrude Skeeter and, in Canada, they changed the name of the Skeeter to Snow Cruiser.

Front view of the Johnson sled.
Photo courtesy Keith Powell

Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) was a maker of primarily Evinrude, Johnson and Gale Outboard Motors boat motors and many different brands of boats. However, it dabbled in producing snowmobiles under the Evinrude and Johnson brand names during the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

While this vintage sled begs for a little TLC (…maybe more than a little TLC), this old Johnson would undoubtedly be a collectors dream.

Do you have old sled memories? Share your stories and photos via [email protected]

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