Old Sled Zone: 1972 Speedway “the blue Ferrari”

Speedway machines were designed and marketed as high performance snowmobiles

Speedway snowmobile, painted metallic blue in colour, with crossed American flags logo and 'Speedway' painted on side.
Spotted at last fall's Edmonton Snowmobile Show, this Speedway sled was known for its high-performance power and speed. Photo courtesy Jason Wood

“Think of it as a blue Ferrari” was the Speedway snowmobile’s claim to fame and, of course, their advertising slogan.

This is the first time we have encountered a Speedway sled and have had the opportunity to feature it in our Old Sled Zone Column. We spotted this one on display at last fall's Edmonton Snowmobile Show.

This metallic blue, high-performance machine certainly has the low profile and power to roar like a Ferrari. It is a 1972 Speedway 440 Kohler FA and is owned by Alberta Relic Riders’ member Kelly Grant.

Evidently Speedway Products, Inc. of Mansfield, Ohio produced the Speedway snowmobile from 1972 through 1974. The machines were designed and marketed by ex-Rupp employees as high performance snowmobiles, according to a blurb from the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum.

Features included aluminum chassis, 8” disc brakes, a low center of gravity and a sleek design. 1972 models were: 340cc Sachs Fan at 34hp, 440cc Kohler Free Air Twin at 58hp and the 650cc Kohler Free Air Triple at 90 hp w/pipes. 1973 models were: 295cc Kohler Free Air, 340cc Kohler Free Air Twin, 440cc Kohler Free Air Triple w/pipes and the 650cc Kohler Free Air Triple w/pipes.

In 1973-74 approximately 1,000 Speedways were produced. In April 1974 the entire business was sold to Fox Corporation of Janesville, WI and the operation was moved to Janesville.

Here’s what one vintage snowmobile enthusiast said about the Speedway: “You will see Speedways at vintage shows today...or maybe at a vintage drag. I remember them in the early 70's...most often with Kohler Free Air engines with the Star-Burst Heads. This was pre-Twister and they had an unbelievable power to weight ratio. The problem with them was fouling out at the line. More often than not, if they fouled out, the driver could not get it restarted in time. Some of them had a pulley on the Mag side and they actually used a chain saw to start them with (tightened a belt into the pulley to spin the engine). Never will get the smell of a Speedway burning Klotz out of my head.”

You have to be impressed with the “blue Ferrari” of snowmobiles. Congratulations to Kelly Grant for showing off this great looking model.

Do you have a vintage snowmobile story or photos let us know - [email protected]

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