What Is A Vintage Snowmobile? What Qualifies As Vintage


A question that often comes our way is, ‘What is a vintage snowmobile?’ If you are also curious about what vintage snowmobiles are, you’ve come to the right place. This post will inform you of all you need to know about vintage snowmobiles.

For most snowmobiling enthusiasts, a sled will be considered vintage if it is over 25 years old. Some people will even consider a 15 or 20 year old sled vintage, due to the fast pace at which snowmobiles design has been improved.

Snowmobiles have come a long way since they were first manufactured. They used to be simple machines compared to the more sophisticated engines they have become today. Older snowmobiles are a good reminder of the days gone by. Imagine finding yourself on a sled you first rode some 25 years ago. Ha, the nostalgia!

What Qualifies A Snowmobile as Vintage?

A look at an old snowmobile and the massive difference between it and what you see on the trails today is crystal clear. The difference is not just about appearances but also includes the engines.

The definition of a vintage snowmobile may differ from state to state. So, don’t be confused when you meet people with a different meaning of a vintage snowmobile. However, most snowmobiling aficionados will consider a snowmobile that is over 25 years old as vintage.

Comparing a vintage snowmobile to a modern one is similar to comparing modern cars to old classic cars.

Most vintage snowmobiles have two seats and can therefore accommodate two people. Modern snowmobiles are designed to be ridden by one person and thus have one seat. The suspension and engine combinations are also different. 

  • Vintage snowmobiles are highly valued and people may pay a lot to add them to their collection.
  • Some snowmobiling enthusiasts have made it a hobby to track down old snowmobiles and rebuild them.
  • It’s now easier to track down parts thanks to the internet.

This interesting video shows how groups of people actually search out and ride vintage snowmobiles as a hobby:

Antique Snowmobiles

Antique snowmobiles are far older than those considered to be vintage. Most snowmobile clubs and enthusiasts consider snowmobiles over 50 years to be antique.

There are many clubs dedicated to the preservation of antique and one of such clubs is the Antique Snowmobile Club Of America (ASCOA).

The association considers snowmobiles manufactured in 1968 and earlier as antique snowmobiles. And there aren’t a lot of snowmobiles manufactured before 1968 out there. This makes the number of antique snowmobiles very limited.

Vintage Vs Antique Snowmobiles

It’s clear that age is the difference between vintage and antique snowmobiles. Generally, old snowmobiles are held in high regard by snowmobiling enthusiasts. And it’s common to see older people bringing out their old snowmobiles and fixing them.

  • There used to be over 200 snowmobile manufacturers in the ‘70s.
  • That number has reduced drastically to less than 10 – about five if we are trying to be exact.
  • And this has made finding the parts of these old snowmobiles very difficult.
  • Antique snowmobiles are generally more valuable than vintage snowmobiles since there are not many of them around.

Why Are Vintage Snowmobiles Popular?

You’ll be surprised to know the number of people that have a functioning old snowmobile stashed away in their garage or barn. And whenever snowmobiling comes up in a conversation, they are eager to talk about their old machines than their fancy new ones. So, what’s all the fuss about the old ‘leafer’ in their garage?

The most obvious reason why people are so hung up on old snowmobiles is the memories. There are also people that didn’t own or ride any of the vintage snowmobiles in their collection when they were younger.

  • They were too young to have ridden or owned the vintage snowmobiles when they were first manufactured.
  • And they compensate for that by acquiring the machines later on.

Some people just like to work on vintage snowmobiles.

  • The engines of these vintage machines are simpler compared to that of modern snowmobiles.
  • Repairs and modifications can be easily performed with basic tools.
  • Vintage snowmobiles have very few electronics and some people have fun getting their hands dirty in a bid to fix and understand the workings of these vintage engines.

Here’s a video of a vintage snowmobile show, just to so you can see how many people are into these vintage sleds:

Do People Collect or Ride Vintage Snowmobiles

This depends on the owner of the vintage snowmobile. Some people prefer to ride vintage snowmobiles while others simply collect them. The people that appreciate vintage and antique snowmobiles the most are those that were kids when the snowmobiles were first manufactured.

They remember the fun they had riding the snowmobiles and the many memories they made with their friends and families. But now, that love is being passed on to another generation.

They remain snowmobile enthusiasts and have a number of modern snowmobiles. But these people still want the ‘vintage sleds’ they first rode. They want the machines on which they first learned how to ride a snowmobile.

To these people, riding vintage snowmobiles is a way of rolling back the years. You can get lucky and meet one or two snowmobiling enthusiasts riding their vintage machines on the trails. Be sure to say hello and check out their machines.

There are people who simply collect vintage snowmobiles. To this set of people, vintage snowmobiles are too valuable to be ridden and must instead be preserved.

  • Some collectors prefer to get old snowmobiles with an interesting history.
  • Then, they fix the snowmobiles and add them to their collection.
  • Some collectors send their vintage snowmobiles to museums to be displayed for all.

There are also people that restore their vintage snowmobiles for display at vintage snowmobile shows. There are a lot of snowmobile shows where people come to showcase their old snowmobiles. Some owners may even sell their machines for the right price.

Check out this 50 mile vintage sled ride video, it proves these old machines can still take you for a nice ride:

Restoring Is As Fun As Riding

Restoring vintage snowmobiles is a project some enthusiasts take very seriously. And these enthusiasts have a lot of fun doing this passion of theirs. They are those that take particular interest in vintage snowmobile engines.

The work of some of the vintage snowmobile restorers is breathtaking and you’ll see them showing off their work online. The problem most restorers encounter is finding long lost parts. You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to know that there are some engine parts you can’t fabricate.

It’s common to see snowmobile clubs organizing events where members can meet and swap/exchange parts of vintage snowmobiles.

What may be junk to some people can be invaluable to vintage snowmobile restorers. Some new suppliers of vintage snowmobile parts can be also be found online.

Disposing of Old Snowmobiles?

We hope that day never comes. As you can see, age doesn’t really affect how valuable a snowmobile is. The older, the better. It’ll either be vintage or an antique snowmobile. But if your snowmobile is damaged beyond repair, you might start to think about disposing of it.

If it’s no trouble for you, you can keep your damaged snowmobile away in your garage or barn until, who knows, you might meet someone that needs a part of your snowmobile for the restoration of theirs. What is junk to you may be the treasure to someone else.

But if you must dispose of your snowmobile, you can take it to any yard that specializes in scrap metal in your area. Your old sled has several pounds of scrap metal.

The only complication here is that some yards may require the snowmobile to be completely free of gas and oil. And doing this isn’t exactly a big deal if you know your way around a snowmobile engine.

  • The oil can be removed by opening the drain and then collecting the content in an oil pan.
  • Then, the drain plug is put back.
  • The collected engine oil can then be transferred into another container for proper disposal of any local auto parts store in your area.
  • And the fuel can easily be drained by using a hand pump.
  • Be sure to completely empty the fuel tank.

The snowmobile is then ready to be transported to the scrapyard where the metal can be recycled.

Rob

That's me sinking another ATV. I love to ride no matter what it is, snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, and anything else off-roading. I've experienced my fair share of machines, and like to share that experience here.

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