What was your intended objective when you started the build?
Since we enjoy all things vintage, we still had a vintage 1982 Yamaha Bravo that was bought new and has been kept all these years. We attended a Vintage Snowmobile Show & Ride and decided to further pursue this interest and add to our collection for exhibitions. You meet so many nice people who share a common interest and bond for good times and lasting friendships.
What motivated you to start your project?
We love vintage. We have vintage trailers and vintage cars, and while at a recent car show we were approached by a friend who had a vintage sled. He said he was going to haul it to the dump and wanted to know if we wanted it. He thought it was an old Polaris. We jumped on the chance and said we’d take it off his hands. Afterwards, we realized we didn’t know how to get in contact with him. Finally, we tracked down a neighbor who tracked him down. We made the 35 mile trip to his house to find out he actually had a vintage Arctic Cat. It had been left outside sitting under the pine trees for countless years. Ironically, he added gas when he heard we were coming after it and was able to drive it onto our trailer, minus any steering, as that was non-existent. He handed us the seat, which was still in excellent condition. Since these snap to the tunnel, he had taken it off and kept it inside all these years. So, back home we went with our new acquistion and off to explore the internet for needed parts.
What was the most unique and creative thing you did to the sled?
Through many internet purchases, we were able to maintain the Panther’s originality; with everything from a new windshield to the striping along the bumper, and the striping along the hood. Also, thanks to Ebay, I think we found the last replacement passenger handle still in existence. But I think the most creative thing we did was to fix the vent in the hood where the plastic was broken and missing. A friend was cutting up the plastic grill on his new pickup. We asked if we could have the pieces. They were the same size as the pieces in the vent. We were able to enlist a friend to do some plastic welding and all the strips in the vent are now in tact and it looks like brand new.
What are you most proud of?
We enjoy the fact that we were able to maintain the originality of the vintage sled and its preservation. The older sleds are so much more unique than the modern ones and so fun to look at. It’s like cars: Model T’s are distinctive and can be spotted coming down the road a mile away, however, to see a modern car coming…they just all look alike.
What do other people say about your sled?
They love the fact that it is a survivor and we saved it from the landfill!