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Classic Arctic Cat Styling DNA


(6/7/2010)

Two Classic Arctic Cats

I recently came across this photo that I shot at Waconia Vintage Hullabaloo in 2006. It strikes me now like it did then...how two Arctic Cats, separated by nearly 30 years, can look so similar. And so good.

It helps that when he's looking for inspiration from great sleds of yesteryear, Cory in Arctic Cat's Styling Department picks stunners like the Z, el Tigre and others.

I wonder what sleds from the past decade (or so) will be remembered so fondly for their styling impact?

Any thoughts?



Comments (31):

Tom Rowland says:
6/7/2010 2:45:00 PM

The similarity really carries through, as you said. It's almost like at least a few of the people that helped create the 1979 also had something to do with creating the 2005...er...wait...maybe....
Bernie says:
6/7/2010 9:19:00 PM

I think the 2008 600 sno pro will be a collector as well !
Tom Rowland says:
6/8/2010 6:18:00 AM

I agree with Bernie, I think the 2008 Sno Pro will be remembered as a instant hit in the styling dept. I have often wondered what makes a model like that an instant hit loved by all, and yet, other models kind of require a person "learn to love it". When something is not a hit, is it styling only that falls short? Or, other factors large or small? Graphics, colors, to which group a certain model is marketed, economics, poor snowfall, etc, etc...we could fill a page with possibilities. It can not be easy to always hit the target with matters of styling. On a matter of color....why is Arctic so insistant on painting our luxury models some trendy color that is often very un-trendy in about 6 months? Think back to the 95-97 army-green Bearcats, the burgendy or brown or tan Panteras of the late 90s, the army green 02 4 strokes, the taupe T660s, the maroon TZ1s, etc, etc, etc....am I the only one that thinks these same sleds would have around 1000% more appeal if the were mostly black with accents on them of traditional Arctic colors?
John Sandberg says:
6/8/2010 8:22:00 AM

Agree with you completely about the colors typically used on touring/utility sleds, Tom. You're as close to the customer as anyone... do customers who want touring (solo or 2-up) and/or utility sleds want subdued styling, or do they want more audacious?
JonnySox says:
6/8/2010 9:15:00 AM

Brown is the new black. I think the 03 F7 Firecats will be collectors along with the Sno Pro race sled that year.
Todd Ulschmid says:
6/8/2010 10:25:00 AM

The 93 ZR440....Good-luck finding one of those high reving little beasts....I can remember the one I had engaged at about 5 grand....Those little 440's had some serious porting......Then....Wait on it....The 96 and 97 ZR440's! The first lime green hoods! The 97 I had is still one of my all time fav sleds...Those sleds looked fast sitting still! Just my .02 cents....I wish I could have kept all the sleds I've owned...
Tom Rowland says:
6/8/2010 11:13:00 AM

I have the opinion that the people buying a luxury/touring type sled may not have styling preferences that much different than the people that are buying our F8s, CFRs or Z1 Turbos. Even if we are just going to drop a child, or grandchild, off at school, wouldnt we rather show up in a Z28 Camaro than a Chrysler Town and Country? (no offense to the Town and Country owners).
Stephen Knox says:
6/8/2010 3:29:00 PM

The decal design inspiration for the retro Firecat actually came from the 1976 Arctic Cat Sno Pro.
Bernie says:
6/8/2010 8:34:00 PM

I think it,s not only the style of a sled that makes it catch your eye . i had 2009 and stil have a 2010 600 snopro they just don,t have the same eye apeal as the 2008 . I would guess now may be the time to put one away for a decade
Eric Bergstrom says:
6/8/2010 9:31:00 PM

Another factor, for me anyway, is the experiences/memories provided by a particular machine. I put a ton of miles on an '01 ZR 600 when I was in high school. I had that thing out on the trail every weekend and then some, and I probably had more fun on that sled than any other before or since. It was fast, it never let me down, and it provided an awesome escape from the normal weekly grind of school and sports. As for appearance, I wouldn't say it was ugly, but it was definitely unconventional with those darker green and red decals on top of a lime green hood. Conversely, I thought the '02 ZR's we had the next year looked WAY better with green all around, silver front suspension, simpler graphics, and orange flames on the hood. However, it never snowed that year, and I never put a single mile on one. For that reason, I always like '01 ZR's better than '02's despite their slightly odd color scheme.
Eric Bergstrom says:
6/8/2010 9:35:00 PM

Oops, my memory failed me... the '02 ZR's we had featured black front suspension. I must have flashed back to the Cross Country Edition.
John Sandberg says:
6/9/2010 7:54:00 AM

Eric is right-on. The winter of 1997 was incredible throughout the Midwest, and I logged just over 5,000 miles that season on a '97 ZR 580. Which is one of the reasons that sled is my emotional favorite.
John Sandberg says:
6/9/2010 7:55:00 AM

I also dig the 1991 Jag Special (the Prowler chassis-based one). I thought that was an awesome play sled, and one that looked cool.
tODD uLSCHMID says:
6/9/2010 2:28:00 PM

92 Jag Special was the prowler chassis...The 91 was still the AFS chassis....My Dad had one. Don't mean to bust your chops on this... : )
Tom Rowland says:
6/9/2010 6:00:00 PM

Reflecting on some of these comments brings this to mind...twice in the last 20-or-so-years have I had a sled out on the trail that absolutely caused a genuine ruckus. As most will already know, some years we get a mid-season release, some years we do not, etc. I clearly recall getting an early-release 1998 ZR 500 and ZR 600 in about january of 1997 and people would want a closer look at those everytime we had them out....that was a blast! Fast forward to about late february 2006 when we got our first early release 2007 Jaguar 1100. Our snow was almost non-existant at our home so we trailered over near Hayward WI and spent a sunday afternoon doing some family type trail riding. More than once that afternoon we would meet a group of riders (on various brand sleds), they would whip around behind us and ride up and indicate we stop so they could get a closer look at this radical new sled. We turned that thing over to I-dont-recall-how-many people that day to take up the trail and back again. Just as it was 10 years earlier on the 98 ZRs, that is a blast when you are encountering people out on the trail that are that excited and interested in a new sled. Looking back, I am not sure if it was the styling of those two models that created the stir, or simply the fact that they looked very different than what we were used to having in the line up. Either way, I'll always remember the interest that they stirred.
John Sandberg says:
6/9/2010 9:23:00 PM

That reminds me of a funny story that I got to witness with Kirk Hibbert and the 1992 Prowler Special, while trail riding on the Gunflint Trail in NE Minn. Actually, I'm going to write that as a story in the next week. Sorry for the tease, but it's pretty funny. ALSO, thanks for the year correction on the Jag Special, Todd. You can bust my chops anytime.
Bob Palmer says:
6/11/2010 2:13:00 AM

I LOVE the green and white colors from all of the performance Cat's from the 70's and early 80's, especially the poster that I have of Team Arctic from the 79' ice oval racing season with Bob Elsner, Jim Dimmerman and Larry Coltom pictured next to their Sno-Pro!
Todd Wangen says:
6/11/2010 12:12:00 PM

I had that same color scheme 06 F6. It was a nice sled but didn't suit my needs to go off trail so I sold it. Would love to put those graphics on my new F8 EXT. I don't think they would fit though.
GS Mallory says:
6/11/2010 2:00:00 PM

I'll go back even further and talk about the 1972 EXT oval racer. I've been to about 100 vintage shows over the last 12 years, and if you want to see a kid just stop and do the double take, have them see a 1972 EXT 400, 440 or 650 triple that's been restored to as new condition. It's more effective than an ice cream truck!
At first glance they think it's a modified Jag, then they see the engine and the KH brakes, all that chrome and pipes, just sticking out all over, and they just don't know what to do for about two minutes. Then it's "DAAAAAAAAAD! DAAAAAAD! Come look at THIS!" Then usually mom drags them off with the kid looking back it like it's going to eat him. Gives me a big chuckle every time.
Lance Palmateer says:
6/12/2010 5:14:00 PM

My first sled was a 1994 zr 700. that was a fast sled. Put over 4500 miles on that baby. Ran like a champ. I was 12 when i got it. As far as im concerned they are the best looking sleds out there. Clean and simple graphics. dont see many any more. I recently sold it and the weirdest thing happened i was up on the trails and coming down the trail the opposite direction was MY ZR that i JUST SOLED! IM like no wayyyy. got video of it. unreal the memories on that beast. Small world
Joe Rainville says:
6/16/2010 3:38:00 PM

The only new Cat's I've purchased new or slightly used were SnoCross or CC racers. I can tell you that like Tom's description above, a few have caused a 'ruckus' in public.

The 99 got a lot of stares, and pulling into a grass drag with my then new 02 Z-440 Fan Sno Pro got a "Look at that thing!" comments. But at the Great Eastern Whiteout in NY back in 2005, I had left my then new 2005 440 Sno Pro in the trailer after the last race. I just loaded my vintage Deere's behind it and went to the show.

The guys made me pull it out of the trailer so they could fire up the heater, as it was kind of a cold Feb. day. That girl drew crowds around here. People were just gawking and crawling all over it. I even let a few kids and adults even take it around the grounds. Because of it's distinctive body work, race only chassis and motor, I think those 04-07 440's will always have a following.

I keep planning to trail convert mine if I can ever stop racing it. Don't laugh, she took 2nd in RMR's West Div in Pro-Am and Masters class in 2009 against the 600's. I just love that sled...

-Rainville
Steve Higman says:
6/28/2010 1:10:00 PM

What are your favorite Cat names? I always liked Wildcat and anything with Sno Pro or Cross Country in it. Liked Firecat, but wasnt too keen on "F". I wonder what the next sleds will be called?
James Krubsack says:
12/26/2013 10:00:00 PM

The two sleds pictured are actually two of the many Cats that I own. 79 ElTigre 5000 and 05 F6 retro. Before the Arctic Cat press release showcasing the 05 Retro a picture of it leaked in I believe Snow Tech magazine. Of course they did not have the official name for that model of sled and called it the Legend edition. I kind of like that name better seeing where the roots of this graphics package came from. I figured it was just someone's attempt at a cool graphics kit for the Firecat, and dismissed it as a one off. Then cat released their info on this sled and knew I had to have one. (as I have all three years of the Z sleds as well 75, 76, 77). This kind of sucked as I only had 624 Miles on the new Cat I had just purchased a couple years earlier an all green ZR. Needless to say my new F6 retro looks much better sitting amongst my vintage Arctic Cat heard. Mostly ElTigres and various Cat race sleds Z's and CC's. Most of these Retros have probably found there way into collectors garages as I see very few of them around or in the classifieds for sale anymore. As for the show where the picture was taken if you want to see some cool sleds come out to Waconia and take a look been goin, showin and racin there for at least the last 18 years. Tom Rowland usually has some pretty neat stuff there as well. I realize this post is a little delayed from the original thread but I just found this pic while trolling through Google images, and said hey those look like my sleds!!
Luzia says:
10/9/2015 1:05:00 AM

breakfast every morning has bemcoe a ritual of munching cereal while watching an incredible gal giving a marvelous breakdown of a trail, while balancing a camera and carrying on a one-sided conversation with an champion team of dogs! Life doesn't get much better than that! Thanks for the ride(s) of our life! You have given us a wonderful year of racing! The kennel "rocks".
Luzia says:
10/9/2015 1:06:00 AM

breakfast every morning has bemcoe a ritual of munching cereal while watching an incredible gal giving a marvelous breakdown of a trail, while balancing a camera and carrying on a one-sided conversation with an champion team of dogs! Life doesn't get much better than that! Thanks for the ride(s) of our life! You have given us a wonderful year of racing! The kennel "rocks".
Luzia says:
10/9/2015 1:06:00 AM

breakfast every morning has bemcoe a ritual of munching cereal while watching an incredible gal giving a marvelous breakdown of a trail, while balancing a camera and carrying on a one-sided conversation with an champion team of dogs! Life doesn't get much better than that! Thanks for the ride(s) of our life! You have given us a wonderful year of racing! The kennel "rocks".
Takuro says:
10/11/2015 5:55:00 AM

Thanks Mac for the excellent race coarevge and commentary. Enjoyed the spot interviews with Manny and the other fur kids! Allen and his team of youngsters did a fantastic job on showing that the SP Kennel team has the right stuff! http://dppcsa.com [url=http://fykwckj.com]fykwckj[/url] [link=http://lolthleivi.com]lolthleivi[/link]
Takuro says:
10/11/2015 5:56:00 AM

Thanks Mac for the excellent race coarevge and commentary. Enjoyed the spot interviews with Manny and the other fur kids! Allen and his team of youngsters did a fantastic job on showing that the SP Kennel team has the right stuff! http://dppcsa.com [url=http://fykwckj.com]fykwckj[/url] [link=http://lolthleivi.com]lolthleivi[/link]
Tayo says:
10/13/2015 1:49:00 AM

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Tayo says:
10/13/2015 1:49:00 AM

This is Jolene-AYEEEE at first i thought you meant you would be the first to start! I was like, OH my godoness how are we gonna make it? But hey, 36 minutes is a lot of time on the road. Heh. So, we are gathering snow suits and mittens and have plans to be there to see you off! Love you, get some sleep! http://ekbnjo.com [url=http://riktgbdcjzg.com]riktgbdcjzg[/url] [link=http://bcwujvl.com]bcwujvl[/link]
Tayo says:
10/13/2015 1:49:00 AM

This is Jolene-AYEEEE at first i thought you meant you would be the first to start! I was like, OH my godoness how are we gonna make it? But hey, 36 minutes is a lot of time on the road. Heh. So, we are gathering snow suits and mittens and have plans to be there to see you off! Love you, get some sleep! http://ekbnjo.com [url=http://riktgbdcjzg.com]riktgbdcjzg[/url] [link=http://bcwujvl.com]bcwujvl[/link]

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