While I was at Arctic Cat last week, I stopped by my friend John Anderson’s shop in Thief River Falls.
There are many reasons to stop at John’s shop. For starters, John is a great guy. As a Sr. Technician in Arctic Cat ATV Engineering, I often see John at work building fancy new buggies.
Secondly, John’s shop refrigerator is constantly in a state of being over-filled and in need of some relief.
Then there’s the fact that he’s TOTALLY plugged into cool snowmobile projects (like THIS AWESOME ZR SLEEPER), especially the vintage and mid-school stuff, so there’s always something cool to see.
But maybe better than all that stuff is that John’s shop has so many interesting things to look at.
I had originally planned to use a photo from this visit on last week’s Cat Trip Report, but as I looked at the images I realized they needed a post of their own.
So, here are some pix of John’s shop and its current contents:
That’s John on the right, kicking back and talking with Kale Wainer (Arctic Cat Marketing). Actually, I think John is talking and Kale is ogling over the two vintage Arctic Cats sitting before him.
This was Kale’s view of the situation, so you can see why he was simultaneously ignoring John and hatching a plan to tell his wife the virtues of owning a 40-year old Arctic Cat mini bike.
For a closer look, it’s a 1971 Arctic Cat Prowler. Anderson obtained two boxes of parts and, a little elbow-grease (and some parts-procurement) later, he has it almost done (waiting for the rear fender). The cool thing is, it’s for Gerald Swaser, a fellow Arctic Cat employee who’s nearing retirement.
The sled is a 1981 Arctic Cat el Tigre 6000.
Its engine (minus much of the sheered-in-two crank) is in the two boxes in front. This would be a deal-stopper for many would-be vintage riders and builders, but not Anderson. On the contrary, Anderson almost relishes the freedom of what possibilities exist for a machine whose engine has defaulted.
Perhaps a stock rebuild? Maybe a bump to a late-’80s 530 twin, or even a 650 twin? Heck, why not a triple of some sort to really send a message?!
Whichever direction he chooses, Anderson has the imagination, ingenuity and the parts to complete the project (probably in about 10 hours if he put his mind to it).
As a matter of fact, there were several options on the bench he was holding up, including a stock 440 liquid.
If the options on the bench wouldn’t suffice, he could extend his reach to atop the furnace and grab this custom triple. Yep, that’d work nicely.
He could sacrifice the delicate balance of Craftsman snow blower and use the pipes hanging from it, as well as the various cylinders that prevent it from moving backwards.
One thing is for certain, Anderson won’t need to look far for a new seat cover, since he has two brand-new Tiger covers just waiting to grace a snowmobile.
Yep, it’s good to have options.
The note on this ski says “John, someday u will ride a real snowmobile.” It’s signed by legendary North Pole conqueror Ralph Plaisted (RIP), who lived in White Bear Lake, Minn., which is a stone’s throw from where Anderson grew up.
I think that if Anderson builds a 1050 triple and shoves it into a Tiger chassis, that Plaisted will be proven wrong.
Thanks for allowing me be photo-journalist in the shop, John!
And thanks for reading.