Of the many interesting displays at the Arctic Cat 50th celebration, one that kept catching my eye was the prototype engine display produced by the engineering department (and Andy Olson in particular). That’s Andy in the above photo.
For those who missed it, here are some pix along with the information that accompanied each.
1100cc Thundercat engine
-Increased from 999cc
-New cylinder design triple exhaust port and exhaust valve
-Prototyped in 2000, never produced
295cc Fan-Cooled single cylinder
-Same fan as 440cc twin cylinder engine
-Designed to replace the 250cc free-air single used on the Lynx
440cc L/W “Lightweight”
-First prototype in 1979
– Original design 47 lbs., 56-hp
-Never produced until 1989 for the 1990 Prowler
-In the Prowler, the engine weighed 53 lbs. due to a larger magneto (for greater electrical output) and full-circle crankshaft.
-Increased to 68 hp in 1991 (I assume some of the reason for this was because of the Jeep/I-500 racing rules of the time, which allowed a maximum of 68-hp. –Ed.)
500cc Liquid-Cooled Triple
-Based off of the 600 ZRT engine
-Planned for the 1995-96 season
-Never produced due to cost and low demand
Laydown Engines: the engines that would debut in the 2002 Sno Pro race sled, then the 2003 Firecats, and have evolved into today’s 800 H.O.
-First prototype based off of a 640cc Tigershark engine (not shown) in 1997.
-Second proto (above) based off of a 1998 “stand up” 440cc engine, machined and modified to the “laydown” induction system, in 1998. (Built by Arctic Cat engineers. -Ed.)
-Third prototype (above), built in 1998, had the reed valves relocated to the front of the crankcase, with the cooling lines in the case. (Built by Arctic Cat engineers. -Ed.)
-First Suzuki-built prototype of the laydown 440 engine (above).
Carbon-fiber pistons! I’ve been told it didn’t pan out, and that the cost would be prohibitive.
This prototype single-cylinder had no informational placard next to it. It started life as a 800 laydown twin.
Personally, the idea of a narrow, light 400cc EFI single that produces in the neighborhood of 70 hp gets me REALLY fired-up. I can image a few applications for such an engine, such as so-called “youth” sled that was perhaps sized about 20% smaller than today’s sleds (think early AFS Jag dimensions).
I also wonder what an engine like this would be like in an ATV?
Yep, interesting times ahead for Arctic Cat engines, with an end to the Suzuki supply coming after the 2014 model season. Obviously the company is hard at work on that next chapter.
Two of the guys responsible for many prototype engines over the years: Greg Spaulding (l) and Donn Eide.
Any ideas of what you think is coming?