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At some point this past winter, I had visited the Thief River Falls factory, and one of the Arctic Cat engineers pulled me aside and told me he had recently acquired a Pantera…after giving it a thorough once-over, he noticed the hood had some barely legible remnants of hand-painted lettering which read, “AIR FORCE 2 1/2”.

Curious, he got on the Google, and the only information he could find, led him to ArcticInsider. (Naturally) From here, everything appeared to be a dead end, and he wondered if I knew anything further…short answer is, I don’t and am turning to anyone here reading this.

You can read the ArcticInsider Celebrity story HERE, which shows a young Walter Mondale on a Pantera with caption, “In 1978, then U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale had his own Arctic Cat Pantera, complete with Minnesota registration numbers and a hand-painted “Air Force 2 1/2” on the hood.”

If anyone has any back story, information, or VIN# to verify my engineering friend has the original Mondale Pantera, please email me:



  1. I had a 79 Pantera and my brother in law had two 78″s. Other than the rather terrible hex clutch, they were bulletproof. Fun sleds. Great article as usual.

  2. This sled got a blurb in Sno Goer and either the Thumbs Up Cat dealer magazine or Cats Pride that came out the next season. I believe it was the fan cooled 500cc version. Not the free air. But hey it’s been almost fifty years so I can be wrong. But gosh I swear I can go back to seeing that Thumbs Up Cat mag with an article on this. Thumbs Up was the pre curser to Cats Pride. Only one issue done. 1978 will start with an 8 in the serial number. 1979 starts with a nine. Wish I could help more.

  3. Kale,
    Why is my earlier comment awaiting moderation? There is nothing derogatory in it. I’m just curious when were going to see something new and exciting on the dirt side of AC/Textron like the Catalyst is to the snow side.

    • Sorry Bulldog. I must have deleted it when I cleaned up these comments after posting the Yamaha story. I believe the 24 offroad launch will happen be happening in Aug/Sept timeframe.

  4. From looking into my copy of Legend, that Pantera looks like a 1977 model. First year for the fan cooled version. If so, serial number will start with a seven. I’m certain there was an article in a magazine of the day, most likely Sno Goer. I wish I could help more. But I’ve hit a wall.

    • Thanks for digging. Ive got most of the SnowGoer magazines from that era. Ill have to take a quick browse sometime soon.

  5. Thanks.
    Good luck.
    Yea my Arctic Enterprises shop/parts manuals are sorted but I still have to sort my mag stacks. I moved two years ago and its still a mess. Someday I’ll get them organized. If the guy needs a parts and shop manual I can set him up with a photocopy free.


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