Google search engineGoogle search engine
HomeFeaturesDonn Eide's 50 Years of Arctic Cat

Donn Eide’s 50 Years of Arctic Cat

Arctic Cat engine legend Donn Eide with his two classic sleds.

With 50-plus years of designing and building engines at Arctic Cat, Engine Design Manager Donn Eide has a history and knowledge of the brand that’s truly staggering.

Check out this photo of him with his 1965 120 D. What does he have to say about it in comparison to his 2015 XF 6000?

“The 120 D had a longer track than the standard 100 D of it’s time. So even back in 1965 we realized the need for a long track version, just like the XF models of today.

The 120 also had reverse (in a gearcase instead of the reversing the engine). The 120 had a foot operated drum brake vs. the hand operated hydraulic disc of today.

The CVT is still around, but it’s been advanced many, many iterations.

The engine went from the 8 HP Kohler to our own Arctic Cat-built 600 twin 2 stroke with DSI. You still pull a rope today to start both.

I recall breaking the dipstick off on the Kohler damaging the camshaft and having to take the engine apart and fix in my dad’s basement. Little did I know back then what would define my career for the next 50-plus years!

Not sure if will do complete restore or leave it as it is. Either way, I sure enjoy both machines for what they are”



  1. How cool is that, to be able to go to a job that you look forward to everyday and to appreciate and keep things in perspective, you cant have a future with out a past, I enjoy riding the old ones as much as the new ones, it makes you appreciate the new ones and it make you appreciate the older ones as well great story great photo!

  2. Don might not remember, but in 1988 Arctic was having a problem with the new wildcat 650’s burning down, and he and Dean Lowrenz flew to Utica in upstate NY to observe some of the first sleds in the field. I was a young man and worked as a mechanic for the dealer Sun and Snow recreation and I took Don and Dean with my sled and a few others up to the Tug Hill to test them. I remember how ultimately the composition of the Eastern gasoline turned out to be part of the problem, and how Don ultimately figured that out. Super nice guys and my closest encounter with the Arctic Cat factory. Don subsequently ported my 650 to FIII specs and I tested it Dynotech when it first started (one of my other sleds was featured in that publication – a 1990 EXT Special). Fun days…

  3. Now here’s a guy that has some vision..from a snowmobile perspective, when you and I close our eyes we probably see the latest and greatest. Donn has been thru decades of evolution with numerous brands/manufactures of engine and fuel groups. What an accomplishment. This meek individual would NEVER use the word I in any sentence written or spoken, its not in his scandinavian vocabulary. I was fortunate to work with Donn and the racing group of engineers he put together. We all shared some fantastic times together and I’m hugely thankful for them. Be sure to let us know when you retire, it will be a full house..Thank You Donn for everything you have done.. Jim

  4. Worked with Donn when I worked for Arctic and appreciated his help on many fronts! We had some unforgettable times on our houseboat trips and our trip to the Indy 500. I don’t think Donn will ever retire because he is just having too much fun šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

  5. Ditto on the comments from 84 World Champion Jim Dimmerman above. I know all the Team Arctic Racers felt the same way and owe much of their success to Don. He even made time for us guys in the sales dept when we had the opportunity to pick his brain and he was always patient and answered them with complete class.

  6. Anybody know how many 1965 120d sleds were built? A.C. Legacy’s web page just shows a ?….Thanks…..Great story. Red Ingman, Tomahawk, WI.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular