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HomeFeaturesFuture Collectible Arctic Cats: Part One

Future Collectible Arctic Cats: Part One

Which sleds from the recent past will be highly collectible/prized 10-30 years from now?

Having spent several days working on or around prized vintage Arctic Cat snowmobiles like the ’79 Cross-Country Cat and various Z models at Sauve’s Sled Farm, I’ve been thinking a lot about this question.

Arctic Cat Zs from

Seeing the massive price increase on certain 1970s sleds over the past decade or so, makes me kick myself for passing on what used to be common opportunities. Though it’s probably about 15 years ago, I remember routinely seeing ’76 and ’77 Z Sno Pro sleds at Haydays for less than a grand. Wasn’t too many years ago that a late ‘70s el tigre in very good condition would fetch $400.

Seems like the two factors that most influence later collectability are the original production number (the smaller it was, the more rare the sled will become) and the desirability of that sled when it was first new (high performance and race sleds will always be the most desirable simply because they captured our imagination when they were new). It also seems like first-year models are especially sought after once enough time passes.

So, in my opinion, these are the Arctic Cats of recent past will push the desire meter past 10 at some point in the future:


Arctic Cat el tigre

Any leaf-spring el tigre. As Tom Rowland of Thomas Sno Sports says, these machines recently hit a tipping point and have suddenly become far scarcer, far more desirable and far more expensive.


Pre-production 1984-85 Arctic Cat el Tigre

Of course, and one of the 50-or-so 1984-85 pre-production AFS Arctic Cats are already worth some serious jing, not only because of the extremely low build number, but also because it heralded the first AFS front suspension. The one above is owned by Tom Rowland, who wrote THIS about it on his Website.


Hot Model... the 1990 Arctic Cat EXT Special

Kirk Hibbert winning the 1990 I-500 on an Arctic Cat EXT Special

Like the 1971 model of the same name, the 1990 EXT Special already rates high on the collectability scale. The first production machine to feature FOX Gas Shox, as well as the first built-for-racing sled from Arctco, Inc., the ’90 Special automatically qualifies. Then consider it won the Jeep I-500 cross-country (Kirk Hibbert) and Eagle River World Championship (Brian Sturgeon), plus was built in relatively limited numbers, and we have the recipe for desirability.


1992 Arctic Cat Jag Special

"Hollywood" Joey Hallstrom (r) stands proud next to the '92 Jag Special used in Jerry Dillon's (left) MRP Race Program

Maybe it’s just because I fell in love with this sled at the time, but I have an inkling the 1992 Jag Special will one day be collectible. More so than the 1991 Jag Special that was built on the AFS chassis, the ’92 model on the Prowler chassis just plain looked cool. I’d say it was the first (and only) Prowler-based model that hit an emotional nerve for many Arctic Cat faithful. Once again, this was a race-oriented sled.


1993 Arctic Cat ZR440

The 1993 ZR440 (and probably the 580 as well) will go down in history as VERY collectible. A race sled, built in limited numbers and the start of an era in which Arctic Cat would dominate races and grow in sales, the ZR was a milestone in the history of the brand. A classic example of form following function, the ZR brought delicious performance technology like the Wilwood hydraulic brake, ergo-shaped fuel tank, gun-drilled shafts and exceptionally-tuned suspensions. In one fell swoop, the ZR erased the performance woes of the Prowler-based sleds and charted a new course for the company and its riders.

I’ll follow up with Part II in a couple days.



  1. Nice list. I was fortunate enough to buy a new ’90 EXT special for trail riding. Thing cornered like it was on rails. Alas, it broke the crank like many within the first 700 miles. Things get dark real fast 9:30 at night while blasting into Watersmeet on trail #2 when the crank gives up šŸ™ Dealer had me back up in 4 days.

  2. Sno Pro 440 2003 was something that I will never forget. Even with the milder cylinder heads the sleds was freaking fast.
    Only couple of those sleds was brought in Finland. One of our test riders had one.
    We tried that sled against any other 440 sled and they couldnĀ“t come even close! Then we did some drag racing against MXZ 600 H.O. and F7 Sno Pro. Result was nearly the same; acceleration of 440 killed both sleds.
    Top speed wasnĀ“t super because of the low gearing, but accelaration was stunning!!
    What it comes to rideability, there were better sleds to the Scandinavian race tracks, but nothing compared to SnoPro 440 when we are talking about the power.

  3. I always liked ’91 Wildcats and ’93 Thundercats. I was relatively young when the T-Cats came out, but they were the ultimate in excitement as far as I was concerned. Don’t get me wrong, ZR’s were amazing, but I don’t think I ever wanted anything so badly as to take a Thundercat down a railroad grade to see what it could do. Cool name, cool look, cool sound, and it was definitely a show stopper if you came across one out in public somewhere.

  4. Hey, back in the day…. I had a 93 ZR440(bought it new, it replaced the 91 EXT Special I had) and a 93 Z440(wife’s sled at the time). By the way, the picture above the ZR440 is a picture of a 93 Jag Z440, not a 92 Jag special. The 92 Jag Special had a bare aluminum tunnel. Just saying…. Can’t wait for part 2.

  5. That’s a 92 Jag Special Todd, my Dad bought one new, he hated the windshield, he called it an eyelash LOL
    That scooter was fun to ride and that 440 fan was pretty snappy with the twin carbs.

  6. One of the great features of Web vs. print is that when you make a mistake (as I originally did with the Jag Special image…and that Todd correctly pointed out), I can simply fix it. So please, just pretend I had it correct the whole time.

  7. John, you were just testing us…. Do I win a prize? Something like a “free” subscription to Arctic Insider… LOL.

    Vince, Those 440’s with the twin carbs were great little sleds. Did you know it could double as a touring sled? One weekend up in Hayward, WI.
    my sled had terminal internal combustion issues…So, Barb and I doubled up on the Jag for the rest of the weekend…. -30 below temps, to boot. Aaaaaah, good times…..

  8. my dad bought a 1972 ext 440 twin cylinder brand new,that was a sled ahead of its my opinion it was and still is one of my favorite snowmobiles.unfortunately it was stolen off the trail in the early 80,s.I remember crying when he got home and told me the news.any way another favorite of mine was a 92 ext special 550 cc it was my first brand new sled and one I will never forget the flames to me were the one of the coolest graphics packages on snow.cant wait for part 2.keep up the good work and THINK SNOW

  9. Good topic and very nice list of sleds. I agree with all of them except the Jag. As Jag’s go, that one was as good as they got, but I think the name will hold it back.

    I believe that one of the most collectible sleds will be the 2003 F7 in black. Yeah, a lot were made, but the collectible ones will be the true survivors that didn’t end up with cracked bulkheads; mods to the chassis or engines; and that remain in well above average condition. The 04 Fighter in silver and 05 black Retro will also fetch big bucks.

    With the El Tigre’s, I think the dual plug Kawasaki motors will be the most collectible, along with the 81 Tiger 6’s. A real nice 93 TCat and a real nice ZRT should also be in the discussion.

  10. the 1972 ext which stood for experimental was the prelude to the el tigres.any way everyone has listed some very nice about this if you could pick 1 cat from the past what one would it be?mine would be a 77 440Z with the twin plug heads oh yea that was an awsome sled!!

  11. Here’s my short list of future collectables that haven’t been mentioned:
    1992 mid season EXT 550 EFI
    1993 Thundercat
    1995 ZR440 (First ETT tunnel)
    1995 early release ZRT600
    1996 ZR440 (first green hood racer)
    1999 West yellowstone Special(Maybe. Don’t know how many were actually produced)
    2000 ZR440
    2000 ZR600 (2K edition paint scheme)
    2003 Firecat F7 (one of those lightweight proto types that did the exibition racing at Hay Days)
    2006 Crossfire (early edition & Sno Pro)

    I’ll stop, now. Current sleds?
    2008 600 Sno Pro racer.
    2010 500 Sno Pro….
    Now, I’m done.

  12. HI BOYZ Could you tell me how to replace the Drive belt on a 900 three cylinder. We have this old engine in a Sidecar outfit and it goes like DOODAA But fast starts are over heating the belt.

    Alan UK.

  13. I recently, (about 2 months ago) picked up a 1993 Prower ZR 440. Near mint condition with 2900 miles on it. Only thing wrong was a couple stitches in the rear of the seat. Other than that, near perfect. I was planning on racing it in the pro stock 440 class in ovals, but I have changed my mind. Its is going to be gone thru, cleaned up and put away. my two cents

  14. I’m going to say the 2003 440 will be in that list also some day. It changed the way we look at sleds inside and out. I could go into that with great discussion ( like I do with Polaris owners ) but I would be preaching to the choir here.

  15. i have that same 1993 ZR 440 in the picture above. and it has a studded track, brand new engine, and fox shocks. how much do you think it is worth? or should i even sell it? would be better to hold on to it?

  16. I have a 1994 arctic cat jag z 440 it is really rare and is a big collecters item right now there was only 1200 made they were built for raceing from the factory if you look it up min google images only one picture the same as it comes up that’s how rare it is

  17. I had a 92 Jag, 91 Prowler Special and a 00 ZRT 600. Then winters got real inconsistent and the newer sleds got real expensive, so rather than continue buying the newer sleds, I regressed. Always enjoyed the ride of the windshield mounted handlebar chassis and bought a 92 EXT Special in Excellent condition (4200 miles) and a 90 Prowler in Excellent condition (2000 miles). I feel like a kid again. I know it’s irrational, but I enjoy these sleds more than the new ones.

  18. When traveling Outside, like I just did to PA, peolpe are always interested in our lives, but the one thing that they don’t really get is that some villages are only reachable by snow machine, plane, boat or dog team. I barely get it, since I live in the second largest Alaskan city. I have wanted to have some insight into just this experience.Perfect!

  19. Thanks so much for this magnificent video!!! Gives a real foalvr of Alaska, and the music and title comments are perfect!!!And the dogs look so happy to be in harness and racing again!!!Everything a fan would like to see here in April as it is warming up back east…thanks again (for going the “extra mile”)! [url=]czknfkqeyu[/url] [link=]lbgfddkdula[/link]

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  21. I recently picked up a 92.5 EFI 550 sled, very nice condition. EFI was removed but I have the system. Does anyone know where I can get a diagram or pic of the engine area. I have rebuilt a few of the ZR 1995 models but this system has a different placement of ECU. I have looked for pics and have bought the manuals but alass they do not cover this sled.
    As a side note I also have a 1994 T Cat 900 with 694 original miles on it. It is a amasing sled that to this day I have not been taken on hard pack by anything LOL super fast loud and fun.

  22. I have a 90 El Tigre EXT Special with the FOX rear shock and I love this sled! Im gonna **** it out! I already bought an earlier motor that wasnt detuned and Im thinking of doing a earlier ZR skid swap maybe I shouldnt tho since it has the Fox shock and its so collectible maybe I should just leave it alone… Any thoughts? the stock paint and decal scheme is long gone in favor of a custom paint job with extreme carribean night mist color changing cameleon paint…

  23. I snocrossed and drag raced my 92 Jag special, and had lot’s of success with it. That thing was quick over short distances. Ask some of the guys I raced against that had liquid sleds!!! Sure did like the look of that sled to. And wish I still had. Now I ride around on my 2003 Patriot F7.

  24. I’m picking up a 2004 Arctic cat F7 black fighter pilot Edition cheap! Does anyone know if this is a Rare sled….??? Lmk please… thank anyone with info

  25. I have a 1990 el tigre EXT that my dad bought new in 89. I ride it often amazing sled. In great shape very fun to ride.

  26. There was some confusion in the comments about the Jag. It IS indeed a 92 jag special. Both pictures. In the riding picture you can see it’s an unpainted tunnel and the “special” decal on the tunnel. And the other picture you can clearly see the “special” decal on the nose. The 93 had a “Z” decal on the nose and a Z440 decal on the tunnel, as they dropped the special naming and it was called the Jag Z for 93 and 94. I have a 94, fantastic machines! They’ll outrun about everything in the woods!


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