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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.