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HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLONES?

Any time I see a Cross Country Cat, or some form of Team Arctic race sled listed on Marketplace, my curiosity is peaked. This listing stopped me, and made me wonder what people think of clone builds?

Here was the start of my 76 Pantera. It was a great runner, but had its cosmetic issues. I think I paid $150 for it. Knowing I wanted to “restore” it, but not having much interest in the Catillac of snowmobiles, I decided to sex it up and turn it into a retro mod Cross Country Cat.

I myself have owned a few, and have even built a version of this Cross Country Cat from a 76 Pantera. I called mine a SnoCross Country Cat. Some of you may have seen it at Waconia or featured in the pages of Snow Tech magazine. I sold it several years ago, but know the owner, and it’s still being used and enjoyed which makes me happy.

This was the end product of my build. It was quite fun to ride, and once finished, it was brought into the Styling Dept of Arctic Cat to discuss the hot topic of building a “3/4 Sled” and what it should be. (2005?) The 3/4 sled discussion started before my arrival at the company (2004) and the long running debate/market evaluation ultimately lasted until introducing the Blast models in 2021.

Im a big fan of retro mods – especially if they are built to ride and enjoy. Later this week Ill share a pair built off the 78 El Tigre platform. They are pretty spectacular.

If you are interested in Tom’s Pantera, hit the link above to the Marketplace listing to contact him. Below is his description and photos that caught my attention. Enjoy. -Kale

Seller’s Description

This started out as a fun project back in 2014. This is a ’76 Pantera 500 F/A restored to look like a ’76 Cross Country Cat 340. I lost a family member in 2014 and kind of lost interest in the project. It needs to go to the right owner to finish it off. Would be great for fun runs or vintage racing. Almost everything has been cleaned, polished, redone, etc. Including a complete rebuild on the motor. Northern Crankshaft in Thief River redid the crank, bearings, and cases. The rear suspension has been converted to a coil-over with gas shocks. The tubs contain all the parts needed to finish this project, plus a whole bunch of extras. There have been some cracks in the enamel green paint from sitting in storage. I have no idea what this is worth, so if you think $1200 is crazy, make me an offer.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I think some are ok if represented as such. We have replicated a couple sno x mods due to the fact they were disassembled and are gone. Our 2000 Toni Haikonen mod is a “replica” but we have his original engine and seat from the real sled. We have one under construction that is a “replica” or clone of Per Berggrens 98 hand built super trick mod with a one off skid” enlisted the help of Pers mechanic to make sure it’s as accurate as we can get it” so I feel when some history is gone these are ok as long as they are not represented as the real deal!

  2. Needs more riser …

    On a side note – do you recall who built the 80’s/70s cat with the ctech2 600 motor in it with twins ? I have been looking for pictures with no luck.

    • I am just finishing up a 1976 Sno Pro clone built from a 76 Z, I have built it to represent the sled I fell in love with back in 1975/76. Since there were only 12 of these built and I have no chance of owning one this is the next best thing. With this sled I can take it out for a ride on the lake or maybe around a half mile oval and not feel that I am risking a rare piece of history. So without a clone my garage would be empty

  3. Those were special sleds. Had to be clutched right or you couldnā€™t drive it as it needed higher rpms to make enough power to take off – but was fast for a 340. I had one for many years (a real one – #475) – loved the sled – very reliable too. Like all cats from that era the steel cleated tracks were a handful crossing a road or on the ice. The other big issue with these was going through powder – the snow going through the motor would freeze on the carbs.

    I donā€™t love seeing the older clones and would much rather see older sleds brought back to what they were. However, some sleds are so rare or donā€™t exist at all without a clone – the Kawasaki Shark comes to mind.

  4. It’s ok as long as the model number code is left on the tub so us who judge vintage shows can tell its a clone. The Pantera came with the first Gen El-Tigre 5000 FA engine, a 500cc twin. The real XC 76 came with the special 340 version of this same basic design, with engine mods done on the protos by Team Arctic to get the hp back to the 56hp limit of the stock class. Suzuki then built the engine to Cat’s specs. It’s pretty obvious to a good judge as to what started life as a Pantera cloned into an XC. Most guys are pretty honest and will tell you it’s a clone or they blew the 340 race engine up and went with the less finicky 500 mill when the sled was retired from racing and turned into a trail cruiser.

  5. All what you want to ride. ME, I want to ride what I have. The 81, 5000, and 79, 6000. Like stepping back intime and a rush of what riding was like for me in younger years. The feel, smell and way you ride them. And they just make me look and say, that looks cool. The Z I restored didn’t ride, sold and got the wife a second sled to ride, and keeping her Roger Skime, for a back up ride. If a clone makes it so you can ride it, works for me. Old sleds are just a thrill for many to see going down a trail. Even better if a old saddle jockey knows how to ride one, the new crowd is amazed at how hard it is to keep up.

  6. The same way I feel about how lame this “Arctic Insider” site has become. I assumed we would know more about what is going on with Cat and not your/our feelings on clones. Wow…really reaching here for some content.
    The promise of the 2022 race sleds story being prolonged and delayed as well as part II of your afternoon in TRF never delivered (but was coming next, right??? Your words) makes you feel like there is no true “insider” information? Nada. Obviously, you now need a babysitter while walking the halls at the factory, so insider; I think not.
    It is nice you know the names of everyone at Cat and their facial hair growth chart and cleaning habits ( while smiling I might add), but you truly never give any real information on what is going on. Great people, I am sure.
    I come to this site to learn more about the insider info on Cat, hence, the name at the top of the page. Not this irrelevant “Arctic Insider” website filler to keep us clicking on your site. It was delivered in the past; very well might I add. Certainly time for a website name change here. Assuming you are getting paid to tell the public as little as possible, so we keep buying. If your NDA is in the way, than again, you are not an insider who can share anything worth while. Click bait.
    Or is it really that bad. If so, my apologies.

    • CCZ – Sorry you feel that way, but I love your honesty. Like most any “brand ambassador”, ArcticInsider isn’t my only job, but I wish it were. My other job(s) help fund the site while trying to keep hardcore enthusiasts like you informed and maybe even entertained. One major investment in time and money this year was to revamp the Look/Feel and SEO here so the past/present articles can be found much easier on the Google and I can help better represent Arctic Cat to all who follow AI.

      Is my content different than Sandbergs? Yes, but not really. John did a phenomenal job, but for sake of argument, he had his share of “filler” content…It comes with the territory no matter what ambassador or influencer you follow. And have some of my stories been prolonged? Yes. Im guilty. Sometimes there is a deeper reason, other times its my schedule.

      Our society is challenged with so many forms of different communication channels now, it poses a problem on how/where an individual gets their info. Take for instance, Facebook. Some people only go there to get their info. Within Facebook, you can find a hundred different Arctic Cat offset pages talking about the brand. What’s my point? Some of those AC enthusiasts forget to even look at Arctic Cat’s website to get answers to simple questions. There are instances of people commenting on the AI Facebook page who didn’t even realize this website existed despite the Facebook page name, ArcticInsider.com. [Sigh] (So yes, sometimes I share info you can get directly off AC’s website)

      On a side tangent – Im the only source sharing Factory Friday photos, and I cant tell you how many times Ive been on a Facebook trail riders page answering the question, “When will Thundercats be on the line?” At the same time these types of questions are being asked, the photos have already been posted (sometimes several weeks). And the weeks I don’t share a Factory Friday photo, some say I forgot, but back to my point of “deeper reasons”, I hadn’t shared a photo because Yamaha product was being built.

      Anyway…Ill try to do the best job I can for you and others. Its my goal to share “Insider” content for you from the Factory, but also try and share as much Arctic Cat educational and entertainment info from other sources so you can visit and support them too. -Kale

  7. CCZ – I’d say don’t shoot the messenger. If there is anything new going on in that building, it’s not like he’s going to be able to share it.

  8. I may have come off too harsh, and for that I am sorry, Mark. However, we come to this site to get information, speculation, facts on build dates, detailed info on new product already out, etc. Interesting content an “insider” can actually provide without breaking his or her NDA. Examples; Responding to the 400,000+ who wanted to know when their Thundercat’s were to be on the line, expanding on the HCS thread on a possible 900+ motor, detailed changes to engines, chassis, existing product and so on. Not the boilerplate info we all get off Cat’s website or brochure on our own. A deeper “insider” look or expansion of what is already out their, and what is to possibly come. The possibility is there is actually nothing to inform us of. But speculation is always good content and usually gets the most parties involved and roaring to chime. This site used to be very good at that.

  9. Good one CCZ. Like some big earth-shattering news will be on here. Let me some it up. New this or that, we tested, we raced. And for you the consumer we’ll see just how stuff works short and long term. Always been that way. The good news is, my deal has Thundercats in crates. Now let’s hope the T-cat is 100%, as far as parts. Doo guy’s and POL,,,,we all know that story. And the real good new’s ,Northwoods is looking snowy

  10. Oh I could go on about clones forever but..

    Basically, A decent copy of a famous or rare sled is fine, and it can actually INCREASE the value of originals. Some are really well done tributes.

    However… I have seen so many clones built by honorable people who have the best of intentions that got represented later (not by the original creator) as REAL, because they could get more money for it.

    Also, just my opinion, but a poorly done “clone” greatly diminishes the work done by the people who made the original. Lots of Clone cat SnoPros out there that are not even close to what Lofton, Coltom and Thompson raced, as well as the Elsner and Dimmerman machines.

  11. Funny but I come here to be entertained. I have a strong affection for vintage sleds. Some of my weak spots are the old El Tigres. For some reason people pinstriped added (hippies?-lol) stripes. Then no decals at all was the rage (hipsters?) and now were back to full wraps. So I feel a clone falls right in line. And if it’s sold as a clone…no foul.

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