Those who have followed ArcticInsider have probably seen this unit featured before, or you may have even seen it in the pages of Arctic Cat’s 50th Anniversary book. If you haven’t seen it, what you are looking at is one of the pre-cursors to the UTV as we know it.
Owned by Thomas Sno Sports (TSS) in Ogilvie, Minnesota, this 1963 Arctic Cat Model 1000 4×4 is one of the first prototypes the factory built dipping it’s toes in the off-road market.
On a recent visit to TSS, owner Tom Rowland shared a photo with me that I think is incredibly cool! Tom had recently acquired the photo of the Model 1000 in its earliest years at a hunting camp near Roseau, MN. The photo was taken by Edgar Hetteen. (Founder of Arctic Cat)
TSS has an incredible Arctic Cat collection at their dealership. If you can’t visit in person, check out their virtual museum on the Thomas Sno Sports website. This Model 1000, and others in the Rowland collection, will be on display at the 60 Years of Arctic Cat Collectors show in Thief River Falls, MN, July 15-16, 2022.
In Tom’s words, here is a rundown on this really unique off-road vehicle.
We purchased this in approximately 1994 from a man in East Grand Forks, North Dakota. He had bought it out of a grove in western ND a few years prior. The original engine was missing but a similar-to-original, 10hp Kohler, was with the machine when we bought it.
Not too many days after getting it home, we had it running and operating. It was our main deer camp “ATV” until the late 1990s and still remains very capable off-road.
In the late 90’s, we had it on display at a Hay Days event and ran into Edgar Hetteen (Founder of Arctic Cat). Edgar was at the popular snowmobile event promoting his then-new book, Breaking Trails. He was generous enough to stop by and discuss the Model 1000 with us and informed us, this was the very first Model 1000 they made, and it has many differences from the production model.
Our Model 1000 does not have the belly mounted fuel tank or the flat front grille. Our final drives are mounted at an angle, and not straight up-and-down like the production versions.
The Arctic Enterprises ID tag reads: SERIAL: 63-1001 MODEL: X. We’ve left the exterior of the Model 1000 alone and have preserved it as we originally found it.
Many, many members or our family have used this unique 4wd over the years, including our grandchildren now. We can’t think of a better way to introduce them to the great experiences that off-road riding and exploration can provide. And I’m grateful for Edgar’s forward thinking in the early 1960’s.