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HomeFeaturesTGIF: The Feb. 27, 2015 Edition

TGIF: The Feb. 27, 2015 Edition

TGIF: The Big Johnson (snowmobile)

I’m thankful for the hell-bent era of snowmobile speed records, when manufacturers went to great lengths to achieve top speed.

I’m thankful for the company marketing efforts that actually tried to tie machines like this to the actual consumer sleds.

I’m thankful we can all joke around about big Johnsons (and how they motivate some people to go bigger and faster).

And I’m thankful it’s Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.



  1. And I am happy that our friends at F&S Yamaha in southern PA saved this big Johnson from the scrap yard. The sled is in a private collection and kept in decent shape. Once upon a time a small museum owned it and they went broke. The current owners saved it from an uncertain fate. Just like some others saved the Boss Cats from loss. A looney time in history, but fun.

  2. When I worked at OMC (previous century) there was still a poster of this sled in the basement of our office space in Waukegan. Note the photo…it’s not on snow, but on the salt flats in Bonneville. I don’t recall if they tried to run it there, or just took it there in the summer for a photo. But the people who were around at the time were still laughing about the poor guy who had to stand in that one-piece suit in the hot sun for the photo.

    Hi Glen (above)…good to see your name. Is Pegasus on display at that dealership? Anywhere it can be seen? I thought the design company Brooks Stevens in Milwaukee had it for awhile.

  3. Hi Pleudy: Yes they did the record attempt at Bonny and I think they hit about 140 mph with it. According to the current owner who has really researched the old gal, the problem with running it on snow was they could not keep the sled upright. It needed a pool table flat condition to be run safe at speed, and the jet fin was added to keep the sled pointed straight above 90mph. It was in F&S owners basement display last I knew. I don’t want to put his name on here in print. Johnson removed the engines before it was sent to that museum so no one would get any wise ideas about driving it. Last I talked to the current owner (7 years ago?) he had two motors that he was going to install in it but never run, just to fill the holes. No idea if he finished that. It had a pair of modified V4 two stroke outboards when it set the record on land. Boss Cat 1 hit about 125 on snow, so Cat claimed the record on snow that year. Most people said a sled is for snow, so Johnson’s claim was ignored pretty quickly by the sled press. However if you want to just talk speed, Boss Cat 1 never beat the Johnson in a timed event, Boss Cat 2 did in practice runs in the 1970’s and finally for real when it was restored and raced in the 1980’s. Vintage guys still debate this. LOL.


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