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TGIF: The Original Wildcat Edition

Hollywood goes big on a 1988 Arctic Cat Wildcat.

I’m thankful for the evocative Wildcat, a name that entered Arctic Cat lore for the 1988 model year in the form of a twin-cylinder, twin-pipe, 650cc beast that would ably serve as the company’s flagship snowmobile until it was supplanted by the 1993 Thundercat.

I’m thankful that when the camera came out, an open-face-helmet clad Hollywood Hallstrom hucked this first Wildcat off some badass cornices, a show of force that hinted at its capability as well as the pilot’s.

I’m thankful for the wild ride that’s occurred in the nearly 30 years since.

And I’m thankful it’s Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.



  1. I remember in my early 20’s seeing these and wanting one,getting beat by them with my Indy 600,bought a new Wildcat 700 and gave the Indy’s something to chase. I now have an 89 and 90 Wildcat and a 1993 Thundercat that was Jim Dimmerman’s record holder 113.984 in a 1000 ft and a 94 Thundercat with 623 miles on it,2015 ZR 9000 RR,2016 ZR 6000 limited,99 ZR 400 Sno Pro,Cat to the core.

  2. What a great pic, thanks for sharing! I love the look of the original Wildcat, but boy they were heavy and finicky! You can almost see the look on his face that he had his hands full 🙂 Remember when a 650 twin was thought of as huge? Now days a lot of guys scoff at anything less than an 800……

  3. Remember it like yesterday, was released in the local paper march of 87.
    I still have the add how awesome I thought they were. One day mint 88 examples will be a collectors.

  4. I bought one new in 88. Torque like a freight train, wicked fast. Sprung like a dump truck. My friend who bought one with me, still has his in a barn.

  5. I too wanted one back in the day. Fast forward to last year, I picked up an ’89 from a guy down the road. Mark that on off my list.

  6. Love the ’88 Wildcat. My dad picked one of these up on a trade from a local farmer in the mid-nineties. Overnight we went from riding old Rupp 440’s to having this powerplant on the hills. I still remember the first trip out with this machine and watching my dad rip up a huge hillside in Providence Canyon in Northern Utah. I can still remember being amazed that a sled could go so high, so fast ! I admit, we were behind the times, but this sled put my family on the path to becoming an Arctic Cat dealer later on. What an amazing set of memories this sled has for me and my family!

  7. I love Wildcat’s. A friends older brother had one and I was in love at first site. If anyone in the Vancouver BC area has one I’d love to photograph it.
    Also does anyone know of a forum dedicated strictly to Wildcat 650’s and 700’s ?


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