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Why is Jim Dimmerman Smiling?

Team Arctic legend Jim Dimmerman and his el tigre triple

Why does 1984 World Champion and Team Arctic legend Jim Dimmerman have such a huge, sheet-eating grin on his face?

Answer: Look closely at the engine that’s stuffed into his 1979 Arctic Cat el tigre.

Yep, that’s a 900cc triple from a ’94 Thundercat that he’s shoehorned into a chassis designed for a 440cc twin.

No problem!

The inspiration for this slight modification came last year, when Dimmerman was inducted into the Snowmobile Hall of Fame. Having taken a sabbatical from the sport, Dimmerman returned to the SHOF weekend having contemplated what his outstanding racing career meant to him. He shared those very personal thoughts during his acceptance speech, leaving nearly everyone in the crowd teary-eyed and thankful for having heard it.

That same weekend Dimmerman heard countless stories of the vintage Ride with the Champs. Anecdotes of flipper-to-the-handlebar sprints, Sno Pro-styling cornering and gut-busting laughter from people like his friend Aaron Scheele, I-500 champ Brian Nelson, Tom Rowland from Thomas Sno Sports, cross-country legend Archie Simonson, vintage nut Joe Rainville and others, inspired Dimmerman to build his own sled and return for the 2011 vintage Ride with the Champs.

But no ordinary stock sled would cut it.

Famous not just for his oval racing exploits, but also for his world record setting speed run efforts aboard a Thundercat, Dimmerman knew exactly what motor he’d like to have powering his vintage tiger.

So Dimmerman and Scheele got to work slicing, dicing and welding together this little number. Dimmerman’s goal is to have a stock-sounding 900 triple, with a 121 x 1.25-in. modern track and suspension, grafted on to an otherwise stock looking ’79 el tigre.

Inside Aaron Scheele's shop

Of course, Scheele has his own “slightly modified” tiger in the works, which he too will be riding at the SHOF this season. This previously-clandestine mission is taking place at Scheele’s shop, which has taken on the image of a vintage museum/race shop over the past couple season.

Joining them will be Rowland, Eric Bergstrom and a host of other knuckleheads.

More work is to be done, and will have more in-depth pictures and information on Dimmerman and Scheele’s sleds in the coming weeks.

Dimmerman (left) and Eric Bergstrom plan more lunacy




  1. I think Big Thunder said the jackshaft mount needs attention with a bigger motor even a wildcat motor wild wreak havoc on it [IMG][/IMG]

  2. Sweet project Jim, glad to hear you will join us for the 2011 Vintage Challenge. Man, my 340cc Liquidator is so toast!

    “John Deere Joe” Rainville

  3. Hey Guys..Thanks for the interest. Loren Anderson(ISHOF)and I go back a long ways. After seeing what he’s done with THE Hall Of Fame and museum,I was inspired to help him out any way I can. Certainly I could have ridden any cat around but that just wouldn’t be me..My son Jim, jumped at the chance to build a “hot rod” with his dad. I can’t thank Aaron Scheele enough for taking me in at his Monster Garage for the build. He is truly an El Tigre fanatic and excellent fabricator. As you will see in the upcomming weeks, this was not simply a big motor bolted into an old sled. I have several criteria that have to be engineered into the build…stay tuned..Jim

  4. This reminds me of the 90′ wildcat that Tom Wankland built, now in our possession here in central Illinios…anyone remember that sled ?? 975 cc’s

  5. Man I wanted to do this a few years ago. We have the eltigre part covered and almost had a thunder cat 1000 that was wrecked, but it got picked up by someone else that needed the motor for their other thunder cat. Ill be interested to see how the shoehorning works out.


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