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Friday 24th December 2010


SOTW: ARCTIC CAT EXT 550/PANTHER SNOWMOBILE

Shed suggests something novel and impractical - it must be Christmas...


Never one to let a spot of the cold, white stuff get in the way of the endless quest for sub-1k motoring gems, Shed has been looking for ways to keep mobile in the arctic conditions.

And one of the best ways to keep going when the roads turn white is to replace tyres with tracks and wheels with skis. Which of course means that Shed has been on the look-out for snowmobiles in the run-up to the Holiday Season.

And while we do know that you can't (legally) go rocketing past stranded lorries down the snowbound outside lane of the M25 on one of these things in search of that next great SOTW bargain, why should we let reality get in the way of a good story?


Anyhow, Shed's search for snowmobiles has returned good news and bad news. The good news is that you can pick up a snowmobile for less than the magic 'bag of sand'. The bad news is that you're unlikely to be able to find one in the UK at that price.

So our first stop is Norway, from whence comes this magnificent-looking Arctic Cat Panther. With its fetching colour combination of maroon, brown and black, this 1982 machine would surely be the envy of your friends and family.


Aside from the slightly odd fact that a spot of web research seems to reveal that US-based Arctic Cat was not actually a going concern between 1981 and 1984, this does seem like a fine vehicle. And as well as what appears to be a sheepskin rug on the seat, it's even got a place to keep your chainsaw - a sentence we never imagined we'd write in an SOTW article. (Have you seen the price of Christmas trees..? Ed.)

The seller has this up for 917, which isn't bad, but if you're prepared to go a bit farther afield we reckon we can do a little better...


...This is because we also spotted - on the pragmatically named sellmysnowmobile.com - a rather more modern beast. Again made by Arctic Cat, this time it's something called an EXT 550 EFI from 1993.

Now, we know next-to-nothing about snowmobiles, but we assume that this means a 550cc engine, and so consequently a fair ol' turn of speed. But exactly what sort of performance is rather beyond our ken.

For $1400 - which we reckon works out at a Shed-friendly 900-ish - with just 3000 miles beneath its tracks, we imagine you'd get quite a lot of performance fro your money. The only problem would be getting the thing from Maine and over to Blighty. And finding somewhere to ride it once the snow has melted...


Arctic Cat Panther ad (translated from Norwegian):

Arctic Cat Panther (1982)
917

Ok Panther, quite pretty to look at. Everything works out. Registered. Hook, storagebox (no lid), hold for chainsaw. Some minor edits can be corrected if one wants it, it is after all an old snowmobile (tears in the seat, etc.)

Advert for EXT 550:

1993 Arctic Cat EXT 550 EFI
3000 Miles
Maine


GREAT to mint cont. $1400.00 gets you a sled that is ready for most anything.
New track (1.25") new drive line bearings, new idler wheels, new plastic Cat skis.....
Great starter or second sled.

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Author: Riggers