History of scorpion snowmobiles

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By creating an account, you acknowledge that PBS may share your information with our member stations and our respective service providers, and that you have read and understand the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Season 4 Episode 23 26m 25s Closed Captioning Video has closed captioning. Learn about the history of Scorpion Snowmobiles, Inc.

Fans of this classic brand reunite each year to show off their vintage sleds at the Scorpion Homecoming Festival. Then photographer and world traveler Cal Rice Bemidji takes us on a cultural journey through his exhibition of photos from Bhutan and Cuba.

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Embed Code.Few companies that were manufacturing sleds then are still around today including Coleman, Husqvarna and Sears and Roebuck. Glen, and his team, made their first machine in Eagle Bend, Minnesota. Dick and Stub had been working on an all-aluminum machine of their own, composed of parts from a surplus aircraft fuselage, and designed through trial and error.

As the men began to work together, they soon realized their idea of making an aluminum based machine was not in their best interest, and soon switched to working with fiberglass.

TAS soon began to build pontoon boats, duck boats, canoes, and even sleeper cabs for semi-trailers, yet their air sled was their constant priority.

Inthe firm finally unveiled their new machine, and over the course of four years, would produce about 50 air-sleds.

The machine featured a Lycoming hp engine, spacious heated interior, and easy towing capabilities that made them very popular in the commercial market. Although the firm worked hard to design their own machines, they also kept a close relationship with other companies, and acted as a retailer and supplier to Polaris industries.

They soon got it patented, making it the first track to be patented in the United States. The new Scorpion model was a big hit for TAS, and for the model year, the company produced machines that featured their all rubber track, fiberglass body, and had the capabilities of going 40mph.

With popularity sweeping the company away, they soon needed to become masters of production, and began to expand rapidly, while they still continued to do mainly all of their own production including hoods, seats, windshields, tunnels, and clutches to name a few.

History & His Story: The Les Pinz Collection

This included them doing their own rubber molding for items such as the engine mounts and bogie wheels! That all added to what seemed to be an endless list of production items. In just a little over 28 days, the men arrived in Anchorage with their machines, and newly invented track still at top performance.

The journey north was so popular, that even Sir Edmund Hillary the conqueror of Mount Everest chose to use Scorpion snowmobiles in his next expedition. Search Get Quote. Home Blog The History of Scorpion. The History of Scorpion Posted by admin on February 11, By Logan Jackson.

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By Les Pinz September 16, Brut Begins At the time we were using water cooling in some race sleds as it keeps a motor at a controlled temperature for maximum horsepower and durability. The Brut folks figured to run the motor around F when outside temps were F to 40 F. They laid the motor down to create a lower center of gravity, which was possible because being water cooled it did not need to be upright for air to flow over the cylinders.

Brut advertised that if you wanted your snowmobile to be the fastest on the block, buy a Brut. It proved so fast that even some race associations were thinking of banning them from cross country races.

The Brooten inline triple, which was designed exclusively for Brut, also came with breaker-less CDI ignition for better starting, and longer plug life.

Each engine was hand-made at the Brooten plant from parts manufactured in Japan. The engine ran so smooth and had such a distinctive tone that it could be heard for a mile. Bruts were strong. The tunnels held the entire weight with no side buckling whatsoever. In their first season Bruts came with a radiator to cool the motor, but the radiator was big and costly.

history of scorpion snowmobiles

Through its race efforts the engineers developed coil tubes in the tunnel. That worked, but they had trouble with rocks penetrating the tubes.

The engineers tried an aluminum extrusion to run the water through and it worked great. For the model year cooling changed to coils and an extrusion. Bruts also had a fully adjustable progressive shock slide-rail suspension and one-piece molded reinforced Polytrack that worked well in all snow conditions.

But the Polytrack had drive nubs for maximum propulsion, nubs that animals would eat off in summer. Gates, the track maker, then had to put something in the tracks to deter animals from munching on them. For there werecc and 25, cc models made. Not many racers were produced, but some enduro sleds were made with different pipes and seats for racing. No snow and no gas A lack of snow and an energy crisis during created a tough sales market. In January Scorpion Snowmobile Co. For the season Scorpion made about Bruts with Mikuni carburetors for better starting and running.

history of scorpion snowmobiles

For Scorpion had a deal to make snowmobiles for Massey Ferguson. Want to leave a comment? Only registered members of AmSnow. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes. Login or Register now. Most recent Oldest to newest. Sign up for our free newsletter By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.Scorpion was in business as a manufacturer for over 20 years, starting in The company started working on what we call snowmobiles in the early 60's.

The earliest mass production snowmobiles seems to be for the model year. By using the year selector below, you can see the different model and engine combinations for each year. We have tried to be as accurate as possible with the info, but Scorpion did a lot of "off the record" type things in the early years.

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Filter by Year: All Please read before you register your sled. It is recommeded that you create an account and sign in before you register a sled. Down the road we plan to let you edit this information and the only way we can do that is if you save it with your account. Your information won't be shared or displayed as part of the registry.

You can register any sled without signing in, but you won't be able to edit your information later. Please be as accurate as you can with your information. It will help others down the road get an idea for what Scorpion did. Stock Sleds Custom Sleds. You can register any sled without signing in, but you won't be able to edit your information later Please be as accurate as you can with your information.

Thanks for your help!! Email: sales vintagescorpion. Register or Login. Parts Manuals. Available Parts. Model History.Apr 8, 0. Mar 24, 0. Mar 19, 0. Brutanza Engineering Inc. Jerry Reese, Marley Duclo and Mike Baker had been responsible for numerous race victories and design innovations.

An opportunity by a group of investors in Brooten, Minnesota was presented to Jerry Reese, with the goal of building a high performance snowmobile. In just 11 months, these individuals put together a team that would design, source an engine supplier, set up a manufacturing facility and begin building snowmobiles.

The management group at Brutanza Engineering set out with specific goals to address reliability and performance issues of current snowmobile designs. The objectives were:. Jerry Reese had experience with liquid cooled two stroke motors during his days with Polaris. He knew that liquid cooling would provide consistent engine temperature and eliminate the problems associated with free air engines such as fouled spark plugs, excessive noise, vapor lock and poor performance when air temperatures increased.

The motor designed by Jerry Reese was manufactured by Fuji Light Industries of Japan, who was also building engines for Chaparral at the time.

history of scorpion snowmobiles

Everything except the crankcase was shipped to the Brut factory where the motor was assembled. The Brooten engine was a cc triple with a three into one exhaust. Why a triple you ask? Lighter power spikes and better internal balance, which translates into fewer clutch problems. Or so was thought — more on that later.

Snowmobile History: Big Money Players

The port timing was conservative on this engine, which produced 50 hp rpm in its first year of production. An innovative feature that was used to maintain consistent cylinder temperatures and reduce plug fouling was to restrict water flow to the PTO cylinder, which was found to run the coldest because of higher water flow.

The orifice size on the inlet manifold was machined to provide balanced water flow to the cylinder head. The motor also featured CD ignition which in was only found on factory race specials and select special build stock race sleds. It was another innovative feature that improved engine reliability. Drive belt failure blowing a belt was commonplace on snowmobiles of the era. Belts draped across your shoulders were so common, you were never finished dressing until you had a belt slung around your shoulders.

The industry standard at that time was to use a motor mount plate fastened directly to the crankcase with rubber bushings sandwiched between the mounting plate and chassis. The softer the bushings, the less transmitted vibration to the chassis, but the greater the degree of clutch mis-alignment under load.

As HP increased, the motor mounts became more complicated which resulted in more weight and complexity. High durometer bushings were used, but they transmitted engine vibration to the chassis. The crankcase was supported using mounting lugs attached directly to the frame.

A third mount is attached directly to the PTO cylinder head and the tunnel. The mount incorporated a bearing which supported the jackshaft and secondary clutch. The opposite end of the jackshaft was supported by the tunnel mounted chaincase.

This arrangement prevented misalignment between the primary and secondary clutch, as the engine acted as a rigid connection between the two. The design also did away with high durometer rubber bushings which minimized engine vibration transferred to the chassis.A few weeks ago some friends and I spent the day near Isle, Minn. In addition to throwing down some of our last snowmobile tracks of the seasonwe spent a BIG part of the day absorbing his incredible collection of vintage snowmobiles, memorabilia and related items.

It's a mind-boggling collection. I hope you have time and take a few moments to look at all the pix. He stepped up to the Factory Scorpion team the next year, where he stayed until when he switched to the Polaris powerhouse distributor team of Larsen-Olson. He had great success on Polaris, winning the World Series as well as dozens of regional oval races. When I texted him a few weeks ago that I wanted to come and see his collection, he was in New York scouting out a dump truck that the club was considering buying for summertime ATV trail work.

Les is a heavy-lifter when it comes to trails. Les is deeply passionate about the sport and its future, in part because he has such deep-rooted knowledge and experience of its past. Les attends dozens of vintage shows and events each year, usually bringing some of his incredible artifacts. For Les, the collection is not about the stuff, but about the story. The story of an engine, a hood, a poster. The story of the person who designed it, or the person who raced. Les showing us some of his race sleds, trophies and accolades from his years as a top oval racer for Scorpion and Polaris.

Les was inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame and is also a board member there. There's SO much to see in Les's collection, we had to absorb it in waves, starting with just looking over the room itself, followed by ever-closer inspections of individual items. There are roughly 90 sleds in the building representing a few dozen brands. But there are thousands of individual pieces like posters, patches, signs, engines; oil containers, toys I loved so many of them.

I end up having conversations with so many people because they connect with the brand they loved.Apr 8, 0. Mar 24, 0. Mar 19, 0. The history of snowmobiling is littered with memories of brands that have faded away like melting snow. Scorpion originally entered the market as Trail-A-Sled Inc. This was long before the first tracked vehicles started to become popular.

The company had become a major supplier of fiberglass components for a company called Polaris, supplying body parts in A spinoff company known as Rubber Drives Inc. The company soon realized that the snowmobile was on the verge of exploding across the North American Snow Belt.

1979 SCORPION Race & Factory IFS Video

Trail-A Sled, just like Ski-Doo, was able to manufacture the majority of its own components, which gave it a huge cost and quality advantage over its competitors. The Scorpion brand quickly exploded on to the winter landscape and by was building 20, sleds annually. Scorpion would continue to innovate with the Para-Rail track suspension and the Power Thrust primary clutch.

history of scorpion snowmobiles

Two-stroke engines built in Germany by Sachs, Hirth and JLO were the predominant engine suppliers to the entire snowmobile industry. Scorpion had become partial to using JLO engines in a number of its models over the years.

Japanese engines started to become more popular as the main sled builders looked for exclusive engine suppliers Kawasaki for Arctic Cat, Fuji for Polaris, etc.

While not the first domestic two-stroke engine builder, they did beat their Minnesota rivals Polaris and Arctic Cat to the punch. Polaris would not have this capability until and Arctic Cat most recently in Scorpion would attract many of the top motor engineers from its competitors including Gerry Reese, designer of the first American-made liquid cooled two-strokes from Brutanza Engineering. The following year the count was down to about Chassis The new sled featured an all-aluminum chassis, a first for Scorpion.

The design placed the motor over the skis, a major departure from previous years which still had the engine mounted on top of the tunnel. The endless rubber track invented by Bombardier worked well with this system but a rough ride and lack of adjustability to improve weight transfer was its drawbacks. The Hyfax sliders would heat up, increasing drag and wearing out quickly.

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