1965 Polaris Factory Race Sled

How rare can you get? This one of a kind beauty was built by the Polaris factory in the fall of 1964 and is the first race purpose-built Polaris “factory” racer.

It was built by Orman Johnson and Bob Eastman, with Polaris founder Allan Hetteen helping out. It may also be the first water-cooled engine mounted in a snowmobile. The motor (still the original motor) can’t be dated precisely, but it’s probably before 1965. It is a Mercury 50 horse four-cylinder outboard.

A battery under the rear trunk provided the electric start, and the hood scoop was created to fit the radiator. The sled even had a reverse gear, by pulling a lever, thus changing the position of the magneto. Raced by Allan Hetten this beauty won the 1965 Canadian Power Toboggan Championship with it.

Jim Strandlund was trying to get a rare poster from an acquaintance. While chatting with the gentleman, he mentioned to the owner of the sign that he was always looking for unique, oddball Polaris. “I have one,” the man said. They strolled out behind the man’s shop, and there, in the weeds was the 1965 racer.

At the time Jim wasn’t sure what it was – but with that motor in it, it had to be something. The man explained that his partner got the sled initially, but does not remember where. But there it was, right in Jim’s back yard, within 40 miles of his home. A deal was made, and like that, Jim had an exclusive rare bird to add to his collection.

You can read the full, extended story of this amazing sled in Starfire Kids – Midnight Blue Express.

Starfire Kids - Midnight Blue Express - starfirekids.com


1965 Polaris Racing
3rd from the left, lined up at Beausejour.
Jim Strandlund on the right, with his son on the left after displaying the restored sled at the Polaris 50th Anniversary.
This is how JIm found the sled - it had been used in many parades over the years.
At the Polaris 50th.
Is that gorgeous or what?


The passion, triumph, dominance and tragedy of one of the most successful
efforts in motorsports: The Polaris Professional Race Team


Starfire Kids Books