My new best friend Ryan Koenig was on a journey to the motherland of Roseau to find parts for his rear-engine project when he ran across an amazing piece of history at the Roseau Museum. These photos show how the 77 snopro leaf spring hood was created and how the design went through a few options before they got it right. I shared these photos with Bob and Karolyn Eastman, and Bob clearly recalled rejecting some of these designs (thankfully!), as he was looking for something with “simple, clear lines”.

The designs were done by Bob Aronson and Bill Clem. Bob had been at Polaris since before 1974, and when this design was done, Bill was a recent hire to the company. Bob and Bill totally got it right.. in fact the final design for the 77 race sleds and the 78 RXL’s have remained amongst the best sled designs of all time, and are still a big influence on sled design today.

Note the photo with the “Team Racer” on the hood. That photo solved a big mystery for me. When I restored the 440 leafer of Jim Bernat’s, the photos showed a decal on the back that said “Team Racer”. No one remembered that decal or where it came from. Now we know it was put on the back of one of the earliest leafers during this prototype phase and was just never taken off.

So much to learn by looking at these photos – thank you Ryan!

UPDATE: Info on Bob Aronson and Bill Clem provided by Greg Maier.

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