BARN FINDS!

The internet is the gift that keeps on giving! Over the last year or so, a lot of very cool sleds have shown up online, having been found in barns, garages, and sheds all over the Snowbelt.

I have been tracking serial numbers on the Polaris RXL/SnoPros made in 1977 and 1978 for decades now. I love the history and detective work of figuring out where all these fantastic little rockets have gone.

For a long time, I could only find 75 total serials numbers, when there should be around 150. Through the process of elimination, I’ve been able to narrow down which sleds are which and which ones are still (hopefully) out there.

Here are the most recent fascinating finds.

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Mires Family RXL's

The Mires family from out west got a pile of RXL’s back in the day when their dad was owed some money for farm work he did for another farmer. Instead of payment, the family got one 440 RXL, two 340 Superstockers, and one rolling chassis. The Mires two boys raced the sleds in the Western states for several years and did well with them. They also didn’t change hardly anything on them.

I’ve known about these sleds for a very long time as Mrs. Mires hunted me down to ask questions about the machines a long time ago. Back then, several people were offering a lot of money for them, so she began to wonder what they were worth. I let her know if she ever wanted to let them go, I would, of course, be interested.

One super stocker and the rolling chassis sold years ago, and the rolling chassis turned out to be Jerry Bunke’s 1978 350 factory racer. No one knew that until the Derby Archives came along. I saw the sled around 2008 and through it was something, but there wasn’t enough on it to identify it as anything other than an exciting superstock. It is now in a private collection.

The other super stocker snowmobile and the 440 recently sold to a Karolyn Eastman for a record amount. The 440 was in fact, Steve Thorsen’s 1977 440 World Championship winning sled. I had been tracking this sled for a very long time and was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to add it to the stable, as I think this sled is one of, if not the snowmobile that helped define Steve Thorsen as one of the greatest racers of all time.

I’m grateful it still exists that the Mires family kept it running and took such good care of it over the years.

One of the pristine superstockers and Thorsen’s 440 in the background.

Thorsen’s 77 440 World Championship sled. Polaris updated it slightly after 1977 and used it at some of the early 1978 races as the baseline test sled to test the new 1978 versions.

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Marv Englerts 800cc RXL Drag Racer

Marv is one of those larger-than-life characters who just loved playing with motors and going faster than the other guy. When the chance came up, Marv put one of his favorite motors, the ’73 800cc Starfire motor, in an RXL.

Marv used to go up to Polaris and buy the motors in the late 1970’s for almost the cost of scrap. There were about 100 1973 800cc motors in existence, but Marv may well be responsible for why we can’t find them anymore. Marv modified them to the very limit to go drag racing and sadly very few survived Marv’s experiments.

But Marv’s “Frankenstien” did and we can all be thankful of that! What a great paint job on this beauty!