With the budget cut to near zero on 1976, the factory team had no choice but to modify a greatly compromised 1976 stock Starfire. They added a lot of parts from the 1973 Starfires that were lighter, shortened them and cut off all the weight they could, but combined with the new liquid cooled motors that were down on power, it just wasn’t enough.
Only six sleds were made like this in 1976, only two have been found. This one started out as Omdahl’s 340. It was fairly easy to identify, as each machine had a combination of different heat exchangers and chassis stripes. When it was found, you could see where Omdahl’s number ’42’ had been taken off and Bunke’s ‘874’ added.
It was restored, and is now owned by Bob and Karolyn Eastman, and is on display at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germaine, Wisconsin.
Similar, but not exactly the same is this 1976 250, raced by Wes Pesek out of the factory truck in the stock and mod-stock classes. Bunke started out the year racing these sleds in an effort to get Polaris in the game with the Snow-Twisters and Yamahas. After Omdahl was Hurt, Bunke was moved up to the pro team. Wes Pesek raced this sled most of the year, and it was hanging around Aaron Johnson’s back yard until it was reunited with the original motor and restored around 2005.