Some of Phil's custom snowmobiles over the years...
Grand Prix Snowmobile
I was the advertising agency exec on the Boatel account when they developed the Grand Prix luxury sled—mid 70s I think. I was enamored with the project. I stupidly recommended the butterfly steering for it which wasn’t necessary and the casting must have cost a ton.
I got my hands on a 440. I maxed out the engine with the likes of a stuffed case, alcohol injection and megaphones to the tune of $970 in yesterday’s dollars. I sold it after my first race. It had bogey wheel suspension which couldn’t handle rough terrain at speed. It blared and bucked then kicked the hood off. I made all of one lap with a steaming engine. Sometimes you lose.
1973 Ski-Doo Blizzard
Every snowmobiler worth his salt has to have a leafer in his collection. I am starting with an 800cc Eagle River championship sled. Into it I will drop a 400 F/A so I won’t have to worry about seizing a finicky and expensive-to-repair triple. Features will include:
- Aluminum full length skis (I sell them on this site)
- My own ideas about better looking color scheme on hood and seat
- Ceramic coated engine internals by Swain Tech so it won’t seize or wear
- Twin chambers with a silenced canister
- and a MacCharles Racing Team sticker on the tunnel (my first race team)
It will take me a couple of years to do from 5/9/18.
Custom 1999 MXZ 600
Bought it for $500 with a blown engine in late winter of 2017. Nylon water pump failed and destroyed crank and pistons--the way it goes sometimes. I’ll probably have $2000 in it when done but it will be one of kind. I’m doing a mild custom job to it--mostly in the aesthetics department.
You’ll notice the ‘orange’ influence from the mid 70’s Doos on the hood and seat. It’s really a hard steal from the 1974 Blizzards that never were because Warren Daoust (CEO) didn’t have a spine. He pulled that year’s Blizzards because there was an energy crunch--PC gone amuck. The 74s could have been the best styled sleds from any factory to the current day. I wish the old Doo styling would have been retained but no we get razzle-dazzle colors from WWI and slab sided exteriors that look like an outhouse (at huge money). Sad. I’ll post complete photos this summer after I’ve configured the pole barn (shed) at our new home.
PS. That orange type over the ‘Ski-Doo’ on the hood reads “ 1999 MXZ 600, Lake Minnetonka series #001.” Sledders will look at that outside a restaurant and scratch their heads with a “I didn’t know Ski-Doo did regional editions.” I’ll be inside smiling. The orange is a wrap.
This sled with 340 jugs and a twist grip throttle was my trail sled in the '80s. It was the best handling sled in the world in the tight stuff and trees. Even today it would blow the doors off a modern sled in the trees. Paid $1000 and sold it for $2500. Wish I had it back but really I don't. I have a more reliable tree sled in my ET250.
There is no better woods sled than the ET250. You stud it up with 40 or so picks, widen the skis with other steering columns of that period and hang 8" long carbides on the skis so the sled over-steers and I flat guarantee there is nothing faster through the trees... not your 600cc this or 800cc that. The only faster sled between the trees is a Ski-Doo 250RV.
You blast the ET to a corner, slam on the brakes and the back end slings around and points you in a new direction at which time you nail the throttle for the next turn. Mind you this is all in the trees and makes you a pretty fine rider (or one in a cast). A heavy and powerful modern sled just can't handle quickly in the tight stuff. The ET was a great sled. I sell this SnoPro hood for 250s, 300s, and the 340.
Custom 340 RV Ski-Doo
I got really carried away with this project. Even launched into my first big piece fiberglass hood mold. I cleaned up the sled and made a custom seat.
I put twist grips on all my sleds because I'm a bike guy. They give better gripping, the thumb doesn't get cold and all the little pinkies stay warmer. Never had a single problem with them-ever.
I still have the three molds (hood and two scoops) if you want to build one like this. Note it's an involved fitting project and the three fiberglass parts will not be cheap-I suppose something on the order of 500 bucks. This sled made SnowWeek magazine back then.
Custom 500 Indy
I selected the fan cooled 500 Polaris because it's one of the lightest full sized IFS sled at the time. This is a bunch of junk yard parts painted and polished with a custom seat, my own Velocity hood and a paint job which was created before Polaris introduced a similar RMK paint scheme in 1999.
Featured in American Snowmobiling and Michigan Snowmobiling.
Custom 340 Snojet Astro
The original 340 fan cooled Astro was designed as a trail sled. I selected it to meet racing rules for VOLS racing in Minnesota. It met the class requirements of 'older than 1985-fan cooled engine-under 400ccs'. It was extremely light at something like 330 lbs and was/is probably the lightest sled available for that class.
I blew a total wad on it and discovered in its first race (as we were lapped quickly) that you can't build a nice stock sled and expect to win. My competitors were really dialed in on clutching etc. or they were cheating like mad. I never went back and sold the sled at a huge loss (what's new.) Here is what I did to it.
Polished the aluminum. Added giant non-boot grabbing aluminum foot stirrups. I had stainless steel spreaders made. And we deleted the ski shocks as they were not needed for oval racing.
New track with hard-to-find old style short pick studs were used for traction without being so long they would destroy the tunnel. The suspension was thoroughly rebuilt. I used the best new bearings, new slide material, cleaned and painted aluminum pieces. Small idler wheels were added to compensate for low snow conditions and to take pressure off the slides.
My business is making fiberglass tanks and fenders for motorcycles so making a custom tank to replace the broken plastic tank was not all that difficult although it took a ton of time. I had the top covered in carbon fiber and the sides were painted to match the seat. It was coated on the inside to withstand the leeching effects of ethanol. A quick-read site gauge was added for racing. (The team AARP sticker is a tongue-in-cheek adornment as my racing brother and I are old.)
I custom made the entire seat; wood, foam and trick custom cover.
I made a carbon fiber dash board to match the tank and added graphics to give it and the sled a professional look.
The stock hood had some great lines but was hidden buy an ugly windshield and a protruding headlight. I did extensive glass work to mask the old hood. I made a super low black windshield and painted a three-color scheme.
Since I am a motorcycle guy I used a twist grip and motorcycle style brake lever on broomstick bars. I have used twist grips on all my snowmobiles to and never had one problem with them.
Engine was professionally built to my specs. Porting and all internals were bone stock to comply with the rules. The engine's exterior is coated in Swain's BBE-a black body emitter which draws heat out of the engine. I used the stock exhaust chamber. The engine was painted so the under hood looked as good as the exterior.
Ski-Doo 340 TNT Custom
In 2001 my brother Ric and I decided to go back to snowmobile racing, something we both dropped 29 years ago in 1972. With vintage sled racing coming on strong, we built these racers.
His was a 399 stock, mine is a '70 292 TNT fan cooled. My engine was modified to the max. Suspension was Yamaha. Custom seat, paint and graphics.
Featured in Snowtech, October 2001.
This was one of Ski-Doo's best looking sleds. I had to have one. In 2007 I found a 462 MX, the one with the white pearl hood. We rebuild all the steering and replaced the entire power system with a 617cc Rotax.
While that was happening, I redesigned the rear portion of the seat so it had a more rounded profile. It was covered with vinyl colors to match my hood design. I had decals made which name it an MXR so I could have guys scratching their heads outside the restaurants..."I didn't know Ski-Doo made an MXR".
The project was finished in late January 2008. As a spin off to this project I am offering a low black windshield, vent screens and belly pan boots because these items are so hard to find.
I always do a drawing prior to starting a project as a visual guide.
2001 500 L/C Edge
We can have umpteen vintage and custom sleds but when it come to daily riding you gotta have a sled that you can pull the rope and ride without worrying about this and that.
This Liberty 500 Edge is my trail sled. Fast enough for me and it handles okay with high zoot suspension and C&A skis but it's on the heavy side. I did my own retro graphics, paint job and cut down the shield because I hate anything stock.