But it's hard to fully appreciate how far motor sled technology has come in the last 50 years if the oldest model year you've ridden is from 2024. Just look at this 1973 Raider 34TT if you don't believe us; it's quite different from most modern sleds you'll find out there.
The frozen tundras of Wisconsin are an obvious place to look for relics from the early days of winter motorsports. From the looks of it, this 51-year-old, twin-tread snowmobile has spent most of the last few decades sitting in this shed. If you can believe it, this pint-sized winter toy has more racing credentials than most will ever realize. The vehicle was designed by a man named Bob Bracey, owner of the Troy, Michigan-based Leisure Vehicles Incorporated and a former member of the development team behind the Ford GT40 program that crushed Ferrari at LeMans on multiple occasions.
Safe to say, the team behind Raider Snowmobiles knew a thing or two about making a capable racing machine. From just one small Michigan facility, Raider developed two bespoke models for 1973, the 34T, with a 400 cc V-Twin motor, and the 44T, with a larger 440 cc engine mounted at the rear of the vehicle. With fiberglass body panels and a tubular steel frame, this 32-ish horsepower motor had a bare minimum of weight to lug around. But with its low-slung, deep-recessed seating position within the cockpit of this LED, we doubt you'll be carving powder and shifting your weight around like a ballerina the way you can on newer, sportier models.
Inside the cockpit, we see more or less the same layout as almost any other sled out there, with handlebar controls and thumb-control throttle in generally the familiar spot. But with a deep recess in the bodywork lined with a soft-touch vinyl material making up the seat, it almost looks like you'd ride this sled the same way you'd ride a Harley Davidson. Whether that'll make for the upper body workout of a lifetime hoofing this rig around corners is anyone's guess. But how practical could a half-century-old snowmobile possibly be to own?
Well, old as it is, the simplistic nature of this sled's makeup means it shouldn't be too difficult to make this little V-Twin operational again. Assuming the tracks and skis are in good working order, you could have a working snowmobile with the money you saved annually by switching from an ICE daily driver to an EV. Because, after all, we have more than enough ways to burn hydrocarbons to make the EPA weep.